‘There’s hatred there, that’s exactly how it is…’
Considering the incredible squadsEnglandhave had in recent years, it’s a mystery how the Three Lions haven’t been more successful.
The likes ofPaul Scholes,Steven Gerrard,Frank Lampard,John Terry,Rio FerdinandandWayne Rooneyhave all been in the same line-up together and still England haven’t come anywhere near winning their first trophy since the 1966 World Cup.
Why didn’t Scholes, Lampard and Gerrard form an incredible midfield that competed against the best national sides in the world?
With Scholes representing Manchester United for his entire career, Gerrard being a Liverpool legend and Lampard a Chelsea hero, it seemed their club rivalry proved too much for England.
And that theory was pretty much confirmed by Gerrard himself.
After hanging up his boots, the midfielder is currently working for BT Sport as a pundit.
It’s an avenue that some of Gerrard’s former England teammates have gone down with Rio Ferdinand working alongside him on BT, while Gary Neville is a star on Sky Sports alongside Jamie Carragher.
While Gerrard now has respect for Ferdinand and Neville as fellow pundits, he’s explained that wasn’t quite the case when they teamed up the national side.
Gerrard ‘pretended to like’ two England players
In fact, he’s even admitted to “pretending to like them” when playing for England.
“When you’re lining up against in the tunnel against Rio and Gary Neville you want to do everything in your power to beat them, there’s hatred there, that’s exactly how it is,”he saidat his first ever Steven Gerrard Live event in Belfast back in 2016.
“When you meet up for England at that time, you pretend you like them, but your career finishes, their career finishes and your friendship starts for real.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for Rio as a player, played for a top club all his life, he’s a good fella as well, I’m enjoying the role at BT with him as well.”
It’s certainly an interesting insight into players’ mindset when they meet up for England.
Is club rivalry still hurting England?
Current England boss, Gareth Southgate, has worked hard to prevent club rivalries from disrupting international squads.
In 2021, Chelsea defender Reece James admitted that it wasn’t always easy to do that.
“Of course when you come away you kind of have to put club rivalry aside,”James said. “When we’re here, we’re one team and our aim is to win. No matter who we’re playing against, so we kind of have to put it aside and focus on our task here.
“No, it’s not easy. We play most of our football for our clubs and we want to win wherever we are.”