Is he English, Scouse, or both?

by admin

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

A key qualifier is coming up. Win and you take your team to the World Cup finals, But there’s a problem. The Champions League final is just a few days later and your hamstring is feeling tight; what do you do?

Luckily this scenario is as unlikely as a slick England passing move, but it does raise a key question; who is it most important to represent, your club or country? This age old conflict reared its ugly head again last night and got even uglier after Liverpool’s head of fitness and conditioning Darren Burgess gave a rather…..ahem, frank opinion of England’s treatment of Stephen Gerrard. On top of this Newcastle raised concerns over the fitness of Andy Carroll and reportedly asked for the number nine to be withdrawn from the squad altogether.

Surprisingly, the Gerrard case is not infrequent in the modern game as managers look to protect key assets during a long and busy season. Liverpool claim to have had an agreement that Gerrard should only have played an hour, but did they have any right to do this? After all, they invest their time and money and what do they get in return? Four weeks without a key player, to be precise.

“Stevie getting injured…this is why I hate mid-season friendlies” Liverpool physio Chris Morgan

It’s the clubs duty to protect their interests of course, but the lines blur as to how far they are are allowed to go. Would it be right, for example, for a club to ensure a player can only play twenty minutes of every game he plays for England? It would certainly put even more pressure on the England managers job, a role which, lets face it, could do with the pressure being ratcheted down a few notches, and undermine the prestige of playing for your country. Perhaps the lessons of English Rugby and Cricket should be heeded and a central contract system used, with the line clearly drawn in favour of country. That is about as likely as Mick McCarthy taking up jazzercise – and can you see Wayne Rooney or Rio Ferdinand turning out at club level only a handful of times a season? Bad example, but still.

Burgess’s twitter rant was underhanded and unnecessary, but offers a telling insight into the strained club country relationship. As Liverpool physio Chris Morgan put it: “Stevie getting injured…this is why I hate mid-season friendlies”. The relationship between club and country has certainly become more strained in recent times, and as the fixture list remains fit to burst, this will become an increasingly common theme. Sadly the most important figure is lost and forgotten – the player.

The upshot is that he is left in the middle of a tug of war, honoured to play for country but aware who pays their wages; to bite the hand that feeds you or to be branded unpatriotic. So who would you choose? For what it is worth, in a debate as clear as the instruction manual for the Large Hadron Collider, I know who I would. All together now; “God save our gracious Queen……”.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Mystical Mike

    no disrespect but Wenger has been saying this for years. We’ve lost RVP twice, Walcott & more recently Thomas Vermaelen whilst on International duty.

    At the end of the day I’m afraid club is bigger than country, I blame Sky for this

Previous post:

Next post: