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Dean Ashton Describes The "Cold" And Cliquey Experience Of Being In An England Squad

Dean Ashton Describes The "Cold" And Cliquey Experience Of Being In An England Squad
By Mikey Traynor Updated

Former West Ham and Norwich City striker Dean Ashton only ever made one cap for England which came at the age of 24 in 2008, although he was called up for a number of squads from 2006 onwards, and judging by his experiences with the other players in the squad it appears as though he didn't miss out on much.

The England squads of a decade or so ago were mistakenly referred to as England's "golden generation" due to the immense talent at their disposal, namely David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, and Wayne Rooney, and their failures at major tournaments are looked back on as missed opportunities, but when you hear details like the ones Ashton told to Talksport, you begin to get an idea as to why.

Ashton explained that playing for England at that time was a very cold experience, and that it could be compared to your first day in a new school due to the cliques that were formed between players at the same club.

I was warned beforehand that it could be a bit cliquey - with the Liverpool boys sticking together, Manchester United, Chelsea - and it very much was like that.

There was very much a feeling of when you first go into a classroom and no one really wants to talk to you.

I mean, I was there for a few days, and there were some senior players that didn’t speak to me for the whole time I was there, which I just found as totally bizarre.

They were senior players such as Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney; David Beckham was very quiet.

I just thought the experience would be different, but it wasn’t. It was very cold in the way I got into the squad, and it was lucky that there were other players from the Under-21s, because it’s like the newbies all sit together.

Ashton then revealed that one player had made an effort to make him feel welcome, and that was then-skipper John Terry who texted him upon the squad announcement and then greeted him when he arrived.

What I was surprised about, was that he [Terry] actually text me the night before and just said ‘fantastic to see you’re in the squad’. Then he actually came and met me at reception, when I first got there, which I just thought was class. That’s what a captain of England, you’d think, would do.

It all sounds a bit like something out of 'Mean Girls', and surprisingly Terry comes out of a former footballer's story looking good.

That England squad was full of star names, but they never truly performed as a team and hearing something like this should come as no surprise to anyone who saw their exits from Euro 2004, the World Cup in 2006, or their failure to qualify for Euro 2008.

You can hear more from Ashton's interview over on Talksport.com

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