Why Frank Lampard calling out his Everton players could backfire and how international break can benefit players – Sue Smith

As well as being a huge honour, going away to represent your country can also be a welcome break from the stresses of club football.

Harry Maguire has joined up with England after a difficult spell with Manchester United.

I have been in that position, and it is nice to go away and concentrate on something else, especially as Gareth Southgate has thrown his full backing behind the centre-back from Sheffield, saying he never considered leaving him out of the squad for the friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast.

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I used to think if I could have a good game for my country, I could take that back to my club.

CRITICAL: Everton manager Frank Lampard Picture: Adrian Dennis/Getty Images.

Jordan Pickford conceded four goals as Everton went out of the FA Cup last week, and afterwards, Frank Lampard questioned his players’ desire.

Lampard will not want his goalkeeper dwelling on that, he will hope he can move on and play brilliantly for England.

When you are having a bad time, being around happy players is a relief.

Southgate called it “a psychological refresh” yesterday.

CHANGE OF SCENE: Harry Maguire has endured a tough time with Manchester United in recent weeks and will probably relish getting away with England. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

Maguire and Pickford will be pleased to be with Liverpool and Manchester City players, rather than talking about what happens if they miss the Champions League or get relegated.

And if I was in good form, I would just see it as a chance to keep that going.

When I went away with England you might have a conversation about the game straightaway afterwards, maybe a phone call in the car as you left the ground, but from then until you rejoined your club I rarely had much contact with my club manager beyond wishing me good look or talking about how I played in the England game.

My international managers might talk about my club form and how I was feeling, but often it would be, “I saw you do that well, try to do more of it with us.”

GETTING AWAY: Sue Smith on England duty against the Netherlands in the UEFA Women's Euro 2009 Semi-Final match. Picture: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Those Everton players away with their countries have probably avoided a frosty atmosphere at Finch Farm after Lampard’s comments.

Questioning the character of my players is not necessarily something I would do but perhaps Lampard has tried everything else behind the scenes and it has not worked.

There were times as a player when I was interviewed after a game and the manager had admitted in the dressing room he or she got their tactics wrong but I would never throw them under the bus by talking about it in public.

By the same token, I would not want my manager going straight onto the television to question my desire. These things are best kept in house. Leave it to the pundits and the reporters to discuss them in public.

To have your character questioned by your manager is the big one. We all have bad games but if someone questions your character, that really hurts.

That said, I know it can work.

I have mentioned before in this column how unsure I was when Chris Wilder questioned Dean Henderson’s performance for Sheffield United against Liverpool a few years ago but he knew his player and how he would react, and Henderson was man of the match the next week.

Some players like to be talked up but others need a kick up the backside to stop them becoming complacent.

Lampard called out the whole group, which I suppose is better than singling one or two out, but I have been in dressing rooms where managers have torn a strip off the team performance and certain players do not think it applies to them.

Even if I had scored a hat-trick, I would think they were talking about me.

So if you make comments like that, it is important to follow it up with individual conversations.

I always think it is better to chat about a defeat when the emotions have calmed.

If a manager asked me after a win I would always be happy to talk, but after a loss I would often say we should do it tomorrow. Otherwise everyone is angry and you probably end up saying something you do not mean.

I often thought I had done better or worse in a game after I had watched it back.

Better to leave it a couple of days and have an honest, open meeting about it. For some players, that is going to have to wait until next week.

At least until then they can forget all about it and enjoy playing for their countries.