Jones denies exit request
Kenwyne Jones insists he never asked to leave Sunderland during the January transfer window.
Last Updated: 08/02/10 4:17pm
Kenwyne Jones has spoken out for the first time about the intense speculation linking him with a move away from Sunderland and insisted he never asked to leave the Stadium the Light.
The powerful striker was heavily associated with a switch to Liverpool in the January transfer window, while Birmingham and Stoke were also tracking the Trinidad & Tobago frontman.
But Jones, who has been a hit on Wearside since joining from Southampton for £6million in 2007, responded to the rumours in the best possible fashion as he grabbed the equaliser in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Wigan.
And the 25-year-old has claimed helping the Black Cats overcome their winless run has been his sole focus over the last month.
"During the transfer window and throughout all the speculation I have never said I wanted to leave," Jones told the Sunderland Echo.
"Everything that was going on was by itself. I think a lot of people were making a lot out of nothing.
"If a transfer is going to happen for anyone, it only happens when it's done. All that was said, doesn't really bother me. I am just looking forward to playing football.
"I don't have control of what is in the press. All I can control is my performance and that is what I aim to do."
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce was worried that talk of Liverpool's interest had unsettled Jones last month, but he has produced two committed displays since the transfer window closed and bagged his seventh goal of the season at the weekend.
Mohamed Diame's bullet first-half opener for the Latics heaped even more pressure on the Black Cats - who have not won a league game since November - but the home side improved after the break and Jones netted a deserved 64th-minute leveller.
It was only his second goal in 14 games and he said: "I haven't scored for a while but thankfully I was able to get one.
"We had a beautiful passage of play leading up to the goal and it was great to finish it off.
"We haven't won in the last 12 or 13 games so it would have been a relief to get three points in the bag. We were much better in the second half and perhaps should have got the win, but it wasn't to be.
"We'll go again at Portsmouth and hopefully get our rewards.
"We're getting into a pattern of playing well in the second half of games but not starting too well. If we can sort that out then I'm sure we'll get better results."