Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand has revealed that the intense rivalry between the Premier League’s top club’s is the reason why the so called ’golden generation,’ were never able to succeed on the international stage.
During the noughties English teams dominated the Champions League and players like Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Steven Gerrard were all regarded as amongst the best in Europe in their positions.
This group of players were built up to be the best generation of footballers English football had produced in many years, but they regularly fell short at major tournaments.
Ferdinand has now admitted he found it very difficult to forget about club allegiances when on international duty, and he reckons this is what caused the ‘’golden generation,’’ to constantly underperform.
“It overshadowed things. It killed that England team, that generation,” Ferdinand said.
“One year we would have been fighting Liverpool to win the league, another year it would be Chelsea. So I was never going to walk into the England dressing room and open up to Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry or Joe Cole at Chelsea, or Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher at Liverpool.
“I wouldn’t open up because of the fear they would take something back to their club and use it against us, to make them better than us. I didn’t really want to engage with them.
“I didn’t realise that what I was doing was hurting England at the time. I was so engrossed, so obsessed with winning with Man United – nothing else mattered.
“If I had my time again, would I be different? I’d like to try to be different. But if it meant I wasn’t going to win my trophies, I don’t think I’d change.”
While Ferdinand certainly raises an interesting point it must also be pointed that countries like Italy, Spain and Germany also have extremely intense cub rivalries but still manage to consistently perform at major tournaments.
Another theory as to why the ‘golden generation’ did not achieve what was expected of them is that they just weren’t as good as they and the media thought they were.