The majority of World Cup players truly embrace the patriotic joy of representing their country, but the motivations of the Premier League millionaires who represent England are often questioned when they pull on the national team jersey.
The consensus seems to be that several players will give their all for their club, but find international games an unwelcome distraction from the aims of their paymasters.
Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp waded into the debate this week by claiming several English players asked him to help them avoid national team duty while he was in charge at Tottenham. Thus far, 'Arry has refused to name the unpatriotic souls in question.
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On the back of Redknapp's claims, former England striker and current shouty pundit Ian Wright has offered his thoughts on the issue in his column in The Sun. His solution to those who shirk their duty is to make them talk to bereaved parents of fallen military personnel (quotes via The Independent):
"The next young player who says he does not want to play for England should be ordered to ring the parents of a soldier who has died serving his country in Afghanistan and tell them his reasons."
Comparing the sacrifice of a soldier at war to an overpaid athlete who doesn't want to play a game of football seems a little inappropriate and overly jingoistic. Regardless, Wrighty continues:
"I’m sure some people will read this and think ‘Get off your high horse, Wrighty’.
"And they’ll probably say I’m out of order for mentioning Afghanistan in this context. But think of the sacrifice Our Boys made and then consider whether a bit of stick from the fans and media is such a terrible thing to face."
This difficult phone call might make some players reassess their stance, but the parents of fallen soldiers probably would not enjoy being used as pawns to help privileged athletes feel guilty about their national team apathy.
This succinct Tweet offers the next logical step in this debate:
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