Three weeks is a long time in politics but three weeks without a football match is simply endless.
Lucky then that we have had the Gareth Southgate England squad to fill in a few days.
On the day Newcastle United flew off to Spain for a four day break and Royal Antwerp friendly, it was confirmed that Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles hadn’t been included in the latest international squad.
News of which surely confirms that neither Newcastle player has even a remote chance of flying to Russia for the finals in June.
It is great to see any Newcastle player getting outside recognition but you do have to wonder at some of the over the top reaction from certain supporters at the news, are people really really that bothered?
It is understandable that as well as personal recognition for the individual player, fans like to have their club recognised as well, especially when Mike Ashley ensures the club’s name is dragged through the mud so often and attracts such regular negative coverage.
There are always conspiracy theorists in these kind of situations but bias towards ‘big’ clubs hardly holds true when the likes of Burnley, Swansea, West Brom, Bournemouth, Stoke, Everton, Southampton, Leicester and others are represented.
In actual fact there were 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs that had players selected by Southgate, in this latest 27 man squad.
Gary Cahill would normally be there from Chelsea (as well as Loftus-Cheek!) if not for a loss of form, whilst the England boss said he would have included Crystal Palace’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek if he had been fit.
That leaves four clubs and Watford only had one English player in their most recent starting 11 and that is Troy Deeney, who turns 30 in June and isn’t suddenly going to be called up now.
The defining thing about the clubs without a player who Gareth Southgate had any interest in, is that the others without an England call-up are the three promoted clubs.
It is difficult to have much belief in Gareth Southgate when his only other managerial experience is relegating Middlesbrough BUT just maybe you could accept that he wants to see players have at least one full season in the Premier League (though obviously Jonjo Shelvey has previously played for England and played most of his career in the top tier, so maybe a case of proving himself again) before he feels he can properly judge them.
Plus of course, in truth if Shelvey and/or Lascelles were involved with England at this stage, they wouldn’t exactly be centre of attention and getting a proper chance to be suddenly accelerated into the first eleven, instead having a lot of travelling and extra training to just be part of the group.
A major tournament often then brings in a clean broom afterwards to freshen things up and give others a chance from the start of the next qualifying campaign.
If the likes of Lascelles and/or Shelvey can be backed up with some other better quality players added (at St James Park) this summer, then playing well for a Newcastle side firmly in the top half of the Premier League would surely then make it all but impossible to ignore their claims.
Success for Newcastle United will also bring individual recognition, as Burnley’s players are now enjoying.