Being fine professional doesn’t automatically guarantee an international call-up and this list of ten players in the gallery above can certainly testify to that.
With the ongoing international break and the numerous first-time call-ups on show, it’s incredible to think that these players never got the nod despite enjoying outstanding club careers.
It was certainly a lot harder to break into the national team set-up in years gone by.
Is there anyone currently playing who you think should earn an international debut?
Here’s our top ten…
THORSTEN FINK – GERMANY
Obviously not the most spectacular player but efficient and reliable nonetheless. How a player who won four Bundesliga titles, three German Cups and one European Cup with Bayern Munich didn’t ever feature for Germany is beyond us.
PAOLO DI CANIO – ITALY
Arguably the most talented player to never play for his national team. Italy weren’t short of creative players like him during his time but they also weren’t short of scandal and controversy. They didn’t Di Canio to add to it.
HOWARD KENDALL – ENGLAND
Back when Everton won trophies, Kendall was a big part of their success as part of the feared trio that also included Alan Ball and Colin Harvey.
JIMMY CASE – ENGLAND
Another Merseyside hero snubbed. With a cannon of a shot on him, Case won 14 trophies, including four European Cups, with the all-conquering Liverpool side of the 1970s.
STEED MALBRANQUE – FRANCE
The former Tottenham, Fulham and Sunderland player was a consistent performer in the Premier League but given the wealth of talent at the national team’s disposal, he never quite met their lofty standards.
SYLVAIN DISTIN – FRANCE
Very much in the same boat as Malbranque, Distin is a stalwart. He particularly shone during his time at Everton. However, he never made the cut internationally.
STEVE BRUCE- ENGLAND
An absolute rock and leader for Manchester United but he never made it to the international scene. There’s no good reason to it really other than the fact that the English were blessed with a number of fine centre-backs at the time.
ROMAIN WEIDENFELLER – GERMANY
Despite being a regular in Jurgen Klopp’s exciting Borussia Dortmund side that took the Bundesliga and Europe by storm, the custodian was never afforded the opportunity to shine for Germany.
MIKEL ARTETA – SPAIN
The Spaniard was so good during his time at Goodison Park that England even tried to make a case to recruit him. Arteta was a fine playmaker at the time but saw his path to the Spain national team firmly blocked by the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabgregas, David Silva… (should we go on?)
MAXI LOPEZ – ARGENTINA
Another talented forward but he never achieved the level of consistency required to challenge the likes of Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain or Sergio Aguero.