The merits (or otherwise) of the international break

by Steve

So, Gerrard and Lampard are out of the England squad and Capello is down to four of his likely first-choice eleven for Wednesday’s friendly against Germany. There is the usual controversy and debate over having friendlies mid-season, particularly with the England camp seeming to doubt Liverpool’s diagnosis of Gerrard’s injury and insisting they have a peek themselves. With so much money at stake it really isn’t any wonder that clubs are reluctant to risk their star players/investments. No matter what they say, the majority of players are going to go along with their paymaster rather than En-ger-land.

But is this the end of the world? A match of this nature seems the perfect opportunity to blood new players and give those on the fringes of the England set-up a taste of a pressured game (what with it being Germany at the Olympic Stadium) without the pressure of a competitive fixture. Young players can get a feel of being in an England squad, while those who would usually keep the bench warm get a run-out and get used to playing with one another, and those “first teamers” left. Chances are, in future competitive games these fringe players will end up playing a part due to injuries or suspensions, so the experience they gain on Wednesday can only help.

The injuries of key players (real or not, it doesn’t matter) could really be a blessing in disguise for Capello, and just might throw up a few nice surprises and difficult future selection choices for him.