England drew their last World Cup qualifier 1-1 with Montenegro on Tuesday.
The result wasn’t a great surprise as England hasn’t exactly been inspiring in recent months under Roy Hodgson, efficient maybe, but not inspiring.
Norwich skipper Grant Holt has revealed that he feels he didn’t get picked for the England squad last season because he played for an ‘unfashionable club’.
He scored 18 goals last season for the Canaries and probably should have been selected for the Three Lions squad.
He revealed his frustration last season and has re-iterated his annoyance by telling the Daily Telegraph: “I should have been there in the summer; if not the Euros, I should definitely have had the chance in the two friendlies before.
“It bugs me when a squad is called and I don’t hear (Southampton striker) Rickie Lambert’s name mentioned once, not one breath, and he’s on form, scoring, similar to what I did last year.
“Is it the ‘fashionable club’ thing? Are we so stuck in our ways that you have to be at Manchester United, Arsenal or Tottenham?”
Southampton striker Rickie Lambert has been superb this season in the Premier League. He has scored 13 times this season in the top flight, but has also assisted his team with many goals as well.
Lambert isn’t just a battering ram of centre-forward in the same vein as Grant Holt. Lambert has always been an intelligent player and has worked his way through the leagues. Had he had more luck earlier in his career he may have made the step-up sooner.
I would suggest that Lambert is a far more complete player than Holt, but both of the former-Rochdale strikers have suffered the same fate, being completely ignored by the England set-up.
Most countries use a system of picking the most in-form players for their national squads. Unfortunately England seems to use the same players and not look outside the box of the top six teams.
Even players that play for relatively big clubs like Everton get excluded. Everton full-back Leighton Baines has been one of most consistent players in the top flight for the last couple of seasons.
Yet no matter how well he plays Chelsea’s Ashley Cole gets chosen ahead of him at full-back, regardless of Cole’s form or fitness it seems. It doesn’t seem right that the likes of Baines are overlooked just because they don’t play for a so called ‘big club’.
England managers have to be braver than they have been in recent times with their squad selections. Other nations have benefitted from leaving players out with big reputations.
Unfortunately England managers seem to be scared of annoying high-profile players and panda to their every wish. England bosses don’t seem to have the strength of character to deal with the big egos around the squad.
They are scared to make big decisions and seem too cautious. Maybe if England bosses showed more courage England may finally challenge for the big trophies, instead of being also-rans.
The selection of players because of who they are and who they play for isn’t going stop anytime soon in the England set-up. Granted players at the bigger clubs tend to be better quality, but occasionally there is need to bring fresh blood into the England squad.
Rickie Lambert deserves his chance for the Three Lions, but unfortunately for the Saints striker he is unlikely to get a call from anybody in the England set-up anytime soon.
Do England players get chosen on the strength of who they play for?