Richard Hercock: Scrap international breaks as fans switch off in their droves

TURN OFF: England's Daniel Sturridge and Norway's Vegard Forren (left) battle for the ball during the recent Wembley friendly.

TURN OFF: England's Daniel Sturridge and Norway's Vegard Forren (left) battle for the ball during the recent Wembley friendly.

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I reckon we should just forget about international breaks.

This two-week absence of football in the Premier League and Championship was supposed to give England the best chance of improving as a national team and bringing home silverware.

Well how’s that working out? Not too good and I don’t really see how a few days together training before an international match can make that much difference.

All it means is the regular football supporter is deprived of watching their team for a fortnight.

This is not cricket, where the county team’s role is to produce players for England. This is football. Club football matters more to me than what the boys wearing Three Lions on their chest can achieve in the Amazon jungle. Don’t get me wrong, I am just like every other fan, and would love to see a successful national team, but just cannot see how the current arrangements can possibly work.

How about we have a qualifying tournament for the World Cup condensed into a four-week spell in the summer?

That would allow the domestic leagues to operate unhindered and then Roy Hodgson would have his players together in a month-long setting which would go some way to replicating a tournament set-up.

Although in England’s recent history, 10 days is probably more like the length of time needed before they get on a plane and fly home. Or, let’s be even more radical, tell the domestic clubs they have to play on those blank international weekends.

This would mean the top clubs thinking twice about recruiting foreign players to swell their squads, knowing they would lose them for chunks of the season.

The result would be more English players being given their chance in the Premier League – whether that be taking the shirt of the non-existent overseas signing, or stepping up when the likes of Wayne Rooney and co are on international duty.

So it would be a bit like the County Championship in cricket. Yorkshire have won the league title despite England robbing them of prized stars like Joe Root and Gary Ballance for the majority of the season.

Looking at the current Yorkshire team, packed full of youngsters, how many of them would be playing regularly if Root, Ballance, Tim Bresnan, Liam Plunkett and Bairstow had been playing week-in, week-out at Headingley?

This could open the door for young English talent to get their chance in the Premier League, and I would much rather see the next generation of talent pulling on my club’s shirt than endure another night like England v Norway.

Of course none of this will ever happen. There’s too much money involved in the game for the top clubs to agree to this, and big bills still to pay at Wembley.

But most fans I talk to seem to find the international breaks an unwanted spell away from watching domestic football.

And it’s not just the top two divisions in England this hits either. When MK Dons call off their game at Sheffield United due to international call-ups, you do wonder if the domestic game has lost its balance and shifted too far towards the pursuit of international glory.

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