In light of Harry Kane being awarded the winning goal against Stoke last weekend, keyboard warriors across the nation have raised their metaphorical pitchforks and ignited the media witch hunt against the prolific striker. It must be said that the criticism itself is moronic. No player, especially one chasing a hat-trick of golden boots, would simply allow a goal they “know” is theirs to be handed to someone else. Just as a team appeal falsely given red cards, the player and club alike are justified in appealing for what they believe is correct. Petty arguments aside, this media ambush is a perfect example of the negative side of English football and highlights the consequences.
Harry Kane’s Criticism Highlights International Problems
Premier League Rivalry
The Premier League has historically maintained a minimum of four high quality, competitive teams with huge fan bases. Whilst this is a blessing for those who follow English football, it comes at the detriment of the national team. The rivalries within the Premier League are fierce. In addition, the large majority of England’s national team down the years have played their careers in the Premier League. This potentially creates friction when it comes to international games. Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard all noted this, live on BT Sport. They stated that the competitive nature of the Premier League made it difficult to be close whilst on international duty. This left the squad fragmented and cliquey. Gerrard added that the players were ‘respectful’, but lacked a ‘bond’. He also said other internationals would look forward to international breaks, a feeling not shared as much by many of the England squad.
Fans Add Fuel to the Fire
The social media interactions between fan bases certainly add to these rivalries. Ignoring media criticism is part of the modern game. However, it may be difficult for some of the players to ignore the widespread hate from fellow England fans. The fans criticising Kane now are the same fans who will cheer him in the summer. Hurling abuse is perhaps not the best method of making players feel loved. Mauricio Pochettino has recently validated this, stating Kane has been ‘hurt’ by the recent criticism. This is the same for many other players within the squad. Both Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli are continuously abused by fans for diving claims. In addition, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshire often receive ridicule from rivals fans. Fans look to put young English players down, before praising them. This adds pressure, ultimately making it harder for the players to blossom and thrive internationally.
Rivalries Set in Stone
The Premier League’s top rivalries are set in stone and will not change. In addition, the competitiveness and attraction of the Premier League are arguably growing. Whilst this remains to be the case, international football will continue to take a back seat. International friendlies are a burden to most. Moreover, the fans and players alike will continue to put their clubs before international duties. This is inevitable. However, fans placing unnecessary pressure on to the players by continuously bringing them down can change. Young players playing at the top level should be encouraged, not damned. Fans should also get behind the top English hopes for the summer, rather than celebrating poor form or injuries.