Steve Sidwell has lifted the lid on the secret – and slightly better life – of a non-international footballer.
England have been blessed with midfield talent over the last couple of decades so Sidwell never got his chance to represent his country.
Not that that’s a bad thing – for there is usually one international break which Premier League stars most look forward to.
“[During the international] weekend I’ve known people who have gone to Ibiza, Dubai, Barcelona, you name it everyone’s going everywhere,” Sidwell said on the Liquid Football Podcast, which is produced by JOE in partnership with Paddy Power.
There is one in March that always falls on the Dubai races and it is just footballer central out in Dubai.
“A lot of managers go away as well. I think a few of the lads have actually gone away and the gaffer has been in the same hotel. But on the flip side of that you can’t blame them because if you think of a manager’s partner they must never see their husband.
“Their wives must say ‘Oh can we go away’. But they must go somewhere where they can watch an international game while their partner’s around the pool.”
You’d think the non-international players wouldn’t want to draw attention to the fact they aren’t as good as their team-mates.
But fellow podcast host Jon Walters, a regular with the Republic of Ireland squad, revealed some (of the not-so-good) players even used to rub it in.
“Lads will just be coming back to their clubs right now and be like ‘In three or four weeks we’ve got another international break coming up’,” he said.
“In the WhatsApp groups we get pictures sent in and you’re thinking ‘Corrr’ but I’d never swap it.”
International breaks are dull affairs for football fans but they can provide an opportunity for players to get one over their domestic rivals – but what happens abroad does not always stay abroad.
“We had one where we was playing an international game and we played Austria. We played Marko Arnautovic, he was playing for Austria. He was playing left-wing and I was doing my usual, I was right into him during the game. I was pinching, stamping, elbowing off the ball,” Walters explained.
Me and Seamus Coleman tag-teamed him and he hated it.
“We had a really good game. This was before he came to Stoke and he signed for Stoke a week later.
I was like ‘Oh no I have just given it big-time over the last couple of weeks’ and it was literally a couple of weeks and he came in.
“But look I love Marko and got on with him really well. Then I played with him again when he was at Stoke against Austria and I just did the same thing and we drew against him.
“It’s a funny one that when you go away and you play against someone.”