Luke Young turned down the chance to join the England squad today, and took the opportunity to announce his retirement from international football.
The move makes the Aston Villa defender the first player to openly defy Fabio Capello during the Italian's reign as England boss, although a realignment of priorities is perfectly understandable given the tough time the player has had to endure recently.
Young retired at the age of 30 from an international career that garnered seven sporadically-earned caps, but he has not quit his country in circumstances quite as inauspicious as some others. Here are a few hastily-gathered examples, though ED is sure it can be enlightened on several more:
Despite his phenomenal scoring record at Newcastle and Manchester United, there were many who doubted Cole's ability to step up to international level. The fact that he opened his England account at the 13th attempt, against Albania, only backed up their case. Decided to take himself out of the reckoning when Sven-Goran Eriksson chose not to take him to the 2002 World Cup, prompting a run T-shirts with 'I've retired from international football' to be sported by beer-bellied geezers up and down the country.
Carra was another player who never got a full crack at the England whip, but perhaps he wasn't that bothered, such is his dedication to Liverpool. The defender has spoken on many occasions of how fear of losing his place in the Anfield team is the motivation that keeps him going. When he finally got his truest taste of life in a Three Lions shirt it was sour: he blasted in a penalty during the World Cup quarter-final shootout against Portugal in 2006, but did so before the whistle had blown. Carragher's second effort was saved - and he had seen enough.
'What? The greatest player of the century?', you may say, but Zidane's return to the France national team didn't quite go as planned. After returning to save Les Bleus' stuttering qualifying campaign and drag them into the 2006 World Cup, Zizou was a revelation; France made it to the final in Berlin but the genius undid all his good work by getting himself sent off for head-butting Marco Materazzi in the chest. The French loved him for the incident despite it costing them the final. Fabio Cannavaro later said when asked if he saw Zidane's rutting stag impression at the time: "No, I didn't. But I heard it." Basically, ED brought up Zidane because it loves that quote.
Another World Cup winner who didn't bow out as gracefully as he should have, Totti made up for the shame of spitting at Denmark's Christian Poulsen during Euro 2004 by helping the Azzurri to glory in 2006. He had previously announced his intention to retire after the tournament, but then flip-flopped on that decision several times over the course of the following year.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "He wouldn't try and con the ref. He's a lad with very good education, correct and polite. He doesn't look for these things. He's never had a problem of this type before in his career. Maybe he fell down because he was worried about being injured. At times players make very hard challenges in England. They allow a lot of things to defenders in the Premier League. At times it's really on the limit. Sometimes there are challenges that can assassinate you. A defender could get five matches for throwing his shirt and the player who broke the leg of Eduardo only had a three-game suspension. Did the defender put the safety of the player in danger? You have to look at things in a more reasonable proportion." - David Ngog's agent, Bruno Satin, sticks up for his client, although bringing up Eduardo may not have been the best idea under the circumstances.
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COMING UP: More Copa del Rey action this evening, though sadly none of the four matches promise another dose of schadenfreude to match Real's exploits. LIVE scoring of tonight's four games kicks off with Espanyol v Getafe at 19:00.