THE inclusion of Sunderland striker Fraizer Campbell in Stuart Pearce’s England squad today is nothing short of ridiculous.
I’m sure the lad himself is over the moon to represent his country, and I’d love to see him do well. But for me the timing is way off.
We are, after all, talking about a player who has only just come back from a long-term injury lay-off.
Black Cats boss Martin O’Neill has been selective in how he has used the former Manchester United man since his return, and has left him out of a couple of games.
The Wearsiders are trying to make sure they don’t ask too much of him, too soon, but England and Pearce in their wisdom think it’s a good idea to call him up for the two-bit friendly with Holland.
They have also done the same with Tom Cleverley, who has only just made his return to the Manchester United squad. Just what is the point?
Had this been a must-win clash, and Campbell and Cleverley been key players, then it may be worth the risk. But it’s not.
This meaningless friendly with the Dutch will tell us absolutely nothing.
The ideal time for England to look at young, upcoming talent was after the last World Cup failure.
But again we stood by the old guard – the self-appointed ‘golden generation’ who have delivered so little in terms of success on the international stage.
Fabio Capello might be gone, but the same short-sighted approach remains.
Yes, we need to know if Campbell and Cleverley are good enough at international level, but will a friendly will little relevance show that?
Had Pearce been set to be handed the England manager’s role full-time, then I concede there may have been a point.
But, let’s be honest, whoever comes in and takes over the hotseat is going to want to see the players for himself.
Therefore, whatever they do or don’t do against the Dutch will have no impact on their international hopes at all.
Yet despite the game being meaningless, England are willing to risk the fitness of two young players coming back from serious injuries.
And if it is all about giving youth its chance, where on earth is Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?
The kid has been on fire since breaking into the Gunners first-team, and he doesn’t even get a sniff.
Same old England, same old story – clueless.