Maybe it is something that needs to be addressed at a higher up level in the hierarchy of things, but playing for your country should be an honour and a privilege. All too often we see players dropping out of the international squad with some sort of mystery illness which lasts from team selection until the moment Fabio hands in the team sheet, and is then suddenly cured.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that players are paid by their employers like everyone else, be that Manchester United, Liverpool or AFC Wimbledon, and managers sometimes put a sneaky foot down and suggest that a player doesn’t report for international duty, but maybe this is half of the problem. Any athlete should want to represent his or her country in any sport, surely this is the highest level of personal achievement? (Apart from winning things of course).
The press are all too quick to jump on the bandwagon when in big games the so called star players come out and don’t perform, maybe if they looked at the fact that they had all come down with a grazed knee or a broken fingernail in the warm-up games and “couldn’t play”, they would be half way to finding the cause.
I can already see what will happen now, Rooney will be serving his ban during the group stages of Euro 2012, England will get through without him, using other strikers, maybe Defoe, Wellbeck, Bent, Crouchy, and then come the first knock-out game Fabio will mess up the harmony of the team by bringing Rooney back in and we will be out at the first knock-out game. Maybe an international manager has to grow some balls and say “if you aren’t playing in the qualifiers or friendlies, don’t expect to make it for the big game”.
Crouchy came out today and said that he would never retire from International football and turn his back on his country if he was to be called up. Maybe he realises that actually its an honour to be selected and he would always wear the shirt with pride if given the opportunity. Maybe some of the other so called “professionals” could have less of an ego trip and take a note from the friendly giant.