Jermaine Jones is fed up with the extraordinary amount of criticism he gets from United States men’s national team fans and experts. In a podcast interview on The Max & Herc Podcast hosted by Max Bretos and Herculez Gomez, the 35-year-old midfielder didn’t hold anything back when asked about the complaints about him being in the national team’s starting lineup on a consistent basis. He says that he’s tired of the hypocrisy shown by his critics:
"The criticism is always on me," Jones said. "Everybody tries it, if we lose the game, they always try to find the next guy who can play for Jermaine. It is never somebody else, it is always me.
"And sometimes, I'll be honest, it pisses me off. I say 'Wait a minute! When we play the big tournament, I am always the best player on the field for this country,' but then, end of the day, they try to kick me out when we lose games? That is not fair, you know? I cannot change it. I know what it is."
"End of the day, it is winning and losing. If you lose, people go against you, if you win people come. I saw it. I scored a goal in the World Cup, everybody were loving me. 'He is the man, he is a legend' and blah blah. Now we lose games and they go and say we have to get him out, he is too old.”
Criticism of individual games is normal, but Jones doesn’t want you questioning his overall skill level. He also says that he doesn’t get the level of respect that Clint Dempsey or Tim Howard gets from everyone, possibly because of his dual-national status.
"Trust me, I am not getting younger. A number is a number. I want the people to respect me for what I did," he said. "They respect Timmy, they respect Clint, all the people.
"I have no problem if you want to criticize me when I play a bad game, but if you want to go against me and say I am a poor player and all kind of stuff... I am sorry, man, there is nobody on that national team who has the same game and has the same success.
"I have played over 15 years in Europe in high level, not 10, not five years, not one year. Sometimes it's tough to look at numbers.
"I am a German-American, maybe not a full American that you can sell like a product, you know?"
Jones goes on to say that once someone in the player pool proves they are better than him, he will gladly step aside and let them have his spot, but he firmly believes he’s still the best option for the USA.
"Bring me the guy who is better in that position and show that week to week in the league, against me, against other teams, I respect it and I will say, 'If he is better I will step away,'" Jones said.
"I am 35. I can step away and say I had a good career, but right now if we be honest, ask my teammates, are the people inside there is nobody who can take my spot. If it comes to a game, a tough game there is nobody who really wants to battle with me."
This likely won’t change anyone’s opinion of Jermaine, but he’s got a few decent points. During big tournaments like the World Cup, CONCACAF Cup Final, and Copa America Centenario, he’s usually one of the best performers for the USMNT. However, it must be said that consistency is needed when the big occasion is happening. Four bad performances against mediocre teams isn’t canceled out by two high profile good performances. That’s just my take. Let’s hear yours in the comments below.
You can listen to the whole emotional and honest podcast interview here.