Paul Spillane expresses his frustration over yet another international break.
It’s that time again, people. The Premier League is at its exciting best and it’s being put on hold for what is quite possibly the bane of all our lives, the international break.
The sense of patriotism and pride to do with one’s home nation has, in my opinion, become an unloved and ignored affair. But why is it that so many of us fans show such a dislike towards the international break?
One reason is simple. It disrupts the rhythm of the team.
There is no other way to say this, but we are flying in the league right now. Unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions, there is a real sense of optimism and belief around the club. We have played games that in the past, people might have expected us to falter over, yet we have dispatched teams in a convincing and fearless manner.
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From a Liverpool fan’s perspective, therefore, the international fixtures put an untimely stop to our scintillating league form. I understand Klopp’s frustration at not having everyone together for training as per usual. Key first team players are whisked away leaving obvious gaps in the manager’s training schedule. Despite it being ten days away, Klopp will already have on eye on how to approach the challenging trip to Southampton. The Saints look a very well balanced side so far under Claude Puel so it is sure to be a thrilling yet daunting test for the Reds.
It is easy to see why the international break is so despised by fans. All we can do is have faith that upon the return of league football, we continue right where we left off.
Without a doubt, the biggest bugbear of the international break is the injuries. There is nothing worse than seeing a player in form come back from international duties facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The fans will be agonisingly holding their breath during this period as many of Liverpool’s first-team squad will be away for the next week.
Henderson, Lallana, Clyne, and Sturridge are all away on England duty, whilst Wjnaldum heads to Holland and Coutinho and Firmino who will have to travel all the way back from Brazil. Ever since Hodgson’s management of Sturridge, which saw him return to Liverpool with yet another long-term injury back in 2014, I have been extra cautious of the thought of our players picking up a knock whilst away from club football.
Pray our lads return safe and sound.
Put simply, our fans take a dislike to the international break because we do not care about England anymore. What we learned from a hugely disappointing Euros was that many of our players are just not good enough. Hodgson resigning was a step in the right direction but I fail to see how Southgate will transform us into a force on the international stage once more. I fail to see what our style of play is (other than just being boring to watch) and what is being done to change it. England’s last two matches, against Malta and Slovenia, were incredibly dull to watch. Yes, we didn’t lose, but I found myself just wanting it all to be over so we could get back to league action as soon as possible.
England host Scotland in a ‘crucial’ world cup qualifier that, quite frankly I could not care less about, before facing up against Spain in a friendly.
In short, when it is the international break, we are forced to watch England struggle past European minnows and miss some of the most entertaining football being played in the best league in world football. I am not anti-England. I would love to see the nation rally behind the flag in support of the team. However, this is difficult when the team in question offers little to be inspired about.