THE size of the task facing Hull City today was laid bare a couple of days ago when Roy Hodgson named three Southampton players in his England squad to face Chile and Germany.
It was the first time since January, 1986, that the Saints had been able to boast such a contingent – Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana joining Ricky Lambert in the senior set-up.
That Hodgson, when speaking to the media later that day, went on to suggest the likes of Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse were close to being promoted from the Under-21s only served to underline the quality of opposition that Hull will be facing today.
The Tigers, though, travel in confident mood after proving their own Premier League worth during an encouraging opening ten games.
A 14-point haul means City sit 10th in the table and midfielder George Boyd puts such an impressive performance down to manager Steve Bruce.
He said: “You do find that in the Premier League they (managers) do forget about the people who got them up and bring loads of new players in,” he said.
“But the gaffer has done well to keep everyone happy and everyone has got their opportunity to play their part and prove they can play at this level so far.
“It was frustrating, personally, to not be playing at the start of the season, but the boys were doing really well. The gaffer would say, ‘Be patient, you’ll get your chance and when you do, take it’.
“That is his man management skills to a tee. We’ve got a really tight-knit group and to keep everyone feeling involved even when they’re not on the pitch has been brilliant.
“A few of us who have been patient have got our chance lately and taken it with both hands.”
Southampton’s England recognition this week was in contrast to Hull, who had been hoping the likes of Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore may have been rewarded for fine domestic form.
It was a similar story for Boyd, who was not included in the Scotland squad for this month’s international friendlies despite being involved when Croatia were beaten on the final night of World Cup qualifiying.
Disappointed to be axed, the City man was grateful to manager Gordon Strachan for making contact to explain his decision.
“It is obviously disappointing but Gordon rang me on Sunday to explain why I wasn’t in and he didn’t have to do that, so it was nice. “He said he wanted to have a look at other players and the two friendlies (against USA and Norway) are a good chance to do that.
“Hopefully, I can keep playing consistently for Hull and I can get another chance in another squad.”