England captain Steven Gerrard has called on QPR manager Harry Redknapp to publicly out the players that he claims don’t want to play for England.
Redknapp made these comments against several of the players he managed during his time at Tottenham during an interview with BBC Radio Five Live last week but stopped short of naming the accused.
"They'd come to me 10 days before the game and say 'gaffer get me out of the game. I don't want to play in it'," he said.
Gerrard was defiant in the face of the allegations and claimed that every member of the current England squad is fully committed to the cause and has called on Redknapp to name and shame the players in question.
"I'll tell you what - I'd be interested to find out who those players are,“ said Gerrard.
"No-one in this group wants to go home - no one.
"Should Harry not name them? If he's not naming them I can't answer. If it's the case it's disgusting.
"For me, if a player doesn't want to be here, he doesn't deserve to be here at a World Cup.”
Redknapp’s comments came after England’s elimination from the World Cup was confirmed after just two games following Thursday’s 2-1 defeat to Uruguay - the worst performance by an England side on the world stage since 1958.
Such a dismal return has led to widespread criticism of the group of players involved and the issue of passion to play for the country has been raised as a standing point.
It is an accusation that has long been levelled at England players in particular with the feeling that in the days of mega money club contracts, the prestige of playing for the national team is not what it once was.
In truth the days where international football was the summit of a player’s career are long gone with the injection of TV money into domestic and European football leaving the FIFA calendar struggling to compete.
Qualifying games against Moldova and Macedonia do not come close to matching the pull of glamorous Champions League ties against some of Europe’s biggest names, and friendlies which are guaranteed to involve seven substitutes from each team do nothing to help the situation either.
UEFA’s proposed League of Nations for friendlies may help add some meaning into these otherwise pointless games but the issue of club versus country will always remain.
No more pride
The players are owned by their clubs and it is they who pay their often obscene wages. While the FIFA calendar may state that players have to be released for International fixtures, and the clubs are compensated for their release, it is understandable that clubs want to protect their expensive assets.
Most of the time it isn’t a problem until a player gets ‘injured’. So often we see players left out of their clubs matches prior to an international break with an injury only to see them magically recover for the next domestic game.
This causes mistrust and leads to ridiculous situations where players fly half way round the world to prove to another doctor that they are actually injured as the countries are entitled to request under FIFA ruling.
The players are always in the middle in this tug of war between the two sides and in a short career which can be over in an instant it’s understandable that they would want to keep their respective employers on side.
It should be an honour
The unrealistic expectations that often go with England duty can make an England squad a hazardous place to be for those players who do choose to represent their country.
Despite a history of limited success and an infrastructure that clearly isn’t ready to deliver more any time soon, the weight of the country’s expectations are thrown onto any England player who shows any iota of talent only to be shot down again and made the brunt of abuse from press and the fans if they fail to deliver the impossible as has happened with Wayne Rooney this time around.
Players should want to play for England; it is an honour that is achieved by few and the onus is on them to make themselves available at every opportunity but in the current game of club versus country club is winning by a comfortable margin.
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