The Real Football Man: Bring Your Boots

The Real Football Man

Me moaning about international breaks in football is getting too much of a recurring issue. The simple way to fix this problem can go one of two ways, I either just stop moaning and learn to live with the harsh reality or we stop having international breaks. To be honest I think the latter would be the more pertinent solution.

Now with it being one of those miserable weekends where scores of men have to go shopping and look for soft furnishings with their other half it comes as no surprise that players are dropping out of the England squad left, right and centre.

Truth be told I did have something of an ‘ingenious’ idea for my column this week, that being it was going to be a sentence just simply saying ‘withdrawn from international duty’. Whether the powers that be would have gone with that idea I’m not too sure but luckily for you I’m going to use this platform as a vehicle to lament about England once again.

After reading this you may or may not have watched England play Germany (if the editor was really clever here he could amend this part so it has the result but let’s leave it in for posterity) and it although it may have been England in name it was nothing like the team we come to begrudgingly love like the ginger stepson we never really wanted.

It’s almost embarrassing the amount of injuries that Gareth Southgate has had to deal with over the past week or so as his original England squad has been disheveled to within an inch of his life, if apathy for the fixtures against World Champions Germany and Brazil was high beforehand it is astronomical now.

People who moan about the fact that Harry Winks is injured are the same people who moan about him being called up to the squad last month. These are the same people that were advocating that Tom Cleverley should have picked in front of him. With this the only conclusion I can make is that the majority of people are idiots.

If there is some light to be shone into the dark abyss which is the England squad right now it is at least that there are some younger players that will be given their opportunity over the course of the two friendlies, with so few chances afforded to Southgate in which to do so that is at least some positive.

But the problem then becomes this, if the likes of Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek play well then there will be a clamour “to get them on the plane” come next June but due to the farcical nature of the make up of the England lineups you cannot read too much into this.

At the same time it should not be used as a stick to beat them with if they perform badly but this period has become such a crapshoot that you cannot read anything in terms of the bigger picture on the horizon, that picture of course being the final 23 selection next summer.

Young and/or untested players can only take what opportunity they are given but had the circumstances been different then there is no way they would have been selected so you cannot take these fixtures in isolation as a strong enough reason to rid the squad of the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabian Delph (as much as we would all love to)

It’s the same argument with the players who have won the FIFA Under 17 and Under 20 World Cup’s this year, you cannot just wholesale drop them into the senior setup. When you see comments such as “get rid of all the older players and start the kids” you again come to the conclusion that people by and large are idiots.

Anyway that is enough of my lament for this week, on the flip side at least there are no international breaks now until March, flip that back over though and I have no idea what I’m going to write about for my next piece in seven days time.

*Of course this article comes with the strict caveat that England haven’t beaten Germany, if it has just scrap all the prose in the bin and revert back to my ‘ingenious’ idea.

Until next week.