The Curious Case of Nathan Dyer
Just when you think the international break will give you some quiet time for reflection (and your only worry is that Ashley Williams` morale & confidence will be at an all time low thanks to that "performance" in Serbia) you find the squad faced with our annual defensive crisis and Nathan Dyer at the centre of a debate surrounding Raheem Sterling`s call up to the England squad. Granted Sterling does look like a handy little player in his three Premier League appearances (only two of which have been starts) so far but Dyer`s been leaving opposition full-backs in tatters at the top level for over a season. Dyer`s also started this season in incendiary form and you`ve got to wonder to yourself what the hell he has to do to force himself on to the international scene? Playing for a 'bigger` club would probably help. The general supposition that infects British football is that the more history a club has, regardless of current form and league position, then the better their players. This, coupled with the delusion that England still see themselves as a footballing superpower, makes it harder for players from smaller clubs (let`s not kid ourselves, we`re currently a pretty small fish in a colossal aquarium) to find themselves in an England shirt regardless of form.
I`ve heard a few argue that Hodgson is building for the future & that Sterling was selected purely for the experience of being in and around the England squad with no chance of actually playing.....Yeah, because that worked so well with Sven and Walcott. If (and lets humour this argument for a minute) Hodgson is building for the future then why oh why did England start Wednesday`s game against Ukraine with a central midfield partnership with a combined age of 66? To add insult to injury Nathan`s not exactly coming to the end of his career at the grand old age of 24 and isn`t anywhere close to hitting his peak . As loth as I am to excavate skeletons from Dyer`s past you can`t help but wonder if the mistakes he made as a youngster are still counting against him. But these thoughts quickly dissipate when you remember that this is the same England regime that selected John Terry ahead of Rio Ferdinand despite the former allegedly racially abusing the latter`s brother. Class is not something the F.A. have in abundance. If he had a good first touch and a mean shot you imagine that a serial killer would be in with a shout of a few caps.
So what can Nathan Dyer do to catch the eye of the England selectors? The only thing he can do is to keep playing the way he is and keep annihilating the full-backs (and the centre backs too thanks to Laudrup`s tactics) of the Premier League on a regular basis. Repeating last season`s sterling (pun intended) performance at Villa Park on Saturday would also go a long way to showing the England circus what they`re missing.
Thanks to Rhys for his article. You can visit his blog here