Roy Hodgson wants to put the fun back into playing for England.
It is unfair for Hodgson to be made accountable for football’s failings.
However, in the afterglow of an Olympics in which Great Britain won - and occasionally lost - with dignity, it is easy to draw comparisons with the snarling image of the national game. It is hard to imagine any prospective Olympian turning down the opportunity to compete, even if it meant anxiously waiting on standby in case someone dropped out.
Yet that is what Hodgson encountered prior to Euro 2012, when Micah Richards said no. Michael Carrick opted out too, although the uncertainty surrounding the Manchester United man’s non-selection has been resolved to the extent he is now back within the Three Lions fold.
Hodgson wants to stop it happening in the future. And for that, he needs players to enjoy the England experience.
“We’ve got to try to make sure playing for England is an enjoyable experience,” said Hodgson. “You can’t expect players to want to play somewhere where they don’t feel welcome or it’s not worthwhile.
“Playing for England should be enough of an honour. In my opinion it is. If you are selected for England and say no, you can expect people to say they don’t understand. It has a diminishing effect. Most football fans grow up wanting the chance to play for England. It’s difficult to understand when people don’t want it.
“But I am not going to force anyone to play for us. I’m going to make it attractive and hope that is motivation enough.”