Another international week and another club verses country debate. Even by most peoples standards today’s friendly against Germany at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium has to be one of the most pointless. The next World Cup qualifier is not until April 2009 so why should players be inconvenienced in November 2008? England manager Fabio Capello has all but admitted this
“Everyone has told me that it is not a friendly game against Germany, but I think this will be a friendly game. We will do some experiments and after this game I will know better some different players.”
So why all the unnecessary shenanigans concerning Steven Gerrard and his injury? Surely by now Capello knows all there is to know about Gerrard so, injury or not, he should be excluded from his “experiments” in preference to players he hasn’t tried? Some might say he could use the game to try and solve the Lampard / Gerrard incompatibility riddle but the Chelsea man is also out.
It’s against this background that Capello insisted Gerrard travel all the way down south, so that the England medical staff can confirm for themselves that he is actually injured. This seems churlish at best and at worst insulting to the word of the Liverpool medical team and Rafa Benitez.
Perhaps the history behind all this is Rafa’s decision to put Gerrard under the knife earlier this season. This caused him to miss England’s first set of qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia, surely this must have irked Capello? So are his recent actions a warning to Benitez regarding a perceived lack of cooperation over releasing players for internationals? May be but Capello was a club manager himself he must realise the predicament Benitez and the others find themselves in and appreciate where their priorities lie? Moreover he needs clubs co-operation over releasing players for future games so indulging in point proving or finger wagging at Rafa is a dangerous and futile action and one that is unlikely to be received meekly by our man or get Capello anywhere.
Meanwhile it seems that Rick Parry, in the never ending game of poker that involves Hicks, Gillett, Rafa and himself, has been dealt what looks like a decent hand. However, he has decided to “fold”, perhaps in the hope that future deals are in even more in his favour, perhaps even decisive?
The opportunity presented to Parry was to join the FA’s 2018 World Cup bid committee. The deciding factor behind the offer is Parry’s experience at Anfield together with his involvement in the setting up the Premiership before. Parry has turned the deal down preferring to stay with us.
Quite how this sits with Rafa’s complaints about Parry’s indecisiveness over transfer deals and Tom Hicks’ gripes, about his failure to develop the commercial side of Anfield, I don’t know. However, it is interesting that Parry is happy to sit tight rather than jump what, for all our good play this season, is still a troubled ship behind the scenes?
One should remember that Parry remained in touch with DIC, even after the American invasion, and enjoyed the support of George Gillett when Hicks demanded his resignation. With D day fast approaching, when the star spangled duo will be required to re-pay part of £350m refinancing package, perhaps Parry feels something will have to give soon and, rightly or wrongly, feels he’s well positioned to be confident about his future when it does?