Does it really matter who you play for?

The latest England squad announcement has thrown up few surprises, and you can guarantee there was a whole host of players left disappointed at the decision of Fabio Capello, as they were overlooked once more. It has been suggested in the past that there is somewhat of a ‘big club’ bias in regards to England selection, but does it really matter what club you play for?

Scott Parker suggested that his recent move to Tottenham was down to his need to be selected for the England Euro 2012 squad. He made huge strides with the international set-up last year, despite the fact that West Ham finished bottom of the table, but he believed that he needed to play Premier League football to be a genuine contender for selection. The gulf is not really that massive between the two divisions, but history does suggest that not many players from the Championship have earned an England call up. However, playing Premier League football is no guarantee that you will get a chance with the international side, even if you merit a place, as players from certain clubs seem to be continually overlooked.

Parker was selected in the latest squad, but others have faced rejection once more and will wonder what more they can do to impress Capello, and get a chance at international level. Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross has been exceptional for the last two seasons, yet he has never received an international cap. He has captained his side into Europe, dominated and led from the back during their superb start to the season, and has been playing consistently well for the last two years, but he has seemingly not impressed Capello. You have to wonder if he had moved to Liverpool-one of the clubs linked with him over the summer-whether Capello would have come calling.

Shawcross believes that his clubs success this season could push him into Capello’s Euro 2012 squad, but past history would suggest he is destined to miss out. Unfortunately players at certain clubs just don’t seem to get the recognition they deserve. It is also interesting to note that Peter Crouch has been overlooked in the latest squad and it will be interesting to see if he gets a look into the squad if he impresses at Stoke.

Capello seems to have prioritised youth with his selections, with players like Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck selected in the squad. Going with youth and giving the future players a chance is definitely a good move, but the players must at least merit their place. When players like Tom Cleverley and Chis Smalling were called up after barely any time on the pitch for Manchester United, you have to question if there is a ‘big club’ bias, especially when you have the excellent Roger Johnson, Scott Dann and Matt Jarvis who barely get a look in.

Players who are in form and playing well should be picked, regardless of who they are playing for. Sitting on the bench at a top four club should not give you a divine right, or pass into the England squad. Surely it is better for Capello to select somebody like Shawcross, who is playing week in week out and impressing, than someone who is constantly in and out of their side, or someone who is not in form.

It seems as though players at the bigger clubs have an automatic path into the England squad, while players at other clubs can have years of good form and often get overlooked, or take considerably longer to earn a call up. If they were to play for a bigger club, they would be considered on a much more frequent basis and it is a shame for certain players that they never get a chance with England, because of where they play their football.

Do you think there is a ‘big club’ bias with regard to England selection? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below, or following me on Twitter @LaurenRutter for more comment and debate.
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