Wembley sold out, but England players don't care, says Vieira
Fans look forward to Friday night football as San Marino visit, but where is the players' pride?
ENGLAND'S fans have certainly proved their loyalty to the national team and Wembley will be a 90,000 sell-out for the visit of the worst team in the world, San Marino, on Friday night, but according to Premier League legend Patrick Vieira the players don't have the same kind of enthusiasm for the Three Lions.
The former Arsenal midfielder, who now works behind the scenes for Manchester City says he is disappointed by the attitude of young players in England.
"When I grew up in France, I wanted to play for the French national team," he told Sky. "That was my target, my dream, and I don't think this is the same in England.
"I don't think the young players are dreaming of playing for the national team any more... they are not as proud as they are used to be."
He made his comments in the same week that England's new training base, St George's Park, was opened to widespread acclaim. But, as The Week pointed out yesterday, the new facilities will only make a difference if the clubs and players want England to succeed.
He added that it would take years for England's new "house" in Burton to have tangible results.
But although the players may not care about the Three Lions, it seems that the fans do, and The Times marvels at the fact that Wembley will be full on Friday night, even though it was a third empty for the visit of Ukraine last month.
"How the FA managed to sell every available seat in Wembley for a game against opponents ranked joint 207th in the world... can be explained by price and by scheduling," it says.
All Olympic volunteers have been offered cheap seats and 22,000 tickets have been sold as part of discounted family packages. The Friday night concept also works for fans. Families do not have to worry about getting the children home on a school night and those without children can enjoy a drink before the match and a night out afterwards.