Bruce Arena on DeJuan Jones: "He Has to Continue to Move Forward as a Player"
After being a part of January camp, DeJuan Jones wasn't called up to the USMNT for the Allstate Continental Classico.
After getting capped with the United States Men’s National Team for the first time this January, New England Revolution left back DeJuan Jones failed to get called up to an MLS-heavy roster for a friendly against Mexico on Wednesday.
Jones has had a quality start to the 2023 Major League Soccer season. He has already tallied two assists and continues to show how he has grown as a player since being drafted in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.
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The 25-year-old has become more confident and displayed greater skill compared to when he entered the league. He has become less reliant on his dominant right foot and is willing to attack defenders with his speed and skill on the ball. Jones has also improved his crossing ability which has helped him increase his assist output.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Revolution head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena discussed how Jones needs to continue to improve as a player in order to get involved in the USMNT setup.
“Well, the call ups are on the people at U.S. Soccer that run the team,” Arena said. “Whatever their thinking is, they make those decisions. It’s certainly not probably right for me to say one way or the other, but in the case of DeJuan [Jones], he has to continue to move forward as a player, get better each and every year, and he’s making progress. He has to continue to grow as a player if he has any kind of aspirations of competing for a spot on the national team.”
Matt Polster became teammates with Jones in 2020 and the veteran midfielder believes he has seen the left back grow ever since he joined the Revolution.
“Yeah, I think it's all a confidence thing,” Polster said when asked about Jones. “Each year, you continually want to build and progress as a player. DeJuan [Jones] has been doing that since he's been here and since I've been here at least. He's been adding different tools to his game. I know for him, and his perspective and I think the group too, he can still grow as a player, which is important. His ceiling is extremely high, and I think when he starts to realize where he can go he's going to progress even quicker. He's been a threat and the attacking third and he's also a very good defender. So, we believe in him fully, and I think when he realizes how good he can be I think he'll jump even further.”
Jones will get another chance to strut his stuff when New England faces off against the Columbus Crew on Saturday. While not needing any extra motivation, Jones will likely want to make a statement and prove that the USMNT made a mistake by not bringing him into camp.