With another international squad announcement imminent, there has been the usual clamour for one or more of our own to be recognised nationally.
When it involves England, we’ve always been treated up here like there’s a plague just North of the Midlands unless there’s a media outcry or a desperate need to satisfy some hidden agenda.
Far too many times over the years have we seen one of our own be the player of the month in our eyes with great performances week after week, only then to see them miss out on the England squad by an inferior sort.
English players that get so much as a sniff for one of the darling top 5 or 6 are fast-tracked into the squad with their reserve players not far behind.
Our lot up here could play out of their skin without so much of a mention until the transfer talk starts as the big boys hover. It happened with Chris Waddle and was then repeated with Beardsley, Gazza and so on.
We’ve all seen the emergence of Jamal Lascelles and how he would have been selected if wearing the red of the North Western big two of Manchester United and Liverpool, or Arsenal. For that matter, he would also have been called up if he played for Chelsea, Manchester City, or even Spurs. But our players have to do that bit more to be noticed, or should I say not to be ignored?
I don’t see the national team as the honour to play for as I did as a kid because the players are picked by club and politics, so why should we risk the chance of injury by putting them into a group of pre-madonnas? Or even worse, the chance for them to be tapped up by talk of the distractions at the top clubs.
Rafa Benitez has worked hard on getting rid of the ‘I’ in TEAM and focused on players working hard for each other for the cause and going into another set up based on politics and flawed logic for choosing the squad may cause damage than good.