Glenn's Surprise

Glenn Roeder is delighted that David James played so well for England in the friendly against Croatia on Wednesday night, when he had 45 minutes of action - but is surprised that Jermain Defoe was required to play the full 90 minutes for the under-21s the previous evening.

Says Glenn: "David had a very good game and I was delighted to see that not only did he do so - and he needed to, because Croatia created probably too many chances for England's liking in the first half - he had enough to do in 45 minutes and I was pleased to see Sven-Goran Eriksson consider the clubs these players play for.

"He didn't keep him on the whole 90 minutes, plus he gave Paul Robinson an opportunity, and I was very pleased to see him come off at half-time on the back of an excellent half, knowing he was safe.

"It was a very good work-out and often in internationals you have little to do; but he has got the sort of praise that I have always felt David James deserves when he plays for his country.

"I know Eriksson is criticised - and I think he is wrongly criticised - for making too many changes in friendlies but it gives other lads an opportunity to taste football at the highest level even if only for 20, 25, or 30 minutes.

"And it rests the senior England players from a full 90 minutes before their weekend game.

"I don't think a lot of people really realise in the modern game how much 90 minutes takes out of these players and the recovery is needed.

"I don't like international coaches that play regular first team players for the whole game when they have got weekend matches - it is not necessary in a friendly.

"I think the players in the England squad get as much out of training together as they do in the actual match so why not let him look at as many players as he wants to in friendlies.

"In the last 15 minutes of the under-21 game at Upton Park I was greatly concerned for Jermain Defoe, though. He was kept on for the whole 90 minutes and it didn't seem necessary to do that at all, especially when Ashton of Crewe and Bent at Ipswich would have been desperate to have a run out.

"I was sitting there expecting him to be taken off on the 70 minute mark but he has had to play the full 90 minutes.

"Jermain being the character he is, he did some training on Thursday but he could have picked up an injury on Tuesday.

"Glenn Hoddle must be pulling his hair out, with Fredi Kanoute injured and Robbie Keane getting injured for Ireland and so must Alan Curbishley, with Matt Holland coming off and probably not available for Charlton this week.

"The stakes are so high at club football now it is a great concern for managers and they are right to be concerned.

"I think Sven-Goran Eriksson shows a very good responsibility to club managers, bearing in mind that he has been a club manager for many years all over Europe, and the players he worked with are obviously all top internationals.

"He would have those concerns that his internationals come back fit for the weekend game.

"So rather than criticise him I think people should show more common sense and realise that he is having a look at all these players and at the same time protecting them for their clubs.

"For me he is absolutely correct doing that and he will have the full support of all club managers."