Michail Antonio has been called up to the England national team once again, and most likely hopes to get his name called by manager Gareth Southgate so he can earn his first England cap. While Antonio is surely feeling happy at once again being asked to represent his country, Andy Carroll has to feel a tad disappointed at not being part of Southgate’s plans for the upcoming fixtures.
While Carroll might be disappointed, as it seems he really wants a recall to the England national team, and while it might seem a tad unfair, from a West Ham United perspective it is great news that Carroll won’t be called up to play in a friendly against Germany and a World Cup qualifier against footballing minnows Lithuania. Carroll has looked off the past two games, and even said he was tired and not fully fit for the Chelsea match. He trudged up and down the pitch against AFC Bournemouth, barely running at all with his hands on his hips seemingly the entire match. He needs some rest, and let’s be honest, with Carroll’s luck, he’d break a leg or twist an ankle in the 83rd minute of a meaningless friendly and be out for the rest of the season. Carroll may be disappointed not be called up, but many a West Ham fan will feel relief that the big man won’t be pulling on an England shirt and risk yet another injury.
Slaven Bilic even mentioned during his press conference about players getting a break during the international window, saying that “[I]deally, it goes for every player. The demanding of the league. It’s good for the players to have some days off when it’s international break. And it’s good to use it for training or a bit of resting, or a bit of both.” The lack of a winter break in England has been talked about for years as a reason for poor European performances for English clubs, and so maybe rest is ideal for players in the middle of the season.
Bilic continued by mentioning that he wouldn’t want his players to turn down opportunities to play for their countries saying "But it’s always good for us as a club and them as individuals to get a call up for a national team because that gives you another level of confidence and motivation for the future.”
Thanks to everyone for your messages! Playing for @England has been my dream since day one so to be back in the squad is so special for me.— Jermain Defoe (@IAmJermainDefoe) March 16, 2017
Ex-Hammer, and current Sunderland player, Jermain Defoe has been brought back into the England fold after being left off for a few years. While many Hammer fans will wish him the best, many Sunderland fans might have also wished that he could have been left off the team. The Wearside club is anchored to the bottom of the table, six points from safety. Defoe’s fitness is critical for Sunderland’s attempts to avoid relegation, and any absence that would result from his England call-up would be a disaster for the club.