Is Carragher letting the side down?

July 11, 2007

Jamie Carragher speaks during a news conference in London in March. Pool photo.Has Jamie Carragher let his country down by deciding to end his England career just because he wasn’t being picked?

The Liverpool central defender is fed up with being passed over when either of the first-choice pairing of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry is unavailable. The 29-year-old lost out to Ledley King last month against Estonia and Jonathan Woodgate in a February friendly against Spain.

He has now decided not to make himself available for England, unless there is an “absolute emergency”.

The Merseysider vented his anger in a radio phone-in when it was suggested he was “a bottler” in the face of competition and he strongly denied acting like a “big-time Charlie”.

A poll at The Guardian found 89 percent saying he should be allowed to retire from international football while a thoughtful piece at Have You Ever Been to Liverpool? is broadly supportive, while wondering if he may come to regret the decision. 

Other players have called time on their England careers, notably Paul Scholes, who seems to have had a new lease of life since devoting himself solely to Manchester United since 2004.

But there is an important difference. Scholes left, in part, because he was being played out of position on the left flank, and his performances suffered as a result. Carragher simply isn’t getting into the team.

Yet Carra’s presence in the squad has given England managers past and present a tactical comfort zone, knowing that he can come in and play at left back, right back or centre half.

He clearly doesn’t feel appreciated and, naturally, no-one likes the feel of the cold shoulder. But does that mean he should deny coach Steve McClaren that comfort zone just as England face a real battle to qualify for Euro 2008?

Trevor Huggins, London

3 comments

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Obviously Carragher should have the right to opt out (everyone should) but I agree, he might have cause to regret it. It’s not exactly a big imposition, is it — a few trips a year, mucking about in training and sitting on the bench.

Posted by redderthanever | Report as abusive

I feel the onus is really up to Steve McClaren and how well he can motivate players to stay on in the national squad.

Posted by Five Times | Report as abusive

To answer the question in the headline: Yes, obviously. A player of his age making himself unavailable to his national team is pathetic. The headline shuld have been “Carragher takes his ball home”.

Posted by Jack Doyle | Report as abusive