I’ve gotten over dreading the upcoming European Championships now.
A couple of weeks ago I was all panicky over the possibility of losing a player due to injury or perhaps to another club who have the wedge to buy them after an impressive tournament.
I’m now at the ‘whatever will be will be’ stage to be honest and after a few weeks without football I’m just glad to have something to watch on the box again. These last few weeks I’ve even started to wonder why I even pay for Sky considering the fact I’ve not watched it since the end of the football season!
One of the reasons I’m actually looking forward to watching football once more is because some of our players are involved. Not many, but there are enough to prick the interest of me and perhaps the nation as two of them will possibly come up against England in a couple of weeks time.
That made me think really. I’m looking forward to watching our players, which then made me thinking about players moving clubs to supposedly stand more of a chance of getting international recognition. I remember one of the many (and indeed changeable) reasons Jose Enrique wanted to move was to enhance his chances with Spain.
Well this summer he’ll be sat on his backside sunning himself watching it in exactly the same way you or I could after failing to win a place in the Spain squad. He has shown that he just isn’t good enough to play for his country regardless of whatever his club may be. I’m not saying Enrique is rubbish, as he’s not, but he’s also not good enough for his national team unfortunately, for him anyway.
The funny thing is that NOT moving clubs has actually helped some of our players gain a place at the European Championships. I’m going to discount Yohan Cabaye as he has been a favourite fixture in the France side ever since Laurent Blanc took the helm, but both Tim Krul and Hatem Ben Arfa have managed to force themselves into their respective international squads whilst playing for Newcastle.
Both have gone about it differently however. Timmy has been with is since he was a mere boy with goggly eyes. He stormed onto the scene at Palermo and then went on loan to a sequence of teams only to come back and establish himself as the undisputed number one goalkeeper. He’s saved us points single-handedly which is what good goakeepers do.
Hatem Ben Arfa was, is, a maverick capable of moments that just leave you shaking your head in disbelief. He can win games on his own although there was a sense that he’d lost his way when he arrived at Newcastle. Perhaps it was the fresh start he needed after a catalogue of arguments with colleagues and managers over in France?
A serious injury didn’t help his cause and that was compounded by another one just as he was about to return. However now he is fit and firing on all cylinders, with added strings to his bow for good measure. He is a more complete player now than he ever has been, and it’s testament to the hard work he has put in that he is now being rewarded with his first international call up since 2010 and his first ever international tournament to boot!
You see it can be done at Newcastle. Players can work themselves back into international reckoning at St James’ Park, which has to be another selling point for the club currently.
P.S. Congratulations to Kimtoon who was the winner of our shirt competition and is now the owner of a brand new NUFC away shirt courtesy of idealo.co.uk although I have a sneaking suspicion she may be giving it to someone as a gift, unless she has a secret of course…