Jones: Klinsmann 'pushed' me to MLS
Jermaine Jones was unveiled as a New England Revolution player on Tuesday, and attempted to dispel the notion that the Revs were his second choice in terms of an MLS destination.
Jones signed a Designated Player deal with MLS Sunday morning, and then had to await the outcome of a blind draw to see if he landed with New England or the Chicago Fire. Sources have told ESPNFC.com that the Fire was Jones' preferred choice, but he insisted that wasn't the case.
"A lot of people were [saying] that I wanted to play in Chicago," he said at Tuesday's press conference. "That was not true...the New England Revolution, they pushed so badly that they want me, and you have that feeling that someone is really interested to push so far. So I would say, 'Okay, I go to New England.'"
Jones indicated that he didn't feel any frustration over the fact that it took over a month to finally iron out the details, though he did note that MLS "has some different rules from Europe." Rather he simply tried to enjoy time with his family and let his agents and MLS do the haggling.
"If you go to much into that, you will make your head crazy," he said of the long courtship. "I was , 'Let them do that.' We wait, and at the end of the day, we will do the decision that we do."
The process by which Jones landed in New England, has created some controversy, especially since the use of a blind draw isn't listed anywhere in the league's roster rules. It has also given the impression that the Revs snatched Jones away from Chicago at the last instant. New England G.M. Mike Burns stated that wasn't true.
"Both MLS and [Jones'] representatives were well aware of our interest in Jermaine and we kept it quiet until really the end," he said. "But we always had a real strong interest in bringing Jermaine to New England. Obviously we had the full support of the Kraft family to pursue this and we did it vigorously and now he's sitting here next to us."
Jones has spent his entire career playing in Europe, but stated that he had been contemplating a move to MLS even prior to the 2014 World Cup. And unlike U.S. teammates Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, the proposed switch had the blessing of U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann.
"I talked with Klinsmann a lot about that stuff, and I would say he was one who pushed me to make that step to come back and play here for an MLS team," he said.
Jones took part in his first training session with New England earlier on Tuesday, and admitted that after taking nearly two months off since the World Cup, he was fealing the effects of his extended vacation.
"I would lie if I said I was 100 percent," he said. "But everyone who knows me, I will do everything I can to help this team. I don't know, maybe I don't start from the beginning. Maybe I'm on the bench. I'm a guy who is always [for] the team."
New England currently finds itself tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Union, just one point behind the New York Red Bulls for the fifth and last playoff spot. As such, there is the expectation that the addition of Jones to the Rev's midfield will catapult the club into a playoff spot.
Manager Jay Heaps indicated that Jones' addition will give him some flexibility tactically in that he can play anywhere in the Rev's midfield, but added the team will benefit in other ways as well.
He said, "[Jones] presence on the field is going to give us a huge lift. When he walked in the door today, there was instant respect."
That leadership is something Jones says he intends to provide.
"I'm not a guy who likes to lose," he said. "We have a young team maybe, sometimes you have to kick some guys in the ass, but only in a good way."