Whose next from Norwich City for national call, then?
There are various conditions that come attached to the contract that entitles you to play your football in the Premier League.
Publicity is one of them.
Outside of the Royal family, the government and various Z-list celebrities who aren't worth the paper they are written upon, footballers are under the spotlight like no one else.
Bring it down to a local level, and Norwich City are discovering what it's like. A quiet trip down to Yeovil or a jaunt up to Carlisle did little to stir the loins of those charged with sating the national appetite for football. Now they can't keep their hands off the Canaries.
Whether it's Alan Brazil conducting his interviews with the same old question: 'Your fixture list – some tough games coming up?' or Mark Lawrenson trying to prove he is the master of the one-word debate, Norwich City are officially in the public eye.
Which, at the moment, means Grant Holt, whose place in the national team pecking order is slowly becoming something of a national obsession.
Lawrenson's dismissal of Holt's chances of an England call-up for this summer's European Championship with the word 'no', followed by absolutely no explanation went down among City fans about as well as the regular scheduling of their team's game anywhere in the running order but first.
- 1 Norfolk festival cancelled amid 'challenging year'
- 2 Woman in her 50s who died in A11 crash named locally
- 3 Roads closed as armed police and dog units swoop on Norwich home
- 4 North Norfolk pub re-opens as a hotel
- 5 Lakeside proposal gone wrong watched by millions on TikTok
- 6 Mum trying to find lost 'heart' of daughter who died days after birthday
- 7 North Norfolk glamping site named among best in the UK
- 8 Vicar at heart of bitter church row resigns
- 9 Traffic easing on first day of Royal Norfolk Show after earlier delays
- 10 Cannabis factory discovered in Norwich home after police raid
It was pretty disrespectful to the player and to his many fans, but there is a secondary point that needs to be made. Match of the Day's decision to talk about Holt, and no one, else reflects the aforementioned increase in publicity, but is also a sleight on some of his Norwich City team-mates. The fact that there isn't currently an England national team manager shouldn't overshadow the fact that John Ruddy is the next best – possibly THE best – qualified player at Carrow Road to be mentioned in the same breath as the Euros.
Unfortunately, Ruddy doesn't have a ready-made off-the-shelf statistic on his side. Holt's is: 'Wayne Rooney is the only Englishman to have scored more goals than Grant Holt in the Premier League this season.' Ruddy's is: 'Has made lots of terrific saves - for a team that has kept only two clean sheets this season.'
Holt's is stats based; analysis of Ruddy's credentials becomes a matter of opinion. Which is probably why Match of the Day overlooked him.
I hold my hands up and admit that, at the start of the season, I wasn't convinced. I was one of those who would always mention the name Fraser Forster. I have been proved wrong: no problem.
Now that he has convinced us all, will he be able to convince whoever takes England to the Euros?
I don't fancy Holt's chances and I don't fancy Ruddy's – the old chestnut that they play for 'little old Norwich' is a genuine reason, implausible as it would appear to be in any normal walk of life. The fact that they are as good, possibly better, than the players who will go to the Euros is immaterial. It's an old boys' club, and they are not members.
Should City manage to consolidate their excellent current status in the Premier League for the next two or three seasons, then finally we may be able to talk about the club's next England internationals. It won't be Holt – if he can't get in at 31 then he's going to have to score twice as many as Rooney to crack it at 32 or 33. And Ruddy will need to maintain his form and hope that Norfolk is accepted into the Football Republic of England.
So perhaps we need to be looking beyond Holt and Ruddy.
If City do stay in the top flight for a while, then how about Jonny Howson and Ryan Bennett? Or Elliott Bennett and Anthony Pilkington?
The manager has brought in young players with potential, which is now being realised. If that continues to happen, no England manager worth his salt will be able to ignore them. If they do, we need to summon the power of publicity to ensure they don't slip through the net. Having an England manager in place would actually help, of course ...