Football Opinions

Club vs. Country saga

Posted by Daniel Stone on October 13, 2007

owen.jpg This week Club football is on hold for the European Championship 2008 qualifiers. Michael Owen, Newcastle United and England striker has reignited the whole club vs. country saga once again. This can be quite a tedious topic but I will be indulging into my opinion whether it is more important to play for your club rather then your country. 

Sam Allardyce the Newcastle manager had said that it would be the Club’s decision whether Michael Owen would be fit to play both international games this weekend and next week. Owen then responded to these claims by stating he would only listen to his surgeon as she knows whether he is ready or not, and she says he is ready 

Back in July this year Jaime Carragher retired from international football due to him being over looked for his preferred position (Centre back) by being asked to play left back, right back or even left on the bench. Paul Scholes also retired from international football at a young age, 29 as he stated he wanted to concentrate playing club football. The reason behind these players retiring from international football ‘early’ is because they believe their football career can be prolonged. Why else are these players choosing club over country? 

As George Graham put it to Ian Wright back in the 90’s, “Remember where your bread is buttered”. Money has become a major factor in football and especially in Club football. With all the publicity involved and the amount of football on TV nowadays clubs have gained more power over the years to a stage where they can influence if a player is called up or not. I also believe that with the influx of quality foreign players over the years, the Premiership has become more competitive which means that there is a lot of prestige at stake on winning the Premiership or the Champions League.  

On the other hand, in the past it was always a boys dream to represent his country and score a goal at the World Cup. Maybe this dream is still alive but with International players, International football seems to be second tier. I believe this is due to all the international friendlies nowadays. Instead of breeding newcomers to the international stage and preparing the teams for the ‘important’ qualifiers they seem to be a nuisance for the Club teams. One thing for sure is that the World Cup only comes once every four years so this makes it the most prestigious tournament and trophy in football. I know what I would put first.


12 Responses to “Club vs. Country saga”

  1. Most players would put country before club but in most cases it is not up to the player whether they represent their country, it is all down to their managers. They know that if they go against the wishes of their club coaches – frequently or infrequently – the amount of games they play for club will be cut. It is only hose players such as Owen who have any say in whether they play for their country or not as, to put it into business terms – they hold significant ‘brand power’.
    The friendlies should be set aside for the lesser ranked players in their countries pool to get a chance to blood themselves on an international stage.

  2. Timothy said

    I am not so sure I agree with what Online Betting King has said about some players not being played by their clubs if they decide to play for their country. Can you give any examples?

    I agree that friendlies should be there for lesser ranked players to have an opportunity to play for their country but this must be alongside top players otherwise it doesn’t make sense, it should be a mixture between experienced players and new players.

  3. There were rumours that Paul Scholes cut his International career short due to the wishes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Frederick Kanoute was dropped from the Tottenham side when he demanded to play for Mali in the African Cup of Nations.
    That is a good idea, perhaps having a balanced squad with say six inexperienced players and five experienced internationals alongside each other would bring the youngsters through gradually and would mean that you wouldn’t get to a stage where a national side goes through an extensive period of transition.
    Take a look at England, if it wasn’t for injuries, when else would Joleon Lescott and the like be called up to the set-up.

  4. barr said

    I was pretty impressed with Lescott in the Liverpool Everton derby match.

    The incident at the end took some of the headlines about him. I’m fairly confident he will be a regular England international in the future.

    As for England,I’m sure clubs do have a say in whether certain players play internationally. It’s in their interests for a player (and Scoles is a prime example) reaching, say, 30 to be played less. Some players can withstand loads of games and some can’t.

    Also playing in these month long tournaments can’t appeal to every player but that’s another issue.

  5. I think it should not be down to the managers if you want to play for your country or not! if there was a war draft and your country needed you it wouldnt be down to the managers!

  6. management shouldnt have control over players want to play for there country!

  7. It defintely is in the clubs interests to look after their players.
    For example in the World Cup just gone in Germany, when Michael Owen suffered his knee injury, the then Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd launched as lawsuit against the FA to try and reclaim the potential monies lost through gate receipts etc.
    Perhaps both the FA and clubs should work tgether to draw up a plan to rest those Internationals playing regulary and introduce an insurance scheme if injuries occur.

  8. Kate said

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Kate.

  9. Dani said

    Hi Kate

    This article was written in October so has nothing to do with the actual European Championships, if that is what you understood. Thanks for the comment though (about my blog being nice). I should write more often!

  10. Paul said

    If I was a pro I wouldnt have much interest in playing for the national side, all those nationalistic fanasties of scoring a goal for you country in the world cup are rubbish. The notion itself is old fashioned and silly. Mark my words in 20 years, no top tier players will play for their country, only young scrubs trying to break in.

  11. Anonymous said


  12. This is the first time hat I heard of a player who chose to retire early to play for lower level soccer. I don’t understand his reasons, maybe they should pay attention on how they manage their players so that this will never happen again.

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