Manchester United saw 12 first team players get called-up for international duty this week, demonstrating both the quality and diversity of their current squad.
However despite this strong turnout, there were a few stars who were not selected for their respective countries, for a variety of reasons.
Obviously, names like Nemanja Vidic and Ashley Young were unavailable for contention due to injury, and veterans such as Ryan Giggs will not feature on account of their self-imposed international retirements.
Others though were simply overlooked as their recent form was deemed undeserving of a place in the national fold.
This article identifies five of the most notable absentees, analysing each individual case and the reasons for their international snubs.
Though De Gea will play for the Spanish Under-21 side over the next few days, this still represents a failure to finally break into the full national squad.
Perhaps this is testament to the great care and effort that Spain are investing into their youth sides, or maybe it is a sign that Spain’s torrid Olympic campaign, in which De Gea was ever-present, will not be forgotten too hastily.
Of course, the competition for the Spanish number one shirt is arguably the fiercest in all of football, with Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina all battling for a place between the sticks.
Reina’s poor start to the season with club side Liverpool could possibly have created an opening for United’s number one to exploit, but unfortunately for De Gea that does not seem to be the case.
While captaining the Under-21s will compensate being once again overlooked at senior level, the former Atletico Madrid stopper may be slightly disappointed as his wait for that elusive maiden cap continues.
Though not a fully established international yet, Rafael featured prominently in Brazil’s silver-medal winning Olympic squad as well as in two friendlies earlier this summer.
Furthermore, with Brazil hosting the upcoming World Cup tournament, all of their upcoming fixtures are non-competitive friendlies. Thus they provide the perfect opportunity for younger stars like Rafael to be tried and tested on the senior international stage.
Instead though, Brazil manager Mario Menezes has opted to select Barcelona’s Dani Alves as the only recognised right-back in the squad, though club teammate Adriano is capable of providing cover.
There will of course be additional chances for Rafael to stake a claim for a place in his country’s 2014 World Cup squad, but time is fast running out for the United full-back.
Perhaps he will have to settle for a role in the team after the upcoming international tournament.
New signing Buttner is yet to play for the Dutch international side, but he has managed to make three appearances at youth level.
Now 23 years of age, the left-back will be hoping to establish a place in the senior squad after an impressive season with Vitesse Arnhem in his homeland last term, as well as the goalscoring start he made to his Manchester United career against Wigan Athletic last month.
Another factor to consider is the Netherland’s disastrous Euro 2012 campaign, in which they lost three successive competitive games for the first time in their esteemed 107-year history.
The poor showing has prompted a dramatic reshuffle in the Dutch squad, as new manager Louis Van Gaal has made four changes to the defence that the Netherlands took to Euro 2012.
However, ultimately a lack of regular playing time cost Buttner a place in that new-look defence. More chances will come though during this gradual rebuilding process that the Dutch are enduring.
Okay, this one may be a bit of a long shot.
But nonetheless since Scholes’ return to club football last term, he also demonstrated openness to being considered for international selection under new England boss Roy Hodgson.
Though he may have been referring to selection for England’s Euro 2012 squad, a more regular return was not completely out of the question, given Cleverley’s misfiring performance last time out for the Three Lions, and Jack Wilshere’s lengthy injury lay-off.
But with the likes of Michael Carrick once again making himself available for selection, it appears Hodgson has favoured a more long-term approach of including players with more years left in them.
While he may still be one of England’s most adept midfielders, in the interest of the future development of his country’s side, perhaps his exclusion was a more appropriate choice.
The Ferdinand saga continues.
Even after John Terry’s recent retirement, there is still no place for England’s most expensive defender of all time.
Many are attributing this international snub as a result of John Terry's alleged racial abuse against Rio’s brother Anton. However, Roy Hodgson remains adamant that his omission is based on “footballing reasons” as well as a view to the future.
And perhaps this is a wise move from Fabio Capello’s replacement.
With Ferdinand turning 34 next month, age is certainly no longer on his side. Furthermore, the likes of Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott and Ryan Shawcross are all younger alternatives, and could quite easily serve their country throughout the next two major international tournaments.
Ferdinand on the other hand, probably could not.
An experienced and talented footballer he remains, but it would appear that age is ultimately the decisive factor in Hodgson’s decision to halt Ferdinand’s international ambitions.
There are a number of reasons for the aforementioned snubs, with the main factor seemingly being age.
While De Gea, Rafeal and Buttner are currently deemed too young and inexperienced, the likes of Scholes and Ferdinand are very much at the opposite end of the spectrum, though Ferdinand will perhaps be the more disgruntled of the latter two.
Either way, such international omissions may well be of benefit for Manchester United, keeping their squad fresher in their ongoing search for a record 20th English championship.
Thus, though these five stars may be disappointed at present, it may well be a different story come the end of the season.