Rio Ferdinand reveals how England players ‘killed’ their golden generation

Rio Ferdinand Press Conference London

England’s failure to win a major tournament between 2006 and 2012 with arguably the most talented generation they’ve ever produced remains something of a mystery.

With the likes of former Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and Chelsea duo Frank Lampard and John Terry at their disposal, those teams really have no excuse for their poor showings.

England haven’t progressed beyond the quarter-finals of a World Cup or European Championship since 1996, let alone mounted a serious case to match their triumph of 55 years ago.

There’s no question the so-called ‘golden generation’ of the previous decade was surely the best chance the country had of challenging their international rivals.

But despite having five of the best footballers on the planet at the time representing England, only disappointment came about from their ventures to Germany, South Africa and Poland and Ukraine.

Why did such an incredible of players struggle to fulfil their potential, though?

Every fan has their own unique view on the matter, but at last, we might have a proper insight into why the team appeared to be so desperately hindered.

Ferdinand – who retired from England duty with 81 caps to his name – believes his cohort of superstars was undone by one simple factor.

While their strongest line-up looked frighteningly similar to a fantasy football team, the players’ relentless competitiveness prioritised club honours over international trophies.

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Ferdinand told the Times magazine, via the Evening Standard: “It overshadowed things. It killed that England team, that generation.

"One year we would have been fighting Liverpool to win the league, another year it would be Chelsea. So I was never going to walk into the England dressing room and open up to Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry or Joe Cole at Chelsea, or Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher at Liverpool.

"I wouldn't open up because of the fear they would take something back to their club and use it against us, to make them better than us. I didn't really want to engage with them.

"I didn't realise that what I was doing was hurting England at the time. I was so engrossed, so obsessed with winning with Man United - nothing else mattered.

"If I had my time again, would I be different? I'd like to try to be different. But if it meant I wasn't going to win my trophies, I don't think I'd change.”

Ferdinand’s theory certainly checks out when looking back on the apparent lack of chemistry between the Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea representatives.

Although bringing a club football mentality into the national side can only be destructive, surely there has to be more to England’s perennial underachievement.

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