Date: 14th September 2007 at 3:57pm
Written by:

Richard Williams has suggested in the Guardian that on the back of the last two games, Emile Heskey should partner Michael Owen.

He went as far as saying that now McClaren’s facing a tough task: he must tell Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Owen Hargreaves, David Beckham and Gary Neville that they have no place in the starting line-up.

Right now I would not go into analysing why on earth he thinks, without writing any kind of justification, that Steven Gerrard is undroppable. I’d like to focus, perhaps understandably, on our own players.

I must admit that despite all the glory and honour of international success and despite how much it means to the players, I would be happy if all our footballers would retire from international duty. The thing is that for the biggest part of the season, my club occupies first place and they are in my thoughts.

Therefore, I’m happy when Ronaldo and Vidic does well, when Saha scores for France (though it happens extremely rarely…) and of course when Rooney and co. shine for England – but I dread to think of what might happen to them and it would be a relief to know that no Estonian superstar will kick them off the park.

But this relief is denied from me so I’d be happy if McClaren acted on Williams’ words. However, I don’t agree with them. England defeated Israel and Russia and that’s all right, these were good performances but no reason to get carried away.

Barry’s shown a lot of quality and worked well with Gerrard so I agree that he deserves another chance. Richards is getting better and better while Gary would benefit from playing less games so I have no objection on that case either.

But that Heskey should now be ahead of a fully fit Rooney… that’s madness. I often heard that Heskey can play better with Michael Owen than Rooney but I’d like to ask how many times could Rooney and Owen be on the pitch at the same time for England? On these occasions, if you recall them, they looked very good together – Euro 2004, to mention the most obvious.

Heskey is a hard-working, down-to-earth player with no ego whatsoever but that in itself should not be enough to keep the most gifted English footballer out of the side.

However, my United heart says Richard Williams for England and Rooney’s precious but fragile feet will be in less danger.