The build up to a major tournament is always scupperred with media reports, trouble and strife within the England camp. This tournament, with a new manager at the helm, has been no different. Injuries have blighted the squad, with Lampard, Barry and Cahill now all set to miss the tournament, but it's the replacements and the available/unavailable players that seems to be the biggest story in the build up.
First of all let me start by saying how anyone can make themselves unavailable for selection for their country is beyond me. It is a sad state of affairs when money has taken over the absolute pride of representing your country. Players who insist they are unavailable as they are not first choice is purely disgraceful. Wheres the work ethic been lost to? Where is the fight? Where is the desire to be the best you can be? When did it all start to go wrong? Many questions that I continually ask myself and find myself lost for words.
This time around we have players refusing to be on the back up list for the squad? This is for your country, and to me it shows a sign of complete arrogance for them to believe they are above other players. Micah Richards refused to be a back up, in my opinion should never play again for England. Maybe he should of been called into the main squad? That is down to the managers selection and unfortunately the right back spot is very competitive right now and he has no guarantees to play, or why should he. Another one is Michael Carrick. Yes there is talk that he is nursing an achillis injury, that Alex Ferguson said he needs rest on. But Carrick himself said he would go to the Euros if he was guaranteed to start every game! He's Michael Carrick, not Lionel Messi! What right does anyone have to demand that? If your injured, pull out of the situation. But he is not injured. He said he would go if he started every game. Does that sound like a player who is injured? Again, in my opinion he should never play for England again.
From players who don't want to play for their country to players who do, but have been showed so much disrespect its a disgrace. Rio Ferdinand. Overlooked for the original squad, which in all fairness to Roy Hodgson was down to his decision. He took into account the fact that he may struggle to play 3 games a week and you could argue for and against the decision. He spoke about the fact that he spoke to Alex Ferguson about the player and used that as a reason to not select him, which showed a big sign of weakness straight away. Then there was this overshadowing John Terry racial case against Ferdinands brother, Anton. Surely the FA have told Hodgson that they don't want both players there and I am certain the manager is worried about the harmony of the squad. Again in my opinion a sign of weakness, to not be able to deal with the situation.
Then the injuries started to mount up. Experienced players like Lampard and Barry were both ruled out. Players who are nearing the end of their playing careers. One mention of Ferdinand was made that England wanted to build for the future. I never like hearing that, because surely you want to build from tournament to tournament and put your BEST possible team out at a major tournament that gives you a chance of winning it. There are only 2 tournaments in 2 years!
Cahill, a center back, ruled out and his replacement is a Liverpool RIGHT BACK who has only just made his debut and barely played for his club all season. Picked over the former England captian, with a host of experience who played all of the last 16 Premier League games for Manchester United, a team with a great defensive record this season and a team who lost the league title on goal difference. If Hodgson, as he has always stated wanted to pick his best team, then he is lying to us all. There is no way right now that Kelly is better than Ferdinand. There is no case for him to be picked over Ferdinand. The FA have a lot of questions to answer for, but we will never ever hear the truth. The John Terry case is a huge part of this, it has to be.
I wanted to finish on more of a high note. Well, a way of eating my words. I was very annoyed when Jordan Henderson was called up to the squad as I do not rate him one tiny little bit. I do not think he is good enough to wear the England shirt. However, this lad has showed the desire to play for his country, by not pulling out of the back up list, by continuing to work hard and to take his chance. One thing I know that if he gets a chance to play in the Euros at all, that he will give his all and try extremely hard, one thing us England fans love to see. We didn;t see much of that in South Africa, so some young Lion Heart is good for the team. I eat my words on that. He is showing the disgraced players, especially Carrick, that he is not afraid of hard work.
I am certain knowing the England teams dramas, that there will be more to come in the next 5 weeks of the tournament. Let me now your comments