Hodgson happy with United duo

21 May 2014 10:02

Roy Hodgson has shrugged off Roy Keane's scathing criticism of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.

Keane, who will be a World Cup pundit for ITV, hit out at the Manchester United pair for their sub-par performances during a disappointing season at Old Trafford.

The former United captain said: "We were told two or three years ago Jones was going to be the new Duncan Edwards, Smalling was this [big hope]. I've watched United live nine, 10 times this year and they have been none of those things. If anything I think they have gone backwards."

There was never any doubt that Hodgson would include Jones and Smalling in his World Cup squad as he is a big fan of the two players.

He signed Smalling for Fulham from non-league Maidstone United in 2008 and then sold him to United for £10million two years later.

Seven of the 24-year-old's 10 caps have come under Hodgson.

Jones, meanwhile, has played five times under Hodgson and is pushing Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka for a place in England's World Cup starting XI.

The 22-year-old will also come into the England side at right-back should Glen Johnson get injured in the tournament.

"If you are a TV pundit you are required to give your opinion and I don't expect everyone's opinions to fall in with mine," Hodgson said.

"It has not been a great year for Manchester United, but they have used so many players and their back line has changed virtually every week.

"In my opinion they fully justify their selection.

"Any games in particular that Smalling has played he has certainly never let me down as a coach and I don't think he's ever let the nation down whether he's played centre-back or right-back."

Source: PA