While there’s plenty to be positive about our national side now, I must admit I was disappointed to see Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill announce their retirement from international duty.
I’m a firm believer that players should look to play for their country as long as they possibly can. The best privilege I had in my career was representing England.
I also don’t like when players say they can make themselves available if there are injuries or suspensions.
In my view, if I was England manager, then I wouldn’t pick those players ever again – even if the squad was down to the bare bones.
I can understand that times are different, and players need to take care of their bodies with gruelling fixtures throughout the season.
Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill probably think that there’s little point in leaving their families for a few days to be part of the England camp to only play 20 minutes here or there, or not at all. It’s understandable, and some might agree with them, but it’s not the approach I would be taking.
I’m part of the older generation, and myself, my team mates and opposite numbers would give their last breath to continue playing for England. Players would pull on the England jersey until they were told “we don’t need you anymore.”
But it gives a few other younger lads a chance to grab their opportunity with both hands. It’s an exciting young squad Gareth has built and hopefully the majority will be together for the next few years.
Look at Dele Alli – he’s only 22, but he’s already so important to Gareth Southgate’s plans and he can help other youngsters come through too.
We also have a young captain in Harry Kane – at the same age I was only just getting my first international cap. He’s already had three or four great years with England.
Harry has taken it all in his stride, and to captain your team at a World Cup while also grabbing the golden boot is a remarkable achievement.
The captaincy for some people can be a burden, but it looks like he thrives on having that extra responsibility, and I’m looking forward to seeing him lead the line again for England in the next two matches.
Let’s hope for a couple of good performances in the coming days, starting with the Nations League match against Spain at Wembley tomorrow night.