By Thomas Rooney
After watching the excellent entertainment from Moscow on Wednesday, there was one thought circulating in my head, especially after seeing the reactions of the Chelsea players. John Terry and Frank Lampard in particular.
I was thinking – how on earth would these players pick themselves up to fly to Austria next week and represent England in the Euro 2008 Championships? Would they now actually be relieved that England didn’t make it?
Of course, to the media, they would simply deny anything of the sort. However, Terry was a broken man last night. He will take a while to recover from that. Even the thought of having that same despair just a few weeks later would surely be too much for the Chelsea skipper. Especially when you throw in the fact that it would probably be against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal on penalties in the quarter-finals.
Lampard, for more personal reasons, will also probably be grateful for the summer break. Along with Ashley and Joe Cole, they can spend the time recovering from the disappointment and focus on winning things for Chelsea next season.
As for Manchester United’s England players, they can now enjoy their holiday knowing they are part of the best team in Europe. If you asked them whether they would swap this glory for England’s place in Euro 2008, then you are being naïve if you think they would choose sitting on a plane to Austria in a few days time.
I’m not sure whether this is wrong or right and the club v country row is for another day, but it is worth thinking about. International football is becoming less significant to the fans and this appears to have effected the players’ priorities as well.
For all the English players involved in the dramatic final, there would have been a rollercoaster of emotions, resulting in euphoria or despair. I’m just not convinced any of them would fancy jetting off to represent a team that wouldn’t exactly have been many people’s bet to win Euro 2008.
Just one final thought, have you noticed any of England’s top players injuring a metatarsal recently? I imagine that would have been different had we qualified!