Club vs. country

Posted by Marc Duffy

It's an international football week. Big games on a Friday night and the following Tuesday with a massive no-football void in between that lasts all the way through until the following weekend.

Franck Fife/AFP/Getty ImagesLoic Remy trains with the French national team this week. Newcastle supporters will hold their breath this weekend hoping Remy and the other Newcastle internationals don't sustain injuries which could interfere with their club campaign.

This is when supporters of all clubs across the Premier League take to Twitter to tell the world that they couldn't care less about England or how they get on. Then if England fail to win in an inevitably boring Roy Hodgson show, many of these same people will take to Twitter again to declare their absolute fury and upset at the result.

If England are successful in qualifying for the World Cup, some of these people will buy a new England shirt and decorate their cars with flags and stickers only to bin them as quickly as possible when a nervous England defender misses the decisive penalty in a quarter-final shoot-out.

There is no doubt that club comes before country in the hearts of most Premier League football fans, especially northern ones. But there is plenty of room for both in my opinion. I once heard an English Newcastle fan comment that he'd be supporting France in the European Championships because he didn't like the "over-paid English prima donnas" -- how ironic.

Newcastle United will always come first for me -- I'm a Geordie first and foremost, but I do go to watch England games and at no point do I ever want them to fail. I'd love to see a World Cup win -- it would be a great lift for the nation.

That leads me on to another common football question: would you rather your club won the FA Cup or England won the World Cup? Let's be honest -- neither is going to happen in my lifetime so why even bother speculating? I'd be ecstatic if either happened.

Despite all of the above, I hate when Newcastle players are involved in international games. It's nice when they are recognised with a call-up but once they're out there playing, they're at risk and an injury could be very harmful to Newcastle's season. I especially hate the unnecessary friendly games the calendar throws up.

Thirteen Newcastle first team squad members have been called up for this weeks round of games. Four -- Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko, Matthieu Debuchy and Loic Remy -- will be travelling to Paris for a fixture double-header. The first is a friendly against Australia! It's a match in which it's likely that the French squads fringe players will feature. Imagine Newcastle losing Remy because of an injury sustained in a friendly against Australia? It would be disastrous.

Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote will go head-to-head as Senegal host Ivory Coast in an African World Cup play-off tie. The last time they met in a playoff (to qualify for the 2013 African Cup of Nations) the match was abandoned in the midst of violent riots when the Senegal crowd realised they were just about to be eliminated.

Assuming this one passes by peacefully, it might be a good thing for the Newcastle boys. A goal could help Cisse's confidence whilst Tiote could do with some more game time under his belt.

Shola Ameobi will join the Nigerian squad as they go to Ethiopia for a playoff despite the fact he hasn't kicked a ball for a few weeks.

Newcastle captain and defensive lynchpin Fabricio Coloccini will make the mammoth round trip to South America where he could feature for Argentina in a qualifier against Peru before travelling to Uruguay. If Colo plays against Uruguay, he'll be directly up against Luis Suarez and that match-up could be repeated 80-odd hours later when Newcastle host Liverpool at St James' Park Oct. 19.

Tim Krul is in the Holland squad to play Hungary (home) and Turkey (away) whilst his understudy Rob Elliot is with Ireland for their games at Germany and home to Kazakhstan.

The other call ups are for Sammy Ameobi (England U-21), Paul Dummett (Wales) and Haris Vuckic (Slovenia U-21)

And remember -- if you're in the UK and really missing football this weekend, get yourself along to watch Gateshead or another local side.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy


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