Nile Ranger - Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place!
What do you do for the best? Your club or your country? It seems as though Nile Ranger is taking stick from all sides ... and all he wants to do is play! Phil Neville has claimed the new generation of English players are lacking the necessary desire to get to the top. Obviously pointing the finger at the likes of Ranger, who I'm sure was "advised" by Alan Pardew that there was a massive game at Ewood Park on Saturday and it would benefit all concerned if his "back trouble" returned for a couple of days. With Newcastle stretched for strikers, the pressure was on Ranger - does he join the England squad and risk injury - or does he concentrate on the Premier League fixture at Blackburn? I wonder - was the decision taken out of his hands? I'm sure Pardew will jump to his own defence saying: "The kid made up his own mind", because that is what he HAS to say. But I feel for Ranger - because this can hardly boost his England hopes - and I honestly believe the kid is only trying to do his best for all concerned. The Everton captain was reacting after 12 players pulled out of the England Under-21 international against Italy this week. "It really saddened me to look at the England Under-21 squad and see 12 pull-outs, when you have a situation where the full national manager is looking to blood and build a fresh young England team," Neville said in The People. "I find it disgraceful. I felt ashamed that players who have dropped down from the England team to the under-21s are pulling out of friendly games against Italy. "I don't see those matches as friendly games at all. It was Italy away from home for England - you should want to play in that game." Neville says there are exceptions, including rising England star Jack Wilshere, who made his first start for the senior team against Denmark this week. "You look at James Milner - who turned up every time he was picked for the under-21s - and I think Jamie Carragher played something like 40-odd times for the under-21s," he said. "It's something to do with hunger, desire, something wanting to get to the top. "The dying breed of players like Carragher, (Steven) Gerrard, me and my brother Gary - maybe we wanted it more than some of the younger generation do. "But there are younger players who do want it. I look at the way Jack Wilshere plays and I see the hunger in his eyes - you can just see it."
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