Whilst Fabio Capello might not have been able to persuade Paul Scholes to come out of international retirement for this summer’s World Cup, the England boss did manage to talk one North West footballer back into the fold after three years in the international wilderness.
Jamie Carragher looks likely to make England’s 23 man squad for the World Cup, and will provide valuable experience in South Africa. According to bookmaker Paddy Power who offer a range of World Cup odds, England are just 6/1 third favourites to win the World Cup.
Carragher’s return to the England set-up was broadly anticipated by the press, but nonetheless surprising considering the Liverpool defender’s reluctance to resume his international career. In his 2008 autobiography, Carra, the 32 year old was less than enthusiastic about his England experiences.
"I was never in love with playing for England in the first place," commented Carragher. On his retirement from international football, "I wasn't giving up my football career or my ambitions. Only England." And, after missing a penalty in the 2006 World Cup defeat to Portugal, Carragher noted, "Representing your country is the ultimate honour, especially in the World Cup. Not to me."
Capello’s decision to enlist Carragher is a pragmatic one based on injury and fitness worries surrounding the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Joleon Lescott, Wes Brown and Phil Jagielka. Whilst Spurs captain Ledley King might be ahead of Carragher in the pecking order, there are also concerns as to whether King will be able to play in every game. Carragher will fight with the uncapped Michael Dawson for a place in the Three Lions squad.
When retiring from international football in 2007, Carragher cited his frustration at being picked out of position at right back or as a holding midfielder as the main reason. Considering that the Liverpool player is likely to be selected for his capability to fill in at right full back if necessary, it seems that the 32 year old has undergone a full change of heart.
Three years ago, Carragher commented that "The Liver Bird mauled the Three Lions in the fight for my loyalties." At the age of 32 with no prospect of Champions League football next season, the Three Lions have clearly bitten back. Carragher’s international tournament experience could be invaluable this summer.
- Written for LFChistory.net