Gabriel Agbonlahor Reveals Dislike for England Duty Due to Club Cliques
Aston Villa legend Gabriel Agbonlahor has opened up about his experience with the England national team, expressing his dislike for international duty due to the presence of cliques formed by players from big clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea. Agbonlahor, who represented England on five occasions, revealed that he felt excluded from the “big club” player’s table during his time with the Three Lions under manager Fabio Capello.
During his time with the national team, Agbonlahor was part of the renowned “Golden Generation,” which included players like Rio Ferdinand, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, and Steven Gerrard. While Agbonlahor considered it an honor to represent his country, he admitted that he despised training with the squad during international duty.
Feeling Excluded from the Big Club Cliques
In an interview with talkSPORT, Agbonlahor shared his experience, saying, “I hated it. Going to the camp is what people hated doing—not playing for your country—that was a big achievement and honor. It was going away like Fabio Capello was like a school teacher; you get there, and it is like Man United players, little cliques.”
Agbonlahor recalled instances where he and players from West Ham and Everton were forced to sit together because they weren’t part of the top clubs. He expressed his frustration, stating, “With the players from the big clubs, it was like, who are you sitting with? I might be sitting with Matthew Upson, Stewart Downing, and Phil Jagielka, the players that weren’t at the top clubs. It was like you can’t sit there—the Man City or Chelsea boys are there. They had their half of the dining table; that’s what I did not like.”
Despite his dislike for the cliques, Agbonlahor emphasized that playing for his country was a significant honor. He made three appearances for England, with his last being a World Cup qualifier in October 2009 against Belarus.
Gareth Southgate’s England squad will be in action next on Monday night against North Macedonia in a Euro 2024 qualifier.