It’s international break time and instead of trying to predict the results of teams like Georgia and Azerbaijan I thought I would ask a question; Why does no one want to play for England anymore? Rio Ferdinand pulled out of the World Cup qualifiers this week because of a pre planned medical programme in Qatar (oh and he’s doing a bit of punditry on the side). Now I’m not being funny but when I was a kid I think I would have walked over hot coals to put on an England shirt and play for my country in a World Cup qualifier. I wouldn’t have cared what plans I had I’d have pulled out of anything and been the first out against San Marino tonight.
Ferdinand isn’t the only one to snub England in recent times. Ben Foster is in the current squad after announcing he’s now decided to come out of a self imposed international retirement. He ‘retired’ from international football at the ripe old age of 28, that becomes even more stupid when you think he’s a goalie.
So is this a trend or just a few isolated incidents? I don’t doubt Ferdinand’s snub is a bit personal, he’s never really got over Hodgson choosing Terry and Cole over him after the racism row with his brother Anton. To a certain extent his attitude is understandable, Hodgson didn’t back him when it counted, so why should he help him out now?
It seems now that we don’t have any centre backs at all, we have had so many pull outs from this squad that reportedly Hodgson is thinking of playing Carrick in that unfamiliar position. Really? How bad does it get that we have to play a centre midfield player in the back four when defending is definitely not his strong point. Lets be fair though we are playing San Marino, they are bottom of the Fifa world rankings. Literally no one is worse, except for Bhutan and the Turks and Caicos Islands who are joint bottom with San Marino. I have a feeling that I could put together a team from my group of friends and still beat San Marino, in fact I probably have more friends that they have professional footballers so I have an advantage.
The point is whoever plays tonight we should win and win heavily, but my worry is that the passion is going out of football. As a Liverpool fan one of my greatest memories is Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher winning games on sheer passion alone, passion for their club not the national team. I’ll be the first one to admit Gerrard has never really produced for England but the same can be said of many many England players. This is one of the main issues that the new FA Chairman Greg Dyke has to address. How does he get the passion back into the national team? Because no one cares, I certainly don’t, where it used to be I’d rush home from school to watch international matches. Now I have become cynical, as have a lot of the players that England have at present. There is no passion and we need it back, how I don’t know that’s way above my pay scale but that’s what we need.
By Jack Troup