Liverpool

Fabio, Fabio, Oh Fabio….

International friendlies are meant for what exactly? What i get out of them is watching players who have never played together not be able to gel (which is understandable) and produce boring, pointless games which fans then give their judgement on how good the teams are. There is no way we can tell what a team is like for example last night, (a struggling) Portugal 4-0 Spain (World Champions).

First of all it’s not got the competitive edge of a qualifying game or a major tournament. The manager, although attempting new line-ups/formations still doesn’t know what to do by the time a big game comes around. This is because it’s hard to get a clear insight on the performance and he can’t judge a player on a game surrounded by players who they have trained with for just three days and expect them to work wonders.

On the other side of the scale, if they play their first team, you cannot expect of full-blooded game where winning the game is the only thing that matters. They will be trying to avoid injuries and mentally they won’t be at the same intensity as say an England vs. Germany world cup game.

You could argue that international friendlies give players a break from their clubs and it’s a chance for new players to impress? This is very true but the opposition may have a weakened eleven in a completely different league to what they normally face and it’s very hard to make a judgement.

For example, Andy Carroll last night for England had a solid game, he didn’t look out of place, but do we know any more about him than before? No, i don’t think so, he didn’t have a decent chance, he had no support and the service to him was poor. He was replaced and immediately Peter Crouch scored.

I feel the worst thing about international friendlies is injuries. A prime example is Steven Gerrard last night against the French. He went off injured with a suspected hamstring injury which could sideline him for several weeks. Also Fabio Capello stated Gareth Barry was “really injured” which leaves two clubs to suffer the consequences. Phil Jagielka and Rio Ferdinand also struggled with their fitness over the international break.

Another reason is that Kevin Davies came on as a late substitute in England’s 0-0 draw with Montenegro where he was unable to make an impact. His form for Bolton since has been very good if not better than what won him his first call up, yet he was not even considered for this squad. Instead Cardiff City’s player Jay Bothroyd was picked. I would not be surprised if he doesn’t receive another international cap in the future as he didn’t get enough game time to have an impact on the game.

Stoke City Manager Tony Pulis also reacted angrily to international friendlies by suggesting the FA should pay the representatives wages and also cover their injuries as he feels the money earned from gate receipts solely goes to paying for the stadium and premier league clubs always suffer when players’ return….

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