Monday, 12 August 2013

#BBCsportsday on England's "key player"

Following the announcement ahead of Wednesday's England vs. Scotland friendly at Wembley that Roy Hodgson would 'always' consider Wayne Rooney for selection for the England squad, if he were physically fit (presumably this is regardless of his recent form at club level), today's BBC Sportsday live text has been asking for suggestions on who England's "key player" is.

In my opinion, this is symptomatic of the problems England have in international football.  We are always looking for a silver bullet, one player on whom we can pin all our hopes - one basket, in which we can put all our footballing eggs.  Quite apart from the damage this could do to that player (whoever he might be) from the pressures of being expected to carry the national team, I really don't think this is the right way to be running things at all.

This fixation with Rooney is damaging our national team.  Sure, he's good - but is he so good, that he can waltz into the team no matter how good (or bad) his recent performances (and attitude) have been?  And what sort of message does this give other young English players, hoping for a chance to get to represent their country?  Already we have a very strong scent of players being selected based more on which clubs they play for (would Danny Welbeck really get a call-up, if he were at, say, Sunderland instead of at Manchester United?) and I don't think comments like this are helping.

"What's the point in competing for a place in the England squad?  Rooney will always get in, no matter how well he's playing!" is not a good attitude to be fostering.

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