Date: 4th September 2011 at 1:22pm
Written by:
Wayne Rooney

"Why is no one watching?"

The future of football is at club level, not international. That is a bold statement, granted, but one I’d like to open with prior to an England vs. Wales fixture at Wembley.

England have just, with Smalling at right back, Rooney leading the line and Young providing ample support out wide, wiped Bulgaria aside and look set to walk their group. They’re, surely, going to walk over Wales on Tuesday too and, in turn, tease the English press into thinking they may actually do something in the Euros.
Anyway, I’m forgetting something. I’m Welsh! I should be looking at this article from a Welshman’s point of view and sussing out how Aaron Ramsey and co. could do a number over his Three Lioned counterparts. However, to be honest, I’m not that bothered. I’d love to see Wales beat England on Tuesday but when they lose I a) won’t be overly surprised and b) won’t be that upset.

For too many years Wales has had to endure phantom injuries that, mysteriously, last the exact length of an international window. Ryan Giggs, Aaron Ramsey, Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale, all our best players have done it. In all honesty, who can blame them? Wales never threaten to qualify for tournaments yet their clubs play Premier League and Champions’ League football. We then come to the question ‘is Champions’ League football better than international tournaments’? and I can’t see an answer other than ‘no’!

Champions League football offers the best footballers in the world. So does the World Cup it could be argued. However, unlike the World Cup which spreads its players around based on fateful places of birth, squads and teams are built of players from all over the globe for Champions’ League teams. I genuinely believe that Manchester United, Barcelona, Inter, et al. would do better in World Cups than England, Spain and Italy. There’s more understanding amongst club team mates, there’s more togetherness too. The quality of club football nowadays is as high as football has ever been. Barcelona are being touted as the best club side ever and, if they are, for me that means they are the best football side ever.

I’m not the only one in Wales who favours club football to national. The attendance for the Montenegro game was a paltry 8,000 at the Cardiff City Stadium. The next time Cardiff play at home, in the same stadium, I can assure you they’ll at least double that attendance. In Scotland, we saw Darren Fletcher using a national fixture as a game to gain match fitness! Dimitar Berbatov and Ryan Giggs don’t play international football anymore whilst still playing Premiership and Champions’ League football, Craig Bellamy only plays competitive games and Ben Foster won’t play for England at all!

To finish this little moan off I only have to point at Sky Sports News this week. Anyone who watches it as regularly as me would have seen where their main attentions and interests were this week. Wales’ match against England at Wembley? Lampard’s omission from the England starting XI? Nah, it was Jim White’s transfer deadline day for club football. Says it all really…

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7 responses to “International Week – Do We Really Care?”

  1. Jim says:

    heaps of national pride I see, Pathetic, you hardly deserve to call any country yours.

  2. Matt says:

    I’m sorry. I’ve just reread this and I’m not sure I made my point well enough. I’m an exceptionally passionate Welshman and when the rugby world cup comes around I’ll be cheering my nation on wholeheartedly. In London 2012 I’ll be bellowing for my British athletes. My poorly made point was that media, players, coaches and fans don’t take international football that seriously so why should I? Especially as, like I said, most of my national footballers treat club football with higher regard.

    • Steve Crabtree says:

      You made your point perfectly, selective word absorbers like Jim are better off having their views generated by the likes of The Sun.

  3. Simmo says:

    Hi Matt! Good article by the way! Surely this issue is a no-brainer. We are all subjected to the lie that International football is where it’s at. As soon as the qualifiers swing around the beeb, Sky, every radio station and most of the written press bang on about patriotism, and in the case of England, how theyre gonna win the WC or EC! It’s nonsense! Anyone with a shred of common sense would tell you that club football is where it’s at! When was the last WC that you could say was great in a footballing sense?? I’d say 1986 and that’s a long time ago! The Champions league on the other hand is dynamite every year! One final thought why is it when you don’t swallow the lie about international football, don’t drape yourself in a national flag and act like a complete tool do you get accused of not being patriotic??

    Matt you don’t have to explain yourself to the likes of Jim. Let him do all of the above and well stick to the real football.

  4. Steve Crabtree says:

    Great article!

    From an England point of view, Scholes hit the nail on the head when he said that too many players use England as a vehicle for their own club careers, and aren’t bothered for international success.

    If some of the players can’t have pride in playing for their country, what make you think supporters are going to do the same.

    One more thing…fans of international teams are guided by the tabloids as to what to think of their country. If the back page says: “Capello is the best manager ever”, that’s the agreement between the fans in the pub. 2 days later the same paper calls for Capello’s head…that’s what the same group of mates are talking about next time in the pub.

    Club football is where the passion is – and to those who think otherwise, answer this:
    If you had to choose between your club never playing again, or your international side never playing again…which would you pick?

  5. bruce thomas says:

    Q: Do we care about international football?

    A: No.

  6. Anneeq Anwar says:

    Not a chance, world cup crowds prove it, only last year u saw how many england boys were there in south africa cheering the boys on. Even if it was money trully wasted. U watch they’ll be in their numbers in Ukraine and Poland next year. Also how can u have more pride in a group of foreigners winning Champions Leagues than English born and bred patriots winning a world cup for ur country? Or wales for u author.

    People act very surprised about why these players dont do well in world tournaments, i just dont understand the confusion. Because the selection is so dam flawed, both managerially and the players. Managers that have got success by buying talent are installed (Capello), when managers like Redknapp and Hodgson are much more suited to the nature of management for the england jobs. Players that continuously fail at international level, but are fantastic at club level keep on getting picked (Lampard). When u look at teams like germany, they have players who at club level look very average such as Ballack, Klose, Frings, schweinsteiger and pudolski, but they are lethal at international level. England keep picking the Lampards, Ferdinands, Terrys, Walcott, Carraghers etc. And never pick Crouch, Owen, Cahill, etc who have proven international pedigree.