As the Euros are coming up in about two weeks, I ask if it is ever alright to say that you don’t want to play for your country. It has recently become a trend in modern football, normally the general public don’t mind that much as it is usually someone who wouldn’t have a chance of playing anyway. Recently though, there have been a few players in this country, players have said, such as Michael Carrick and Ben Foster will not want to play if they are going to be ‘merely’ a squad player. Some hardcore supporters od England would think that this is ludicrous, these supporters are normally really fat with huge beer bellys by the way. They tink it is ludacris because they would jump at the chance to do anything nationally, such as eating competitively. We think it is an honour to represent our country, so we would bite your hand off.
Some places in England would see refusing to play for England as the deepest, most unpatriotic act. What some of these people have to realise though, is that many of these players who refuse to play for their country are professional footballers who play every week in front of thousands of fans every week, and are expected to perform at the best of their ability. Some footballers may even be avoiding England because of the bad press that they get if England do badly, as England always inevitably do, but as you may say this is a risk in professional football that you can not hide away from. Some supporters couldn’t care less though as supporting England is far less important than supporting their top four side, as club football is starting to become more important and more entertaining to watch.
Another reason for not going with England would be is that you aren’t involved with all the tournament humiliations and inevitable drubbings by Germany or Holland. You can get on with your club life next year without your clubs fans booing you for your poor international performance. All of the 2010 World Cup squad were treated harshly after the tournament, some did so badly in that tournament, such as Barry and Rob Green, that they had to completely rebuild their reputations. Some though haven’t really recovered from big defeats, I seem to remember that Scott Carson was a promising keeper until the game in Croatia in 2008. Afterwards, not so much.
So therefore, I think that saying that ‘it’s not for me’ protects your reputation and your value as a player, maybe a career move advised to you by your agent. For example, Carrick or Ben Foster will look like a slightly better players at the beginning of next year if England get overrun by France in the Euro’s, but on the downside they won’t have the glory if England win the competition, which is a risk that they are seemingly willing to take.
Maybe, it is the players who know that they are not really good enough who make themselves unavailable. I think though that once you make yourself unavailable to play, you shouldn’t be allowed to play again, such as all the rumours surrounding Scholes. Once you’re gone you’re gone. It’s a decision you should only be allowed to make once. For many people its a decision that they can’t really understand, but if I was going to say anything to a footballer who was going to make an international decision as big as this one, I would say ‘Man up, its a short career and a long life.’
By Will Halse