Date:Saturday May 17 2008
After David Bentley's withdrawal from the England Under 21 European squad last summer and the resulting furore that surrounded it, I thought this little snippet was fascinating.
You may or may not be aware of a young Spanish forward called Bojan Krkic, or Bojan for short, that plays primarily for Barcelona B in the BBVA in Spain.
If you are aware of him then either you are a Football Manager fan or you have a very good knowledge of European football.
Bojan, who turns 18 next August is one of Barcelona's and Spain's new breed of footballer emerging. Bojan has played 29 times this season for the Catalan giants, netting 10 times, a team that contains a plethora of footballing excellence, including Ronaldinho, Deco, Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi and this doesn't include the likes of Giovanni Dos Santos, Gai Assulin, Iago and Marc Crocas who are knocking at the door of the Nou Camp first team.
Bojan has also featured for his national team's Under 17's, playing 45 times and scoring 12 goals and for Spain's Under 21's featuring 4 times and scoring 3 times. He was called up to the full Spain squad last February and was set to make his debut when illness robbed him of his chance to become Spain's youngest ever full international.
Bojan, and some of the other lesser known players mentioned above, are going to be vital to the re-emergence of Barça over the coming seasons.
Why then, you ask have I given you his life history and also, you ask, what does this have to do with our very own David Bentley???
Well, it has just been announced recently that aforementioned superstar in the making and probable future European Player of the Year, Bojan Krkic has DECLINED a place in Spain's EURO 2008 squad, citing FATIGUE as the reason.
So then, where is the castigation of Bojan? You may not stumble across it in happenstance but I regularly read European and World Football news (I know, I'm a bit of an anorak LOL) and the only mention of this news was included in a piece regarding Rijkaard leaving Barcelona and the incoming Manager Pep Guardiola.
Now maybe its just me but I'm shouting bloody hypocrisy here!!!!
Bentley's castigation and subsequent treatment from both fans and Stuart Pearce and Steve McClown, sorry, McClaren and their comments regarding that 'snub' last summer was downright appalling and, in this reporters opinion, the withdrawl was completely validated by David's form throughout the season, which was exemplary and his first start as an England Player. (Not surprisingly, it was Capello, not the previous administration that gave him that!)
I think that a player should be judged on form and ability alone and IF he says he is not fit, be it physically, mentally or emotionally, then that should not be held against him as he is doing what a professional footballer is expected of them, looking after themselves, not 'snubbing their country's call'
Even though I feel miffed that the reaction in Spain hasn't been met with the same reaction as it was here regarding this issue all I can say is well done Bojan on being honest and if Mr Aragonés wishes to hold it against you, it is his and Spain's loss.
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Date:Saturday May 17 2008
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