Why Is Osman Being Selected?

As the next England game is fast approaching, and the squad has been selected, I have been wondering; why give a cap to a player who is pretty much useless to England?  As an international football manager, there must surely be a consistency in the policy by which you select squads. By my reckoning, there are two ways of doing this: either pick the best players in the best form, regardless of age or number of caps, or try and build a consistent side with a solid core of the same players, blooding future regulars as impact substitutes or during international friendlies.

The two are generally very similar, as it is quite likely that the best players are the ones that are getting a game every week. Whether the manager is choosing to build a consistent side, or if he is picking players bImageased on form, these players are constantly in contention for a place in the starting eleven. Saying this, it seems that Hodgson is attempting to build for the future by giving call-ups to Sterling and Caulker, so why is Osman being selected?

Don’t get me wrong, I also think that he deserves it and is under rated, but he is 31 years old. He is hardly going to become the future of English football. Do we need him in the squad for a friendly? Not really at all. Seeing as it is a friendly, the result doesn’t hold high significance (besides the fact that it can provide a confidence boost for some players), however, if Downing and Henderson can get England caps then maybe he should have his chance. But it isn’t about whether he deserves it or not, it is about the use he will have within the team.

But Leon Osman is not the first player to do this; he is one in a long line of useless caps. Think of Bobby Zamora, Jay Bothroyd (who played in the championship at the time and was also old), Matt Jarvis, Zat Knight, Kevin Davies etc. These were all players who, at the time of their debuts, were too old and they didn’t really stand a chance of getting into the squad for the next international competition, which begs the question why they got selected in the first place. I would rather that England picked someone that is really young such as Sterling, Jake Livermore, or someone who is decent and a bit under rated and would have more of a chance of getting into the England squad in 2014 in the form of Huddlestone, or Jack Rodwell. There would be no reason for Osman to be in the squad, no matter where he plays. There are better, younger players to fill those positions, and if we want experience in those positions, we have plenty; such as Gerrard or Carrick.

These late caps appear to be merely recognition from our nation’s managers, of the players’ successful top flight careers, using an England call up as a lifetime achievement award. Whilst his presence will certainly not cause England to play badly, should England really be selecting players based on sentiment?

Of course the manager will argue that Osman has been selected for ‘footballing reasons’, namely he’s a good player. But if he plays in the friendly at all, he is likely to be brought on as a second half substitute, doing his reputation no harm but never being selected again to play internationally. The only purpose his selection would have served, would be to add to the man’s domestic recognition and have future match-day programmes list him as an England international. For him it’s great and well earned, for England it is pointless.

By Will Halse

(edited by Tom Greenstein)

31 thoughts on “Why Is Osman Being Selected?

  1. In my opinion, Will, I think that, in terms of the team, it would be less discriminatory if the elderly are still able to play the sports they love- even if they have more problems physically compared to the younger stream. Being 57 myself, I think it is very offensive to suggest that my generation have less talent and shouldn’t be chosen for international squads. I am not at all impressed with the suggestions made in this blog.

  2. Osman is a quality player (and this is coming from a Liverpool fan) and is very consistent for Everton. He holds the ball well, can pick a pass, and is solid. He is not a Lampard or a Gerrard in the way they score a lot a help in the box. He plays a different role. However I do agree partially with you, I think it is a sort of consolation but in my opinion 1 cap looks just as bad as none. The reason he is playing is people (Everton fans) have been calling for it for ages and it is only a friendly. Plus, others are injured and I bet he will do the job.

    RE: Danny Phillips.
    Will never said he isn’t good enough because he is old, he even said that he thinks he would be good. But when you are building a squad for 2014 trying out new 31 year olds won’t help. This is what he said

    “Don’t get me wrong, I also think that he deserves it and is under rated, but he is 31 years old. He is hardly going to become the future of English football.”

    Don’t be naive and say that you don’t decline as a footballer when you get older, as we all know they do.

    • Hello Alex, welcome to our little disagreement. I don’t think I do know that people deteriorate as they get older. Being a professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I think I know more about the development of the human than a upstart student does. I would like to relate to you the case of Yan Poliryn. He was 156 when he died and by the time he was 90 he was still playing football for the Charlton Athletic U100s 1st XI. I think that the both of you should respect your elders a lot more, and maybe even join the scouts to help them cross the road.

  3. To argue the point further, I would hope that you have heard of the legendary Alejandro Etiam-Pila, the Spanish centre-back. He was 42 when he played in the 1982 world cup in Spain. He managed to score a record of 12 goals for a defender, over the course of the tournament. So don’t give me that rubbish about the elderly.

    • Older players can still do a job, for example Paul Scholes, and I agree with you there. But this doesn’t happen in most cases, there is a reason why most footballers retire mid-30s. After a 15 year career of intensive sport people get tired and they naturally decline.

      Don’t get me wrong anyone, any age (considering they are in good physical condition) can play football. I love playing with them, especially the banter. However one cannot cope in the fast paced, physically demanding football in the higher leagues.

  4. Why I agree that Osman won’t be good enough for England, I don’t think it’s necessarily such a bad idea to give him a chance in friendly. Sometimes older players can work at international level. Look at Scott Parker for instance – he was 30 before he became an England regular and he’s now arguably our best midfielder.

  5. By the way if I didn’t make it clear from my first comment, I think he should play as he is a quality player, seeing as there is room and he deserves his and also there are youngsters in the squad anyway

    • Mr Dinwoodie, I resent the label of “troll” that you have branded me with. A troll, as you probably don’t know, is a small creature with a massive head to body ratio. I feel that from the little I have seen of your attitude, I believe most thoroughly that you fit this label better than myself. Thank you for your time, troll.

      • OK, where shall we start. Danny Phillips, professor of biology at MIT. According to google, you don’t exist. Interestingly, there is a Daniel Phillips who works at Massachusetts Boston University. Charlton Athletic U100s 1st XI. I doubt that they exist. As far as I know, nobody has ever lived to 156. And Yan Poliryn? Not a real name. “I don’t think I do know that people deteriorate as they get older.” Are you seriously suggesting people don’t decline as they get older? Please. Alejandro Etiam-Pila. Alejandro fits, but Etiam-Pila? Not a terribly Spanish sounding name. Also, google him. Guess what – he doesn’t exist. I’m pretty certain that nobody has scored 12 goals in the World Cup, let alone a centre half. Must try harder in future. On the bright side, the ’82 World Cup was indeed in Spain. Having said all this, I do happen to have a massive head to body ratio. Good day to you, sir.

      • Man ir pārvietoti uz šo valsti pavisam nesen, un man ir kļuvuši liels ventilators tā futbolu. Es piekrītu Danny Phillips – vecums nevar būt svarīga spēle. Kādiem jautājumiem ir, kā jūs spēlēt. Es domāju, ka viņš varētu būt melis, kad viņš 156, bet es zinu cilvēkus, kas ir spēlējis uz piecdesmit viņu. Admittidly tas ir tikai vietējās latviešu līgā futbolā – speciālisti mēdz būt jaunāki. Es nesaprotu, ko nozīmē “Troll”, bet tas, kurš tiek “Troll” jāpārtrauc to.

        Andris Ervins

  6. Wilshere and Cleverly? Do you honestly expect me to believe these are the names of real footballers? Osman is actually my second cousin once removed. I find the mere sentiment of rejecting him because of his age, discriminatory and racist. I am afraid I cannot agree with you.

  7. I would also like to say to Mr Dinwoodie that suggesting Alejandro Etiam-Pila is not a footballer, is extremely insulting to my intelligence. All my facts are true and I am struggling to understand why other commentators, including the Administrator, are ganging up on me.

  8. I have been a fan of local league football for many years, and have only recently started apprceating some of the professional leagues on television – it is refreshing to see that some people (Mr Halse) still seem to have an appreciation for the game and its players. What I hate to see is those who think it sporting to, quote, ‘troll’ (a word which I assume means leaving spam messages) websites such as this. I would suggest that Mr Phillips takes his pathetic comments about ridiculous invented teams elsewhere, and leaves some of the game for us to enjoy. Keep up the good work William, and don’t allow simple minded idiots to get in the way of what could be a very informative website. I particularly enjoyed the article about the trials of goalkeeping – I have kept for many years, and some of the points raised rang true with me.

    Gareth Smythe
    Puddlemere United FC

  9. A rather un-spiffing post here WulLIAM. Osman and Baines are the two top players of the Premier League so dont know what you are trying to imply faggot.

  10. This is exactly the type of comment which should not be allowed – Danny Phillips, you are evidently a time waster and should be stopped from commenting. I know several people who have worked for some time on various community and football websites – I am sure they could find a way to block comments from Phillips and others like him if you desire any help.

    Gareth S

  11. You know who’s gonna be at the WC? Pirlo. Also Gerrard, in all likelihood. Both older than Osman.

    For the Sweden game England did indeed pick Sterling and Huddlestone, along with Cleveryly, Wilshire, Bertrand, Caulker, Jenkinson, and Zaha as well. That’s plenty of young blood.

    They have to have some veterans too. Carrick doesn’t want to play for England I thought. Past him, they’d be better off with Osman than plenty of people his generation who are regularly included in the England setup (Lampard, Gerrard, Barry). I thought the England squad for the Sweden game was well-selected given what they have to work with, anyway: no Cole, Terry, Lescott, Downing or Lennon. Throw in the Ox, Defoe and Smalling (plus maybe Shelvey; they’d only have to remove 2 players to add those four as the roster was only 21 players due to injuries) and I think they’d have a squad that could peak for 2014 and compete well. I’d aim to have Baines, Smalling, Cahil and Johnson or Jenkinson across the back, Osman, Wilshire and Cleverlyor Shelvey in the middle, and Young and the Ox wide on either side of Welbeck up front.

    But of course, I’m not english so I don’t really care either way.

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