International Friendlies. Why?!

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The Premier League is starting to get interesting, with the battle for the title taking new twists and turns every week as each game gets ticked off. The relegation dogfight is starting to take shape, with some unexpectedly big clubs sat in the bottom three. And the Champions League is about to begin the knock-out stages, with some thrilling crunch ties between Real and United, Arsenal and Bayern, and countless other Goliaths of the game facing off. Clubs need their players fit and rested more than ever, so why the heck are we having a round of international friendlies?!

Why on earth are we bothering to set up a match with Brazil at Wembley? The FA should appreciate more than anyone the dangers of playing with over-tired players, with the England squads of the previous few international tournaments failing to give anything like their best performances, and tiredness being used as the most prominent excuse.

Players physically can’t play that many games in a season, so having a mid-week match, forcing the clubs’ top players to do the strenuous trip down to the England camp, play extra matches, and then rush back to play in this Saturday’s matches is ridiculous. How much more sense would it make if they just stayed at their clubs, had some light training, and geared up for the match? Surely it would also help our clubs in their European tests, which in turn promotes English football in the best possible light?

When you add in the fact that the only selling point(!) of the game being that its Ashley Cole’s 100th match, you can see fairly transparently that the match is principally about money, and fleecing more fans out of their hard earned cash so that the FA can continue to pay for their expensive Executive team, and the national stadium we didn’t need.

The one thing I don’t understand is why any fans would want to pay £50 to go and watch an England friendly? Historically they have been momumentally dull, so much so that I rarely even bother to watch them when it’s on terrestrial TV, let alone contemplate paying to watch it!? We also have a habit of subbing so many players that the game becomes stunted and basically turns into a training match played out at a pedestrian pace. So why do people still want to go?!

You have to congratulate the FA’s marketing department on their efforts – if they manage to convince anyone to turn up and pay then they are doing well. They’ve dragged out Theo Walcott to claim that this is a ‘young, hungry, best-ever’ team (when in reality its the same tired first XI), in the hope that more fans will be inspired, as well as trying to make this match all about Ashley Cole (even though no-one really likes him!?) in the hope that fans will come along and treat it almost as a testimonial, though with all the money going to the FA rather than a charity or Cole’s back pocket.

I for one will not be watching, though I will be looking forward to Spurs vs Newcastle and United vs Villa with baited breath.

Agree? Disagree? Tweet me – @ftbllr