So often in pubs before and after games, no doubt up and down the country, people will bring up the subject of club or country. Professional footballers will no doubt have a different view depending on who their club or nation is. Then you have football supporters, who once again are split.

It can also come down to how well your club or country are performing at the time. If you were to ask me, it would be club before country. Now that isn’t mean in a negative way towards England because I watch and support all their games but the one big difference is I have no desire to pay for a ticket to watch England. I have done this in the past, but I would much rather be going to Villa Park or heading down to the capital to support Villa. I guess it comes down to the amount of time I put into supporting Villa. I run a website for one!

Anyway, the main reason for this article is because of the situation the two Emi’s (Emi Buendia and Emi Martinez) found themselves in over the past fortnight or so.

Country Pride

I am sure most would agree that players from South America appear to be more passionate when it comes to representing their country, especially when you compare them to European born players. Of course, I could be wrong?

The Premier League banned South American players from travelling to red-listed counties during this international break. Buendia and Martinez, alongside two Tottenham players, went against the Premier League but with Aston Villa’s permission to link up with their country.

Argentina beat Venezuela 3-1 in their first game and everything all seemed to be OK apart from Buenda not even being named on the bench. It was a few days later when Argentina travelled to Brazil that it all kicked off.

The game was suspended amid farcical scenes when Brazilian health authorities marched onto the pitch accusing the Premier League based players of violating the country’s COVID-19 quarantine rules, despite the players being in the country a few days prior to the match.

International Douglas Luiz

The Premier League based players have been accused of lying on documents claiming they had not been in the UK within the last 14 days. Of course, we don’t know how reliable this is and probably never will do. Either way, questions should be asked of Aston Villa, the players and the countries they represent. All of this should have been researched.

Where does this leave players in the future?

So where does this leave the South American players in the future? There are more games due to be played in October and will we leave ourselves in a similar position? Both Emi’s will have to miss the Chelsea game this weekend due to UK quarantine rules. In the future, you may have to add Douglas Luiz to that list also, not to mention the African born players.

Can Villa afford to be without these players for a period of time after every international break?

The Telegraph are this evening reporting that the UK government could relax the rules for Premier League players to prevent and club v country wars moving forward. But if they don’t where does that leave Villa?

Although we are improving, we can’t afford to be missing our best players. Equally, it’s not as simple as saying they can’t go and upsetting the morale. I have seen so many say that the clubs pay the wages so they should do as they’re told but it isn’t as simple as that is it?

I am unsure of the solution, truth be told. I can’t work out how the club can protect itself while also keeping the players happy.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The answer is greater squad depth. If players might not walk straight back into the team it might influence their thinking. I wonder if Tom Heaton was still around would Martinez have been so keen to go? It took him ten years to get a No 1 shirt in the premier league. So ultimately it is down to Club decisions on transfers.

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