Simon Jordan: International breaks irritate everyone in football… not even the players can get exc

Simon Jordan: International breaks irritate everyone in football… not even the players can get exc
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AFTER four scintillating weeks of domestic action, here we are at the first international break of the season  Of course, a ‘break’ is the one thing the players are not getting, as they will often be travelling extensively — even if it is in first class  For once the FA have deployed some joined-up thinking and this season there will be a break in February  This will be a real break and not one where governing bodies hunker together to find a way to shoehorn in a tournament in pursuit of yet more money  I wonder what fans really think of international football.  The nation unites during all the big tournaments, when even the most diehard Arsenal fans will root for Harry Kane  But football at that level in general has lost its lustre. Maybe it’s because our domestic football is far more bloody engaging than some of the international stuff we endure  England lost experienced players like Alan Shearer at 29 because he wanted to maintain longevity in his club career  Young players like David Bentley, a once prodigious talent who didn’t want to turn out for the Under-21s, were also lost  Then we have issues with Leicester midfielder James Maddison being accused of getting ahead of himself  Does international football really mean that much to players? I think when England fans look ahead to home games against Bulgaria and Kosovo, they think of empty corporate seats, overpriced journeys and the cost of tickets to watch pedestrian, uninspiring matches  As an owner, you wanted your young players to flourish and be recognised by their peers  And playing at international level could also increase their value.  But often an international break came at precisely the wrong time and resulted in a series of potential headaches — anywhere from getting an injury to your star man to increased expectations on young players  Aki Riihilahti, who was a key component of Crystal Palace’s midfield, had been injured and we paid for his rehab, of course, plus his wages for several months while he was out recovering  When he eventually got back fit, he was called up by Finland for a meaningless friendly against Italy  Despite being his employer, I was unable to stop him going, but was assured he would only play if needed  This actually translated into him starting the match, getting injured after eight minutes, and being sent back to us to spend the rest of the season out — at my cost  Andrew Johnson, my talismanic centre-forward recruited to play for England after much public demand, was being picked by the ever-insightful Sven-Goran Eriksson  But rather than being positioned where he played for his club, he was stuck out on the right wing and then returned with a hole missing in his self-belief  Our starlet Wayne Routledge went away with England Under-17s and when he came back his agent then told me I couldn’t talk to my young star — even though he had been with us since the age of ten  Other players, who shall remain nameless, spent time in international dressing rooms with stars from Manchester United and Liverpool  They would then decide that Palace was no longer the club for them, or complain that they were economically disadvantaged  Come to think of it, these breaks get right on my nerves. So sod the well-being of international football  Is that a bit selfish? Maybe I’m morphing into a Premier League club owner again   SIMON JORDAN’S Final Word is on talkSPORT every Sunday from 5-8pm.

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