England’s poor 2010 concluded as they slid to a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to France, but the night may be remembered for the “Club v Country” debate returning once again. Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry and captain Rio Ferdinand all picked up injuries for the Three Lions, summing up a generally miserable year for the Italian.
But it is the injury to Gerrard which has sparked fury. Liverpool fitness coach Darren Burgess was far from happy with the England manager after he didn’t substitute Gerrard around the hour mark as planned.
On his Twitter account, Burgess said: “Unbelievable from all associated with England and English FA with regard to SGs [Gerrard's] injury. Completely ignored agreement and past history, Completely amateurish and now we pay for their incompetence. Absolutely disgraceful.”
While the comments were later removed from the Australians account, Capello did admit that he hadn’t stuck to an agreement with Liverpool. He said: “I told Liverpool he would play for an hour if possible. They asked that he can play one hour if it’s possible. They can’t decide how long a player plays with the national team. If it’s possible, he’d have played an hour.
“I understand why they’re upset and I’m also upset. The problem is that, when you play this game on Wednesday after a lot of Premier League, Europa League or Champions League games, it’s possible there might be an injury for a player. The Premier League, every time, is a tough league for the players.”
While Liverpool will quite rightly be disappointed with the injury to their talisman, as Capello suggests, there is very little that can be done to avoid it, especially if England insist on playing meaningless friendly games.
Capello took the opportunity to give the likes of Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Kieran Gibbs a chance, he still won’t have learnt a great deal from the game. You have to feel that a training camp would have surely been gave him an adequate chance to view some potential additions to his squad.
This isn’t going to happen though, especially with the constant need to make the most out of Wembley and pack in as many friendly games as possible to boost revenue. So the unfortunate fact is the long running debate will run on.