Easy caps are costing England: Former defender Campbell says players are not earning their international call-ups
12:58 GMT, 22 December 2012
Former England defender Sol Campbell believes the country are failing at international level because too many players are being capped too young.
Campbell, who won 73 England caps, says that too many players receive an international call up before they have established themselves at club level.
Campbell completed three full seasons at Tottenham before earning his first cap in 1996.
Earning his caps: Sol Campbell played for three seasons at Spurs before getting his first England cap and says players get them too easily today
Speaking on Football Focus, Campbell said: 'Some of the young players have got their England careers far too early.
'It's far too easy for players who have not done much in the game to play for their country, it all connects and that's why results aren't going so well.
'When I started, I had to play top football for 18 months before I could get a look-in.
Earning his place: Campbell trained with the England squad before he was capped in 1996
'Yes, I was in with the England side earlier than that but just training with the team and then I'd go back with the Under 21s.
'Now it seems like if you've played a
few games, scored a few goals, cleared a few balls off the line and
threaded a couple of really good balls in, all of a sudden you're in the
Too much, too young Wilfried Zaha and Jonjo Shelvey have been capped by England this year
ENGLAND'S 2012 DEBUTANTS
Fraizer Campbell (Sunderland, age 25)Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal, 19)Martin Kelly (Liverpool, 22)Jack Butland (Birmingham, 19)Tom Cleverley (Manchester United, 23)John Ruddy (Norwich, 26)Jake Livermore (Tottenham, 23)Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea, 23)Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool, 20)Steven Caulker (Tottenham, 21)Raheem Sterling (Liverpool, 18)Leon Osman (Everton, 31)Ryan Shawcross (Stoke, 25)Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal, 20)Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace, 20)
part of the squad that reached the Euro 96 semi-finals and also played
at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups, as well as the Euros in 2000 and
And in the year Campbell made his England debut, seven other players – Robbie Fowler, Jason Wilcox, Ian Walker, Phil Neville, Ugo Ehiogu, David Beckham and Andy Hinchcliffe – also won their first caps.
This year saw debuts handed to 15 players, most of whom had little – and some no – Premier League experience.
'I still feel playing for your country is the number one,’ said Campbell, who won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Arsenal, and also scored in the 2006 Champions League final.
'When players get to England they need to be playing at the top of their game, but some have been getting in the England squad when they're not even in their club side, and that is not right.
'You're believing you're at the top because you play for England, but you're not. Then obviously the results [follow] from there.'