Friday, April 20, 2018

The club v country war is the longest ongoing battle in the world

Ashley Randall in Editorial, World Cup 23 Mar 2017


James McCarthy club v country

The club v country war is still, very much, an ongoing problem in the football world.

Although not as important as a real-life war, managers alike still happen to produce blood, sweat and tears trying to either keep their prized assist at their beloved club or on the other hand, desperately attempting to somehow squeeze them into their international squad of 23.

This usually all goes on as one boss tries to justify the fact his player has a broken toe and hasn’t played any part during the last couple of weeks whilst the other manager will be happy just to have him for the quarter-final stage of a major tournament – and that’s if their team even makes it to that point.

James McCarthy’s international call-up

The Republic of Ireland’s James McCarthy’s recent call up for the upcoming international fixtures has reignited the debate over what manager is in the right.

Everton boss Ronald Koeman has stated the 26-year-old is blatantly unfit having only made 12 appearances this season and missing their last two league games. Whilst, Martin O’Neill obviously reckons McCarthy has an important role to play in the squad.

This will all be too familiar for the Dutch manager as the exact same incident happened in the international fixtures in November.

However, can you blame an international manager for wanting to pick his best players? Especially if the footballer actually wants to play?

It’s all very well Koeman not choosing to play McCarthy and blaming fitness as his issue but if O’Neill believes that the Irish midfielder is fit, why not select him?

Surely it’s the player who knows best?

The problem surrounding this issue is that club managers are constantly telling players what they can and cannot do.

It’s surely down to the player and what he feels in his heart. If he is chosen to represent his country at international level and he feels he is fit enough to, then who can blame him when he does?

You can understand that a Club manager’s issues will lie with the fact they pay the players wages. If a player is half injured and he goes off to an international tournament and comes back with a more serious problem then all of a sudden the team are competing the first half of the season without their top goalscorer.

Although managers will have player’s health in their highest interest, people need to understand that the player will too. The player is the only one who will know how injured he is and nine times out of 10 he will pull out of the international squad himself if he feels it will do more damage to his health.

Will this war ever end?

In an ideal world, all managers will have the utmost faith and confidence in a players ability to know whether he is fit enough to represent his country, in the hope that if he isn’t then he will not go.

However, this seems unlikely to happen any time soon with managers dictating players lives every day throughout every aspect from diets to social lives.

Maybe we should give players more freedom to choose how they live their life. Only then will we know if they can be trusted to make such decisions.

Wars will always come to an end. Unfortunately, this one may never.


Ashley Randall

Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.



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