I can sympathise with Roy Hodgson, try getting youngsters to a game on a Saturday
I AM very patriotic and will watch and support almost any event if England are represented. While flicking through the TV channels during the week, I came across the manicure World Cup final on one of the stations, where we were one of the finalists. England actually won it, but I have to say, it was a real nail-biting finish!
A statement from Roy Hodgson, the England manager, that appeared in the national press recently really got my attention. He was referring to a few players who he had selected to play for our national team, who had yet to commit fully to representing England in the long term. The main reason this issue was raised is because three players have dual nationality. The Crystal Palace winger, Wilfred Zaha, was elligible to play for the Ivory Coast; Raheem Sterling for Jamaica, and Carl Jenkinson for Finland. What Hodgson wanted was for this trio to come out and say how proud they were to get called up and that, hopefully, a long international career with England was ahead of them. Instead, it seemed that the aforementioned players were simply testing the water by playing in the recent friendly match against Sweden, before committing to either of their options. I firmly agree with Hodgson when he said that when players are selected to play, if necessary, they should cycle to the match for the honour of pulling on that England jersey.
On a lesser scale, trying to get players at amateur level just to commit to playing locally most Saturday afternoons takes a lot of determination.
I have been known to beg players on occasions just so I can get 11 to start a match. To be sure that they get there I often drive to certain lads front doors to pick them up. Even then it has been known for the curtains to twitch when I beep the cars horn, but no one comes to the door, obviously hoping I drive away. I know I sound like a grumpy old man, but when I was young I would crawl across hot coals to play a game of football.
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These days it seems to me that they think that they are doing you a favour if they turn up – kids today eh!
One thing that really winds me up is the excuses I hear from players when they can't make a training session. Honestly I am sure I have heard them all. Only last week two players cried off citing that they were celebrating there parents birthdays by going out for a meal. This would have been fine if it was true, I say this because when I was driving home I passed one of them outside a kebab takeaway, the other blowing a trumpet at the front of a brass band, marching through the high street. I can't believe that at least the one leading the band didn't tell me the truth, it's not like I would have made any sarcastic comments or anything is it? Having said that, I think a few of them have me sussed. I recently received a text message from one of my midfielders which read, "Sorry I won't be there tonight because my car refuses to start." I immediately replied back: "Surely you can come on the bus?" He replied: "I haven't got a bus!"