A BORN-AND-BRED Englishman who was a former team-mate of James Maddison and playing non-league last season is now hoping to inflict misery on the Three Lions.
Notts County winger Jodi Jones, 26, previously played for Dagenham & Redbridge, Coventry City and Oxford United in the Football League before dropping into the National League in 2022 permanently after a loan spell at Meadow Lane.
PAMalta’s Jodi Jones was born on these shores but is looking to down England[/caption]
GettyHe came up against his ex-Coventry team-mate James Maddison back in June[/caption]
And after enjoying a fine start to life in League Two, where they currently sit fifth, he is now looking to condemn Gareth Southgate’s men to one of their most embarrassing moments.
The Malta international, who had only previously visited the country once before receiving his first international call-up, has already had a taste of facing England.
He started in June when the Three Lions romped to a 4-0 win in the first of their two European qualifiers with the minnows.
But now he is preparing to line-up at Wembley – a place he has NEVER LOST – tonight and help Malta beat England.
He won the EFL Trophy while at Coventry, where he played alongside Maddison, as well as the play-off triumph with Notts County last summer.
Jones, a Cockney who qualifies for Malta through his father, told The Mirror: “Most footballers don’t get the chance to play at Wembley in their whole careers, but this will be the third time I’ve played there and I’ve got a 100 per cent record – so no pressure on the boys.
”It was a pinch-yourself moment when we played England in Malta last summer, but to take on some of the best players in the world at Wembley will be even bigger. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
England’s place at next summer’s showpiece is already assured while Malta’s hopes are over as they sit bottom of the group on zero points.
But after managing to get Declan Rice’s shirt during their previous meeting, he admits he will be souvenir hunting again later.
And he also insisted that he always knew Maddison, who misses the game due to an ankle injury, would reach the big time.
Jones added: “His talent is ridiculous – and it was always there.
“The thing I like about him is the way he always backs himself, how good he knew he could be, how good he knows he is now.
“I always knew how good he was and as an Arsenal fan, I wasn’t too happy when he signed for Tottenham and I told him so. But you have to be happy for him that he’s been creating goals, scoring goals in the Premier League.
“I hear people saying he’s been the signing of the season, and I would probably agree.”
AlamyJodi Jones has never lost at Wembley on his previous two visits[/caption]