“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” is a phrase which sprang to my mind when I heard the news that Rio Ferdinand had pulled out of the England squad despite his recall in an attempt to prolong his Man Utd career, yes I am that weird, the phrase in question roughly translates to “It is sweet and right to die for your country” and it got me thinking about the nationalist mentality and pride that some people have and whether that translates into footballing terms, we often hear that players' priorities should be their countries ahead of their clubs, many argue that players should feel the same amount of pride that fans of international sides do but does that mentality have a place in modern day football and in an age where players are paid thousands and thousands of pounds a week by their clubs should they really put their countries ahead of their source of income?
In the past, playing for their country was player's main priority as it meant playing in front of thousands of people and against some of the best players in the world in an environment which is completely different to that of a domestic football environment, playing for their country represented a severe degree of pride for the player and in a sense they had made it as only the best got to play for the international side, but with the heavy investments that have been made in domestic football, players seem to find themselves prioritising their clubs ahead of their countries and the sense of pride in playing for their country is getting slimmer and slimmer.
Another factor which intervenes in the selection process of modern day footballers is the managerial factor, a lot of modern day players simply refuse to play under a certain international manager for their team selection thought process, perhaps they think that they should be included in the squad no matter how bad their form is simply because they are a big name in world football or maybe they think that reputation is more important than performing well week in week out for their clubs thus gaining the trust and backing of their international manager.
Others simply place their club careers ahead of their international careers and this is the case of Rio Ferdinand, despite being exiled from the England squad for two years Rio Ferdinand turned down Roy Hodgson's call up to the England squad stating a “Pre-planned training and medical programme he must follow” as the reasons behind his decision not to play for his country on this occasion, in the past any player would have jumped at the chance at playing for their country no matter what their “Pre-planned training and medical programme” was because in the past playing for one's country was the height of any footballing career but nowadays the importance of domestic football has taken over and despite being a lifelong Man City fan I can understand Rio Ferdinand's decision to want to extend his domestic career by sticking to his special training schedule because after all, one individual isn't to blame for the change in mentality which as appeared in modern day football.
As sad as it may sound maybe fans up and down the country should accept that players are going to start putting their domestic careers ahead of their international careers, the days of Paul Gascoigne heroics and tears may well be over, unfortunately.