Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp has questioned the commitment of young English players to represent the national team, claiming that during his time with Tottenham Hotspur some players would try to dodge duty with the Three Lions.
Redknapp managed a number of English players during his four-year stay at White Hart Lane (full list below), but refused to name names when drawn on which players he was talking about.
"I still think we go to tournaments, whether it be under-17s, under-19s, under-21s, there are too many pull-outs, it seems to be everyone has got an excuse, and I can tell you when I was at Tottenham, when full internationals came around, there were two or three players who did not want to play for England," Redknapp told BBC 5Live.
"They would come to me 10 days before the game and say: 'Gaffer, get me out of that game, I don’t want to play in that game.' That was how it was. I’d say: 'You’re playing for your country, you should want to play.'
"[They would say]: 'Nah, my girlfriend is having a baby in four weeks, I don’t want to play' and that is the truth, so it makes you wonder. And I think it’s only going to get worse. You see the stick the England players get and they come home, they’re earning fantastic money at their clubs, they’re all playing in the Champions League. They think: 'Do we need the aggro?'"
Redknapp managed a number of English players during his tenure, the majority of whom played for England.
Of the players listed below, only Jermain Defoe has more than 50 caps, but Scott Parker, for example, enjoyed the best form of his career under Redknapp winning 12 of his 18 caps while playing for Tottenham.
Others, such as Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate, would have won more caps with their talent but suffered with injury throughout their careers.
Southampton great Matt Le Tissier, who won just eight England caps despite his talent, said the claim "sticks a knife through your heart".
Once the strong favourite for the England job, Redknapp also said that the Italy and Uruguay teams that eliminated them from the World Cup were "average" and that Group D was "not difficult".
"For Costa Rica to top the group by beating Italy and Uruguay, that tells you all you need to know about the group," he added. "For me it’s the worst Italy team for years. Uruguay have two world-class strikers but then not too many players you’d fancy in the Premier League, let alone playing for your country.
"We’ve got good players, players who are good week-in, week-out in the Premier League. You look at half the other teams in the tournament and there are loads of players who come to the Premier League and couldn’t get a game ... You know we’ve got better players than them but for some reason with good manager after good manager, we just don’t get results."
England fly back from Brazil after the final group game against Costa Rica on Tuesday.
Who could it have been? The English players Redknapp managed at Spurs
David Bentley (7 England caps)
Jermain Defoe (55 caps)
Tom Huddlestone (4 caps)
Aaron Lennon (21 caps)
Jermaine Jenas (21 caps)
Darren Bent (13 caps)
Jamie O’Hara (0 caps)
Michael Dawson (4 caps)
Ledley King (21 caps)
Jonathan Woodgate (8 caps)
Kyle Naughton (0 caps)
Kyle Walker (10 caps)
Peter Crouch (42 caps)
Danny Rose (0 caps)
Scott Parker (18 caps)
Jake Livermore (1 cap)
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies