England Under 21's have an important tournament next week. They are in the finals of the Under 21 Championships in the Netherlands. You would imagine that any footballer would jump at the chance to represent their country at any level. However, for David Bentley and Gabby Agbonlahor, this appears not to be the case.
In the case of Gabby Agbonlahor, he apparently failed to respond to any phone calls from the England Under 21 manager. So he is not in the squad.
In the case of David Bentley, he withdrew himself from the England squad. He said "I think it is for the betterment of my career," he also complains of being tired and wanting to have a break between seasons.
Presumably this is the same David Bentley who is hoping to be selected for the senior squad for Euro 2008, should England qualify.
But when Bentley withdrew himself from the England under 21 squad, he did so after the squad list had already been submitted for the championships. This now means a replacement (presumably someone keen to represent their country) cannot be picked and England go in to the tournament with one player less in the squad.
England and the FA now need to crystal clear in telling both Gabby Agbonlahor and David Bentley that they need not bother responding to phone calls from England managers any more. When their country came calling, they showed what it meant to them to play for England. there are enough English players around desperate to play for their country and you not only need ability to play football, but some desire too. Bentley and Agbonlahor obviously lack that desire.
P.S. I agree wholeheartedly with the views expressed in the much more succinct posting on this subject in the excellent "Things and Stuff" blog.