FIVE players who mysteriously have been overlooked by their country

Commentators and pundits are always keen to tell us that the International game has lost its edge over domestic and European football. But, without a doubt if I could only watch one game a year it would be the World Cup final every time. International football is the arena where players test themselves to the highest degree. The pressures that come with representing your nation far outweigh the pressures of domestic and European football. Thos simple fact got me thinking: all the medals in the world seem to pail into insignificance if you haven’t been called up to your senior International squad. Here are five players that have never been called up by their nation, and I am sure you will agree, if these players never received a cap, the standard can’t be that bad.

Steve Bruce

Formed one of the strongest defensive partnerships Manchester United and arguably the Premier League have ever had but Steve Bruce was never seen to have the ability to cut it for England. It is one of the true injustices in football that a man who played 309 times for Manchester United and won three Premier League titles was never considered for the England side. Sure, England had some great defenders in the 80′s and 90′s but somehow it seems wrong that he never got a chance in the side. However, his domestic career was hardly bad so I am sure he cant take some solace from that.

Steed Malbranque

This midfielder who has played over 200 times in the Premier League has never been considered good enough to play for the French national team. Without a doubt the French team has had some of the greatest players in world football but to never be capped is very strange. It’s especially queer, considering that during his time at Tottenham the midfielder was good enough to play for most international sides as his technique and craft was as good as anyone in the Premier League.

Sylvain Distin

Sylvain Distin has always been considered a defender that is as solid as a rock. Distin is sure on the ball, good in the air and a threat in the opposition’s box but he has never been capped by the French national team. Very strange indeed considering he played 178 times for Manchester City and has been in sides that have won both the French Cup and the FA Cup. Surely there was a friendly match or a qualifying match somewhere along the line in which a French manager could have given Distin a chance to showcase his talents on the International scene.

Mikel Arteta

Most fans in the Premier League would want Mikel Arteta in their side. He is a player that would offer so much to any team – even Spain. He has a good eye for goal and his imagination, flair and intelligence have made him a star in the Premier League. Yet he has never been capped at full International level. Spain were not always the all conquering side that they are now, and four or five years ago Arteta should have won a few caps at least for Spain. Ivan Campo was capped four times and Arteta has not received one. There is something very wrong with that statistic.

Tony Coton

Without a doubt, Tony Coton has to be the most unfortunate goalkeeper in recent memory. He was simply born into the wrong era, he had to see the end of Peter Shilton’s days and witness the rise of David Seaman. He was a better goalkeeper than most of the ‘keepers England have had since David Seaman, he was just born in the wrong era. It is a shame for a goalkeeper that represented Manchester City 163 times and there can be no doubt that Tony Coton is one of the finest goalkeepers never to be capped at senior international level. Since retiring, Tony Coton become one of the top goakeeping coaches in the world but an injury and subsequent operations limited Coton’s involvement at Manchester United.

Feel free to add any others in the comments below…

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