Like many kids growing up, when I was 10 I wanted to play football for England. Nothing was going to stop me. Well, so I thought, until my Mum called me in for dinner one evening and said I wasn’t going to make it. Mainly because I didn’t play for a club and didn’t want to. Stumbling blocks everywhere.

At no stage are kids told, ‘you will play occasionally for England but not as often as you should’.

We forget those whose international career was either cut short by injury or just for some odd reason never played enough. Worse yet was being played out of position.

So, for the next few hundred words I want to put together an 11 that should have had more. Sorry Warren Barton fans but he didn’t make it.

 

Nigel Martyn –

Being behind David Seaman had to fall to someone. Poor old Nigel was a colossal for Crystal Palace then Leeds United. 23 caps for someone that was the first million-pound keeper doesn’t seem right. His two major games came against Romania at Euro 2000 (thank Phil Neville) and The Beckham game vs Greece. Both times thrown in due to injuries to Big Dave.

After coming as a sub for David ‘Calamity’ James against Spain no wonder he retired a year later. Had better facial hair than Seaman in my opinion.

 

Jamie Carragher –

The real Mr Liverpool, take that Gerrard, was played in about 3 positions and only managed 38 caps in 11 years of 5 England managers. A man who was dropped in favour of Matthew Upson for game against Germany had many reasons to retire from the international scene.

Yes, he did have the misfortune of a Terry and Ferdinand partnership, but to be played at full back so many times was a waste of talent. The only thing I could think of is that Sven and Fabio could just not understand the lad.

 

Ledley King –

Like his knees, this one hurts me the most. Being a Spurs fan, I know how good he was. 21 caps over 8 years should have been 100 over 10-12 years. Henry even said he was the best he came up against.

Seeing him play in the 2010 World Cup wasn’t easy viewing. He should never had been picked in the first place. Like asking a 45-year-old asthma sufferer to run the 100 metres in under 10 seconds. Ironically it was a groin injury that ended his campaign.

 

Steve Bruce –

Odd to think he never even got one cap. I’m not even sure he even got called up. A great leader, good organiser and won a few things at Man United. I mean even Phil Neville got 59 caps!

Became the first English club Captain of the 21st Century to lift the double. Do that these days you are more or less captain before your first cap.

Reading on Bruce, I found out Jack Charlton wanted him to play for Ireland but due to playing for an England youth team he couldn’t. Would have made the Italia 90 game interesting.

 

Leighton Baines –

Timing in sport is everything. If Leighton had been born ten years earlier he would have more or less doubled his current 30 caps. We suffered for lengthy periods without a left footed player. Then all of a sudden Ashley Cole came along and was great. Meaning poor Mr Baines waited till 2010 for his England debut.

Still going strong at Everton but with Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand in front of him he now seems too old to make any sort of comeback.

 

Michael Carrick –

If he had been Spanish, German, Dutch or even Italian he would have a million caps. Calm in possession, organises well, he has been overlooked more times than a small child wanting to do the pole-vault. Man United always looked poorer without him.

A shocking 34 caps in 16 years makes you wonder if a Carrick and either Lampard or Gerrard combination should have talked about. Capello made some odd decisions in his tenure as Boss of the national side, but failing to give the former Spurs man any minutes now looks like a real head scratcher.

 

Steve Stone –

Before you stop reading and think I’m weird. Let me explain. Before Euro 96 he lit a few friendlies up and as that was all England could play he couldn’t do anymore. I was at the Portugal game where Alan Shearer scored a beauty and Stone hit a wonder.

Hard working and a fine striker of the ball he was never in the Beckham class but could still, in my mind have had more caps. 9 caps and two goals wasn’t a bad return,

Sadly a broken leg kept out of the 96-97 season. What could have been.

 

Paul Scholes –

No, I haven’t gone completely mad. Let me break the number down. Played only 66 times in 7 years. The times under both Keegan and Hoddle showed what a class player he was. Nick named sat-nav by Rio Ferdinand due to his ability to pick a pass from anywhere and hit his target, you feel he would have made any International side.

I blame Sven for his early retirement. Playing left of a midfield four just seemed crazy from the Swede. I still to this day think he was better than Lampard and Gerrard. Even in 2010 at the age of 36 he almost came back.

Him and Carrick behind Gerrard for South Africa, now there’s a thought.

 

Owen Hargreaves –

I put this one out to twitter. Polling if he was unlucky or just a wasted talent. As you can see the former won.

To be fair, once he went to United and helped them win the Champions League it all was set up for him to be an England 100 capper. He only played 27 games for Man United. 15 less games than for England.

But a cruel period of injuries meant he only played once for Man City and that was that.

 

Robbie Fowler –

Or God to Liverpool fans. Similar to Baines earlier he was just a great player in the wrong time. Shearer, Sheringham, Cole, Collymore, Owen all arrived during his career. Yet if he was playing nowadays Harry Kane would have some serious competition. Left footed and scored all sorts of goals. I’m surprised Keegan didn’t play him wide left during those barren south paw days.

Leaving Liverpool seemed to hurt him. And he was never the same player. But I thought he deserved more of a run in the international team. But weather the ‘sniffing the grass’ incident put him down the pecking order we will never know.

 

Jermain Defoe –

What do you want from a striker? Goals? Pace? Well this guy had/has it all. Yet only when he is in his twilight do I think we are only really appreciating his talents.

Did he upset Sven? Did McClaren think Owen was still a great player (wait till next week’s blog)? Capello played him up front for World Cup 2010 but Rooney was in decline even then and I felt Defoe was left scrapping. Again if he was Italian or Spanish I think he would have been a goal a game guy.

Well that’s my eleven. If you want to comment please do. Have I missed someone. Am I too harsh on Phil Neville? Should Carlton Palmer be mentioned?

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