Paul Parker

English club culture leaves Hodgson with no chance

Paul Parker

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Roy Hodgson has made nine England changes for the match against Germany tonight and these international friendly weeks must be a nightmare for him because he has to try and keep all the players' clubs happy.

In places like Germany and Spain the leagues are built around the national team. The teams play similar formations and styles to the national team but in the Premier League it is dog eat dog with no concern about England.

The most worrying aspect of the Chile match last Friday night was just how much further Chilean football has come to English football.

Chile have come on leaps and bounds in recent years and completely out-passed an England team that never seems to evolve.

Joachim Loew has made changes for Germany tonight too but the difference is he won't be under pressure from the Bundesliga clubs to only play this player for 45 minutes or give that player a rest.

This won't be a treated as a friendly in Germany, the club coaches won't even have a say in how their players are used. The culture there is those players are representing their country so let them get on with it and that is the difference.

Germany have a first team/second team situation going at the moment where they have outstanding players like Julian Draxler in reserve who are smelling success and want a chance to prove themselves in these matches when they get a first team opportunity.

If they get injured playing for their country and they can't play for their clubs I'm sure the German clubs don't start bleating about compensation and moaning about how their players were overused.

Roy Hodgson on the other hand is just given all sorts of headaches from the clubs. His only concern should be what is best for the country but instead he has to worry about not upsetting managers.

This can all be tracked back to the influx of money into the Premier League and as that league has got stronger and stronger the position of the England manager has got weaker.

When I was playing for England, Sir Bobby Robson did not have to deal with these issues because players wanted to play, the Champions League wasn't around, and if you were seen in any way to be neglecting your England duty you would be pulled down in the press and you would be pulled down on the street.

Nowadays, clubs, managers and even fans are more bothered about how their club is doing in the Champions League than the national team.

Having said that, you would expect England to at least raise their game tonight because they are facing an old rival in Germany and it is more than a run-of-the-mill friendly.

There are no points at stake but I do believe it is a game and a rivalry that the English traditionally take more seriously than the Germans.

We always keep bringing up the semi-finals we have lost to them and we live off the two facts of beating them 5-1 in 2001, even though they went on to have a much better World Cup, and of course 1966, which really should be put to bed now.

It is now a completely different era but the only thing that doesn't seem to have moved forward is English football.

Germany will boss the possession tonight as that's what they do in every game they play. It is all about ball retention and movement and England just can't play that way. The Wembley crowd will be up for it and the English players could respond but problems remain.

You can look at the England team-sheet and see all these players playing for top clubs but you have to remember that, when those players go back to their clubs, they join up with teams that are dominated by more technically-gifted foreign players - yet another reason why we can't consistently do it collectively as a country.

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