Thomas Rooney takes another look at the conflicting loyalties issue that bus many a player.
The age old club versus country row has taken a back seat of late. No managers have complained of the bum deal the club receive as their prize assets swan off around the world for a meaningless friendly. Instead the argument has been replaced by a new beast; governing body v countries.
This summer promises to be a bumper year for live sports betting pundits, with the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine taking place just before the Olympics in London gets underway, with football taking a more prominent role than most years thanks to the inclusion of a Team GB squad.
Although not exactly united – the governing bodies of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are still protesting at the team’s existence – Team GB has been rubberstamped and is ready to roll, although it has already started to ruffle a few feathers among club managers as well as officials from football associations from all four corners of the British Isles.
Team GB boss Stuart Pearce has reportedly contacted over 200 players about represented Britain at the Olympics, while David Beckham, who has already thrown his hat into the ring for the skipper’s job, is rumoured to have had a clause written into his new L.A Galaxy contract that allows his to leave mid M.L.S season to take part in the London games.
There was something telling about Gareth Bale’s quoted when asked about Team GB and his potential participation.
When asked about playing for Britain at the Olympics, he simply responded: “As long as all parties are happy I don’t see any reason why not”.
The pressure being placed on players by the respective football associations of the countries outside of England is clear to see. Bale has been pictured in a Team GB shirt already but makes it clear there is a caveat to his participation – that the Welsh F.A are happy with it.
Scotland have taken perhaps the most aggressive stance, alluring to the fact that any of their players who accept the call could be omitted from future Scotland squads.
In a strange reversal, clubs that had previously maintained a frosty relationship with the respective F.A’s about releasing their players for international duty have been more than happy to offer their players forward for the Olympics.
West Ham and Aston Villa are just two clubs that have so far revealed they have had players contacted about representing Team GB for the summer tournament, with Hammers boss Sam Allardyce saying he would be more than happy to release his players for the tournament, while Villa boss Alex McLeish says he has no problems with it.
Pearce says he has been ‘saddened’ by the farce so far that the governing bodies have contributed towards. The idea of unification between the home nation sides is something instantly appealing to fans – just glance at their rugby playing counterparts (the British and Irish Lions) for the type of spectacle a team from the British Isles can produce. It is unfortunate then, that player could potentially be reprimanded for taking part in what should be a spectacle. Unfortunately the row shows no sign of ending soon