No reason why Norwich City’s Grant Holt shouldn’t play for England

Tempted as I have been, I have resisted writing an article about Grant Holt this season. The main reason is that I know one poor choice of word or phrase could result in a whole season’s relentless ribbing from my friends and colleagues on the committee and beyond.

Now however I feel obliged to add to the ever increasing numbers of articles, forum posts and blogs that have been written recently on the subject of Holt’s possible inclusion in the England squad.

Of course in an ideal world we wouldn’t even be looking at this. If we had the likes of, for example, a Gert Muller or a Mario Kempes available to partner, or stand in for Wayne Rooney, nobody would be talking about Grant Holt. But the fact is England find themselves in a shambles (I can’t believe they haven’t sorted out the manager’s position with a major tournament less than two months away). We haven’t any world class strikers at our disposal, and we need to look at what alternatives are available. Grant Holt is one of those alternatives.

I’m not a huge England fan. I wouldn’t normally be too bothered one way or the other, whether or not a City player gets chosen to represent the country. I have seen what can happen. I know only too well from bitter experience that being selected for international duty can signal the imminent departure of the player concerned. Chris Sutton and Kevin Reeves are examples that spring to mind. I have also watched Dean Ashton’s career ended as a result of an injury sustained playing for England. I know what happened to Dean is very rare, but nevertheless it can happen. If Grant Holt gets a serious injury, I would rather he got it playing for Norwich City than for England.

And injuries apart, it could all go horribly wrong. He could fail miserably, and come back a different player from the brash, confident, goalscoring talisman that opposition fans and managers love to hate.

It could on the other hand go well. In a perfect world, he is selected, and has a ‘Roy of the Rovers tournament’. I can see the ‘Tyre fitter to a national hero’ headlines now. Other clubs might certainly try to prise him away from us after the tournament, but Paul Lambert will put up the ‘not for sale’ signs.

Grant Holt certainly has lots going for him. He scores lots of goals, he is passionate (something sadly lacking in a lot of the esatblished England players), he knows how to behave himself off the pitch, and not least who else is there?

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So there are probably more reasons to pick him than not. But what has really galvanised me into a ‘Grant Holt for England’ disciple, is the football authority that is Mark Lawrenson. Nothing gets under my skin more than an injustice. And we certainly had one in the form of the expert analysis handed out by the so called BBC fountain of football knowledge a couple of weeks back on Match of the Day. When asked if Grant Holt should be selected to play for England, he answered ‘No’. There was a polite pause while his fellow conspirators expected him to elaborate, but all that followed was another resounding ‘No’. No reasons, explanations, or justifications. Now I believe the term ‘pundit’ refers to someone who raises, discusses and gives a opinion. We had none of those things from this self important busybody. Just a decree that Grant Holt should not play for England.

I didn’t like that much. And what would please me more than anything in the world, is that Holt is selected to play for England, does well and Mr Lawrenson ends up with egg on his face. I would like that MOTD clip to become Mark Lawrenson’s ‘Michael Fish’ moment, I would like to see it over and over again on Youtube, for the pleasure of Norwich City fans everywhere.