Thursday, 12 May 2011

Serving Your Country

I was encouraged, but sad to say, surprised at Pat Nevin's reaction to England goalkeeper Ben Foster's "sabbatical" from international football yesterday.

Nevin, a former Scottish international whose wing trickery promised much but didn't deliver what it should, espoused the increasingly rare opinion that footballers should view the chance to represent their country as an honour for which it is worth sacrificing two years' wages at the end of your career.

I haven't heard this view put forward by a footballer for years but it's one which is innate to me. Maybe it's a generational thing (I've just re-read that and feel very old now!) but, growing up in the 1980s, playing for England in the World Cup was all I wanted to do. Even now, if my country asked me to play tiddly-winks in the Olympics, I would gladly pay for the privilege.

I know there are massive riches on offer for Premier League players nowadays but surely Mr Foster will have made all the money he needs to long before he is 35. I have some sympathy with players who travel the world and need a break every now and then to ensure they are fresh for the challenges ahead. But this doesn't seem to be his motivation.

Playing for England, singing for England, arrivaderci it's one on one - there shouldn't be anything to beat it.

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