The big news this Saturday concerns the re-involvement of Jamie Carragher in the England set-up after the Liverpool icon retired from international football over two years ago.
Many Three Lions, Tottenham, West Ham and Everton fans may feel bitterness towards the news the Carragher is now, 34 days ahead of the World Cup, prepared to offer himself for national duty should Fabio Capello pick him for South Africa. Should Carragher get a plane ticket, then undoubtedly the some of Michael Dawson, Phil Jagielka and Matthew Upson will be left to watch the competition from back in Blighty.
As a refresher to why there is likely to be anger towards Carragher’s U-turn, here are the quotes detailing why the Scouse defender may have alienated himself with the English public.
1. “Sitting on the England coach as it prepared to drive us away from the World Cup in Germany, I received a text message. ‘F*** it! It’s only England.’ I’d just missed a penalty in the quarter-final shoot-out against Portugal. Around me were the tear-stained faces of under-performing superstars. England’s so-called golden generation had failed. Again. An eerie depression escorted us on the short trip back to the hotel, but as I stared at my phone and considered the implications of the comforting note, I didn’t feel the same emptiness I sensed in others. There’s no such concept as ‘only England’ to most footballers, including many of my best friends.”
2. “Whenever I returned home from disappointing England experiences one unshakeable, overriding thought pushed itself to the forefront of my mind, no matter how much the rest of the nation mourned. ‘At least it wasn’t Liverpool,’ I’d repeat to myself, over and over.”
3. “I confess: defeats wearing an England shirt never hurt me in the same way as losing with my club. I wasn’t uncaring or indifferent, I simply didn’t put England’s fortunes at the top of my priority list. Losing felt like a disappointment rather than a calamity.”
4. “The Liver Bird mauled the Three Lions in the fight for my loyalties. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, it’s just how it is. You can’t make yourself feel more passionate if the feelings aren’t there. That doesn’t make me feel guilty. If people want to condemn me and say I’m unpatriotic, so be it.”
5. “If Iâ€™m not getting a game for England at 29 thereâ€™s no chance of me getting a game at 32 in the next World Cup. Every centre-back the manager has picked is younger than me. Liverpool have always been my first priority. And having just signed a new four-year contract I want all my focus to be on the club. Iâ€™ve always said I want to stay at Liverpool for life and not playing for England would help make that more realistic.” – from Carragher’s infamous 2007 interview with TalkSPORT’s Adrian Durham.