Del Bosque and disinterest in the national team

Tired of listening to rumors relating to players trying to escape international duty, Del Bosque has spoken about the benefits of representing Spain for any player: “Those players who play for the national team then go back to the domestic game and play better”, he affirmed. The same inverse idea is implied, those who don’t get called up for the national side are not playing so well at club level. The coach added that he has statistics to support this argument and that if this is the case, then playing for the national team should be a stimulus. Putting aside the tiredness issue, it should make a player feel better and important. In football, confidence is a vital ingredient in the psyche of any player. Being chosen as one of eleven to represent your country should provide the ultimate vote of confidence.

This was the head coach’s manner of dispelling the idea that international football is perceived as a nuisance. In Spain this image is pertinent and interest in the national team only increases towards the final rounds of major tournaments. Qualifying groups are considered a mere formality with no-one imagining that Spain would fail to qualify for one of the major competitions. The same mentality could be applied to the possibility of Real Madrid or Barça being relegated to the second division. Hence, group stages are met with a high level of disinterest and when it comes to friendly games, even more so. And should the friendly in question come a week before a ‘Clásico’, even one with little at stake…

Spain TrainingVicente del Bosque gestures during his team training session on the eve of the friendly soccer match between Romania and Spain

Thursday’s game against Italy was somewhat dull with the players going through the motions. Del Bosque has announced that all squad members will get a chance to play with the idea that no-one gets frustrated after being dragged away over the Easter period. The overall feeling is that these are not two key preparation games but an excursión that no squad member should feel left out of. This only contributes to the low level of interest felt by the public about the national team as Del Bosque attempts to deal with the situation through words as opposed to concrete actions.