England – heroes (Chelsea) and losers (Liverpool)

The fact that Terry came back so quickly after a knee injury (a big risk considering how important he is to Chelsea) and is willing to lead England out for a meaningless friendly is worth respecting. It’s an even bigger deal that Frank Lampard is willing to go one step further and take painkilling injections for his broken toe so he can play for England.

Chelsea, and Chelsea fans, should be proud to have these players pulling on the blue shirt. And while I’m not big fans of the two (dammit, it’s the United bias), I respect them for showing so much dedication for England as well.

While we’re at it, spare a thought for David Beckham, who played 90 minutes on Saturday with a strained ankle, flew over to play for England and will fly back tomorrow for a game for LA Galaxy, back in the US.

In terms of dedication and commitment, these players are true troopers. No wonder then that Chelsea are nearly unstoppable, or that Beckham is so well respected by teammates and his managers.

But what about the losers? Take Liverpool’s case, or more specifically, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.

Before I say anything else, let me assure you that I think both of them are one of the best in their respective positions in the Premiership, both players live and breathe Liverpool and it is doubtful that they can ever be replaced at Liverpool either.

However, Jamie Carragher’s ‘retirement’ from the England cause, because he wasn’t getting enough playing time, is a bit pathetic and smacks of arrogance. Sure, sue me because I don’t represent my country at the international level in football, so maybe I don’t understand who hard it must be to not be first-choice.

But give me a fuckin’ break – you quit international football because the new boss isn’t giving you enough playing time? You choose to give up playing for your country because you couldn’t be arsed to try hard enough to rise above your competition?

Liverpool will be better off – Carragher will be better rested, won’t kill himself over the summer and as a result Liverpool will benefit from a fresher central defender and vice-captain. But seen in context of what a player does for his country, it’s selfish and arrogant.

And then there’s Captain Fantastic, Mr Steven Gerrard, the man who captains Liverpool and someone who got my vote for England captain. What’s he doing? He’s taking a breather even though he was fit enough to play 90 minutes for Liverpool (the same game Lampard and Terry played 90 minutes as well) and will ‘rest’ because of his injury.

If you take this in context with what Terry and especially Lampard are doing, and even in context of how hard David Beckham’s pushing himself, it’s pathetic. And it makes me wonder – who do you want as captain: a player who gives 200% every single time (Beckham) and thinks it’s an honour to represent your country when he would be better off resting (Terry) or a player who turns down a 45 minute stint with his England teammates (which would, if anything, give them match practice together and improve their chances, however slightly, of qualifying) because he’s being ‘careful’ with an injury?

In fairness, Gerrard is looking after himself and Carragher feels wronged (he thinks he’s better than Rio and Terry, which quite frankly isn’t his decision to make), so maybe we shouldn’t blame them.

But to see the way Beckham came back into the team with dignity after being dropped, to see Terry take a risk by returning into the England fold, to see Owen time and time again rush back from injury to play for England and to see Lampard play through injury for England…

Liverpool’s super-duo just doesn’t measure up in the ‘heart’ stakes, do they?

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