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2010 FIFA World Cup: Carragher's Selection Leaves Bitter Taste in English Mouths

IRDNING, AUSTRIA - MAY 19: Jamie Carragher looks on during an England training session on May 19, 2010 in Irdning, Austria.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Luke TaylorCorrespondent IIJune 1, 2010

Three years ago, Jamie Carragher turned his back on his country and quit international football.

Today, he is celebrating his selection in England’s World Cup squad that will travel to South Africa in the hope of winning football’s most coveted trophy. However, his selection is one that has divided the nation.

Some argue he was right to walk away from the England fold in 2007, and that he deserves the call up. Others believe that he should not be allowed a second chance, and he definitely doesn’t based on his form this season.

Like it or not, Carragher is travelling to the World Cup. But you can’t help but notice a somewhat bitter taste that followed his selection.

Carragher retired from the national team unhappy that he was not selected at centre back by former manager Steve McClaren. It is worth mentioning, that he was behind Rio Ferdinand and John Terry in the pecking order – two of England’s finest centre halves in decades.

The Liverpool-born defender also responded to early questions about a return to international football in a less than favourable manner, but despite this, he announced his u-turn on 11 May, and was named in England’s provisional squad to take to the World Cup.

Now, he has been named one of the final 23 players to travel to South Africa.

This is despite failing to play in any of England’s World Cup Qualifiers.

This is disregarding the fact he will be used as cover for Glen Johnson, meaning he will play as a right back if selected—the same position he refused to play three years before.

This is, most disappointingly, in spite of the fact he turned his back on his country when they needed him three years ago.

To add insult to injury, Carragher has just finished perhaps the worse domestic campaign of his career. He struggled defensively throughout the year, and his Liverpool side missed out on the Champions League. Carragher looked troubled when defending against the likes of Cameron Jerome and Kevin Doyle.

How does Fabio Capello expect him to deal with the likes of David Villa or Luis Fabiano?

Carragher also hinted following his selection, that the reason for the u-turn was that he did not have Champions League football to look forward to with Liverpool next season, adding that the World Cup was an excellent way to soften the blow.

Arguing that playing for your nation at the World Cup is a good fall back for failing to reach the Champions League with your club is hardly the desire you want to see from a man representing his country at the World Cup.

Still, if we disregard all of the above, there is one glaring reason that Jamie Carragher should have been excluded from the England squad for the rest of his career.

Writing in his autobiography, Carragher stated that international defeats did not affect him as much as defeats when playing for Liverpool.

His lack of passion for his country speaks volumes.

Now he has a chance to win the World Cup. An opportunity he didn’t earn. And, one would assume, an opportunity he would happily forgo if he got the chance to win another trophy with Liverpool.

Jamie Carragher turned his back on England when they needed him. Now he returns when it suits him.

Perhaps Carragher should have said thanks, but no thanks, and stuck to his guns. Maybe fans would have respected that decision more than his return?

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