With the international break now upon us, I thought I would look back to when I was a player and how we used to make use of the time without a game.
When I played it was a different era. If some players went away during the international break, then we would train hard during the week and then have the weekend off.
I did go away with the England under-21s a few times and there was a big drinking culture there at the time.
The likes of Lee Sharpe, Paul Ince and Russell Beardsmore were straight in the pub after a game getting the beers in! Times have changed now though and it’s a good time to have a break after a hectic run of games.
I played three times at under-21 level but it was in a tournament, so they gave only gave me one cap; I would’ve preferred having three!
I’ve got loads of gear at home, so I might have to get on eBay and see how much it’s all worth! I used to swap shirts with a lot of players as well. I’ve got a Republic of Ireland shirt, a Czechoslovakia one and a France shirt with the old Le Coq Sportif logo on it, which I used to wear off the pitch too!
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We had a really good England team in those days, with Nigel Martyn in goal and the likes of Neil Ruddock, David Hirst, David Batty, Ince and David Burrows.
I went around Europe to places like Sweden, France and Germany so got to travel a bit. You got to experience other cultures and understand how other teams played.
We also played Senegal’s under-21 team and even though they weren’t the best team we played, their touch and technique was better than ours. It was useful for me to play against a side like that and they loved to pass the ball around.
Finally, I didn’t play in the game, but I was there when the England senior team drew 0-0 with Sweden to secure their qualification for the 1990 World Cup.
We played our match the day beforehand for the under-21s and I was in the stadium the next day watching the game, which was famous for Terry Butcher cutting his head open!
That’s a game I’ll always remember, especially when I see those pictures of him with claret all over his shirt!
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