Wednesday, 8 September 2010
The wounds may not have completely healed from England bruising World Cup but two wins out of two in EURO 2012 qualifying has at least given the fans something to cheer about, even if it was against relatively weak opposition.
But two players, previously cornerstones of the England side, were absent from this round of games and you wonder whether they should ever return.
Frank Lampard had a groin operation last week and so missed out on England duty but the Three Lions coped admirably with Steven Gerard marauding forward in the space usually occupied by the Chelsea man while Gareth Barry swept up behind. The Lampard/Gerrard conundrum has haunted the side for nearly seven years now so maybe we will finally see a manager accept that they cannot work together.
At the back Phil Jagielka had two superb games and combined well with former defensive partner at Everton Joleon Lescott in Switzerland. With Gary Cahill pushing for inclusion and Rio Ferdinand to return is Terry also better off out of the England picture?
It isn’t just on the field where Terry and Lampard weren’t missed. Terry is reviled by many supporters after his alleged extra-marital affairs with the wife of former team-mate Wayne Bridge. Lampard too is another not universally popular with the fans, mainly due to the club he plays for.
Given the grief Terry had to put with when the Bridge story broke, plus the harsh criticism the pair received during last summer’s World Cup they both may ask the question – is it worth it anymore?
Chelsea would certainly see the benefit of having Lampard and Terry withdraw from England duty. Playing for your country involves not only the extra games but the extra travel time too which can pile a considerable load onto an already hefty football calendar. Many players extend their careers by several seasons after retiring from international football due to the extra rest time – I’m sure many Chelsea fans would rather they gave the England distraction a miss and concentrated on performing for the Blues.
The way I see it there are no losers, Chelsea benefit, the 'Chelsea-hater' England fans will be appeased, younger English players will be given their opportunity while Terry and Lampard will save themselves a whole load of grief.