Fans of club football dread the international break for a host of logical reasons, not least of which is the fear that their star players will get injured while helping their teams qualify for the next big tournament or during a meaningless friendly. Liverpool fans in particular feel unfairly punished by the international break, for not only do they provide a fair number of players to the world's national squads, they also contribute meaningfully to Roy Hodgson's England.
While fans might shudder at the thought, it's easy to forget that playing for one's national team is still a huge honour for an athlete, especially with the weight of expectation and intense pressure that England puts on its men's national team. For a player previously passed over for the right back in the national team set up, Nathaniel Clyne is eager to stake a claim on the position after starting against San Marino during this international break.
"I am here to try to knock down a position at right back and try to make it my own," Clyne said. "It’s obviously going to be difficult because there are a lot of people who could play right back and there’s a lot of competition but I’m looking forward to it and challenging for it.
"Every player who doesn’t get a chance to play will be disappointed. Everyone wants to be playing. I was a bit disappointed knowing the right back spot was available because of injury but the gaffer explained it to me and said they needed to attack more because they were a goal down and needed to put in a more attacking player. It obviously worked because it changed the score around and we ended up winning the game."
Clyne has made four appearances for England so far this calendar year, and in a Euro-qualifying year, he'll need to be in tip-top form to hold on to that spot. If his performances for Liverpool so far this season are anything to go by, he should have a very good shot of doing just that. Nailing down that spot would make at least one of his fans exceedingly proud: his mother.
"She goes to all my games, home and away," Clyne explained. "When I told her on the phone, the first time I was called up for England, she cried. It was a proud moment."