Monday, 23 February 2009

Why aren't these players considered for England?

Fabio Capello has a meritocratic, almost linear approach to selecting his England squads.

Our national coach comes from a football culture where the player with the most caps is made captain.

And so it follows that if you're in form, the Italian boss will call you up. Players who've benefited from this recently have included ex-Fulham midfielder Jimmy Bullard and Carlton Cole of West Ham.

But somehow, there's still that nagging feeling there's a glass ceiling when it comes to selecting players from less fashionable clubs or of a certain age or pedigree.

I see some Premier League players perform week-in and week-out, even season-in and season-out, and they never getting a look in. Bolton Wanderers would be struggling without the evergreen commitment and goals of Kevin Davies and the wand like, left-foot of Matt Taylor, purveyor of the spectacular strike both at Bolton and at Portsmouth for several seasons before.

Even the Championship has a growing cluster of quality players who deserve closer attention at international level. Just because they're not in the top-flight doesn't mean they wouldn't be equipped to make the step up.

Mansfield-born Kris Commons has elected to play for Scotland because he never believed he'd get that chance with the country of his birth. Why he's never played above the Championship is beyond me. Strong, skilled, attack-minded and who weighs in with a good few goals from his position. He's more prominent following his winner against Manchester United in the Carling Cup semi-final first-leg, but he performs at that level all the time.

I was surprised that Chris Eagles left Manchester United, but moreso that Burnley was his best option. With all due respect to the Clarets, Eagles was beginning to make an impression in the United first-team, so if his decision to leave Old Trafford was about playing more often than surely a Premier League side would've wanted him? Eagles for England!

Some players, particularly younger ones respond to the challenge of playing at a higher level without succumbing to nerves or being found out.

So Fabio, give good professionals an unexpected platform at international level that their quality and commitment deserve.

Cast your net wider to find form players from a dozen clubs.

More often than not, they will respond to the call!

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