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Opinion: England need a team our youngsters can aspire to emulate

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It’s that time of year where players are being selected to represent their country. However, this year, many of those chosen have dropped out of the England Squad ahead of upcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil. 

A lot of players have dropped out under the wishes of their league clubs, as they do not want them to get injured during their international games, staying fit for their club’s league season seems much more important to players in the modern day. 

Do footballers still care about playing for their country?

When we were kids running around the playground, we all aspired to be a player; usually someone from the England squad of the era we were brought up in. Rooney, Gerrard, Giggs, maybe even Beckham. Names of players who we looked up to in football.

However, with no success coming from the men’s England team in over half a century, why would young boys and girls want to emulate these players. 

Instead the youth of today are running around sports fields with names like Agüero, Messi and Ronaldo on the back of their shirt. Because we simply do not have these players to look up to today in the England squad.

International league football such as; La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga amongst others. has taken the spotlight away from our national team.

Do players need to prove themselves on the world stage?

The aim of any player was to represent their country on the world stage. It was considered to be the peak in many player’s careers. I feel that players no longer aspire to represent their country on the world stage but are much more focused on doing that in continental competitions, such as the the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League, this is seen to be much more important.

The World Cup used to be the sporting highlight in the calendar. I remember my school even closing early so that pupils and teachers could get home in time to watch England play. However, I very much doubt that schools and businesses would do this in support of the national team again. Many England fans don’t expect achievement from International games and competitions.  

Does anything need to be fixed with international football if this kind of thing keeps happening?

English league teams and the England squad need to focus more on bringing players through youth academies and setting them up for the national team of the future.

Youngster’s need to be given the opportunity to play in the English league's at the highest level but aren’t able to due to the quality and quantity of international players.

If a cap was set to limit the number of international players, youth would shine through, which, in hindsight, would hopefully create a strong England squad for the future. An England squad which players aspire to play for on the world stage and not an inconvenience to their careers.

Image Credit - Flickr Commons, Alex McGibbon. cchana

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