Steve Cook believes some of his AFC Bournemouth team-mates would receive international call-ups if they played for “more fashionable clubs”.
The Cherries central defender made his comments in a recent press conference when asked about the chances of some of his colleagues earning England call-ups.
Cook has been one of the stand-out performers in Eddie Howe’s side this season and the Dorset club seem set to confirm their place in next season’s Premier League campaign. But Cook feels some of his team-mates can feel hard done by that they were not included in recent international fixtures.
Cook believes big-club bias exists at international level
A victory over strugglers Aston Villa on Saturday would take the Cherries beyond the 40-points total - which is seen as the target for clubs aiming to avoid relegation – and Cook feels some of his colleagues were harshly overlooked during the last England squad selection.
Cook says that English players employed by bigger clubs “stand more chance” of getting into Roy Hodgson’s international plans than players “who play for the likes of us (Bournemouth).”
There were also rumours that Hodgson was a keen admirer of Bournemouth left-back Charlie Daniels, but the defender was eventually not called upon. Tottenham Hotspur's Danny Rose ended up cementing his place as the Three Lions’ first-choice left-back heading into the summer’s European Championships, where England are expected to vastly improve on their recent form in tournaments.
However, Cook did go on to concede that it “would have been a huge surprise” to see Bournemouth players included in the latest round of England international fixtures due to the fact the club have “only had eight months” in the Premier League.
Bournemouth youngsters have time on their side
The 24-year-old’s outburst is slightly surprising given the amount of highly talented players who played for England in the friendlies against Germany and Netherlands. Although, Cook remains positive that time is still on the side of Bournemouth’s young squad.
Cook says many of the Cherries’ players are “still young” and “hungry”, while adding that the “previous dream was to reach the Premier League” - which they achieved last year - and now the dream has become to “play for your country”.
Bournemouth were strong pre-season favourites to suffer relegation in their maiden top-flight season, but safety can be confirmed at the expense of Saturday’s relegation-bound opponents.
A win would lift Howe’s side onto 41 points, while the Villains need maximum points and Crystal Palace to beat Norwich City to have any hope of sparking a dramatically late revival.