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Ratcliffe wants Home Internationals

By: Na 22 Mar 2011 07:00:08

Ratcliffe wants Home Internationals

Former Wales skipper Kevin Ratcliffe has called for the resurrection of the Home International championships.

The tournament was scrapped in 1984 when it was decided only England and Scotland would continue facing each other on an annual basis. Even that was abandoned eventually, though, since when meetings have been restricted to the qualifying tournaments for major tournaments.

However, Vauxhall's new sponsorship of all four countries has seen the idea resurface, and Ratcliffe said: "Hopefully the Home Internationals come back one day. I doubt whether it could be at the end of the season but maybe they could do something through the season."

He added: "It was always nice to be involved in the matches, and England might be able to take matches away from Wembley to give other people a chance to watch them.

"If there is a problem, it will come from the club managers because they are the ones who keep telling the players they are playing too many games. The more they say it the more they believe it. You have all these fitness people and nutritionists but the players can only play so many games a year.

"For the money they are getting paid they should be playing 100 games a season, not just 40."

As a member of the last Wales team to beat England in 27 years ago, Ratcliffe knows just how intense the build-up will be to Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier between the two countries at the Millennium Stadium.

However, he also recognises the visitors are overwhelming favourites to gain a victory against a side still looking for their first point in Group G and playing their first competitive fixture under new coach Gary Speed.

"It has not gone too well for us in recent times," said Ratcliffe. "Look at the Republic, or Northern Ireland, or Scotland. They have not been qualifying either but at least they have given their nations a little bit of hope. Wales are nowhere near that.

"We have had great players down the years but if you lose a few to injury, what is coming behind?"


PA

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