Manchester United: Five stars that failed England

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There is a sense of the incomprehensible when it comes to players that play for their club team each week, showing boundless talent and energy for the game, but cannot seems to replicate that form in the international arena. 

More specifically, in England, players past and present such as Matt Le Tissier and Robbie Fowler have excelled at Premier League level but never got near to shining for England albeit sometimes the players never actually get the chance to perform. 

Throughout Ferguson’s reign at Manchester United there have been English players who have won trophies galore but England supporters have never seen their talents utilised for the good of the nation. Let’s take a look at five players that fit that Bill.

Steve Bruce

A depressing fact that is trivial in the football world is that Steve Bruce never got capped at international level. The solitary appearance he has is an England B team appearance to his name. 

For Manchester United Bruce played at the very heart of the defence being a reliant centre back with great calmness on the ball and intelligent passing and clearances in dangerous areas. 

He played with exceptional focus and great determination and was at the very forefront of United’s early title successes. The question still remains today, how would Bruce have fared if he were given a chance to play for England?

Gary Pallister

The partner of Bruce at the focal point of United’s defence was Gary Pallister.  With his 6ft 4” frame he held great dominance in aerial battles and exceptional ball control. 

Both Bruce and Pallister steered the way to United’s title successes in the early Premier League era. With 22 England appearances to his name, it seems too short an international career for someone with his level of talent and ability. 

It seems unbelievable that the dominant rear guard of Bruce and Pallister earned 22 appearances between them on the International stage even though they were propelling United to unprecedented success.

Andy Cole

Cole is the second highest scorer in premier league history with 187 goals in 409 appearances. Cole possessed great pace and intelligent pace resulting in an abundance of goals, which powered United to Premier League and Continental success. 

His partnership with Dwight Yorke is arguably one of football’s greatest duos who showed intelligent gameplay and a natural understanding to pave the way to an astonishing treble season. 

However, in an England shirt he made 15 appearances and scored one goal. Glen Hoddle refused to select him for the 1998 World Cup with his reasoning being that Andy Cole needs six or seven chances to score one goal. His England statistics are odd and incomparable to one of the greatest strikers the Premier League has even seen.

Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes may be viewed as a wrong choice because he made 66 England appearances, scoring fourteen goals. However it is of my opinion that his world-class passing, great technique and powerful, shooting accuracy were never seen in the same fashion as it was when he was playing for Manchester United. Adding to his woes, Lampard and Gerrard started to become England’s centre midfield pairing by 2004 and Scholes was made to play in his unnatural position, left midfield. 

Scholes never truly replicated his form for England, besides some standout performances such as his goal against Tunisia in the world cup or his international Hatrick against Poland. However, I believe that at the important stages of International competition Scholes wasn’t utilised to his outstanding potential on the International scene.

Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick has had 27 England appearances but has always appeared a flat, uninspiring figure when it comes to playing for England. This season he has shown at Manchester United the talented footballer he is but with exquisite ball control and passing and unrivalled intelligence for defensive covering. 

In the past he has been unlucky with the solidification of Gerrard and Lampard in the centre of England’s midfield. But could he now be given another change at International level to show the world his world-class ability and lead England to future success?

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Michael Carrick
Paul Scholes
Premier League
Manchester United

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