EX-Evertonian and current Wales boss Gary Speed has done a terrific job in reinvigorating a squad of players which had become very demotivated in recent years.
The build up to the two internationals from an England point of view, however, was dominated by the fates of Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.
To me this was remarkable, although not surpising given the way the national press works, constantly trying to stir up acrimony and division at national level.
Rio Ferdinand hasn’t played to any degree for two years and he is now 32. Frank Lampard is a very good modern day midfielder, but no more than that. He’s not a world great and for most of his career has played for top teams, surrounded by the best players in a system which was designed around him.
He is now 33 years old and his club team has not been quite so dominant in recent years.
So why should there be a fuss about these players not playing for a national team ranked fourth in the world?
The fact that footballers come to the end of their careers is as certain as death and taxes.
The press, however, like to create their own agendas and the fact that any player still playing top inter- national football in his 30s is doing very well is conveniently ignored.