Two Minute Warning
Do we care about England?
An astonishing 90,000 brave souls will head for Wembley on Friday evening to watch England’s superstars put their reputations on the line against one of the worst-ranked sides on the planet, San Marino. Will Roy Hodgson’s men run riot by producing a goal fest? Or will they be left with egg on their faces? More to the point, does anyone care? Mike Calvin and the Life’s a Pitch team discuss the merits or otherwise of international football…
The Guardian’s Dominic Fifield is up first, and he’s agitated by the timing of this latest set of England fixtures. “I understand the frustration at this stage of the season, where the Premier League is in fits and starts, then, just when we’re getting some momentum going, there’s another two-week international break and we have to crank it up all over again. Personally, I’m intrigued to see how England do in Poland – that interests me; San Marino doesn’t. It’s going to be a cricket score and a complete waste of time.”
“There should be a pre-qualification tournament for small nations like this,” says Ian Ridley of the Mail on Sunday. “This is a game England are fulfilling, and they will make some revenue from using Wembley – which is one of the reasons why they’re reasonably happy with it – but as a football match it’s meaningless.”
Asked if the players themselves are uninterested, footballer-turned-journalist Adrian Clarke admits he’s puzzled at the attitude of certain big-name stars. “I think if your country calls you, you should turn up, and it angers me when I hear of players refusing to go on standby or play for their country. It amazed me when Gary Neville and Roy Hodgson came out and said there’s no point in calling up the likes of Rio Ferdinand if they’re not going to play because it can cause ructions and affect team morale. Why? Why can’t senior players go there and be happy to be there, and have a positive influence on the dressing room? I don’t understand.”
But we shouldn’t write off international football just yet, insists Ian, who claims: “We all love tournaments. International football will not die as long as there are World Cups and European Championships that provide excitement.”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
Follow Mike Calvin on Twitter @CalvinBook
Follow Life’s a Pitch on Twitter @BTLifesaPitch
Watch England live on BT Vision:
England v San Marino, 7.30pm, 12 October, ITV 1
Poland v England, 7.30pm, 16 October, ITV1
Don’t have BT Vision? Find out how to get it