Parker defends senior stars

  • Last Updated: March 21 2013, 10:21 GMT

Scott Parker points to Ryan Giggs as the reason why no-one should be getting too worked up about dates on the birth certificates of Roy Hodgson's England squad.

Parker defends senior stars

At 34, Rio Ferdinand was viewed as the answer to Hodgson's central defensive woes before he pulled out due to his "intricate" training programme.

Even so, the contingent of over-30s within the England fold is quite large.

Parker, now 32, is one of them, so too skipper Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. Joleon Lescott and Michael Carrick are also in the same club, and Ben Foster will be at the beginning of next month.

Yet Parker insists there is no need for concern.

The Tottenham midfielder watched 39-year-old Giggs produce a virtuoso performance against Real Madrid a couple of weeks ago.

And he believes that provided all the proof needed to ignore those pesky dates of birth.

"I don't get the age one really," he said.

"People are too hell-bent on age, whether it's bringing players through or others being too old.

"If someone is good enough and playing at their best, you pick them.

"Maybe it's because I am 32, but I saw Ryan Giggs playing against Real Madrid in the Champions League. He was doing more running than anyone else.

"I don't buy into the debate at all."

Although he made his England debut in 2003, it was not for another eight years that Parker really started to make his mark on the Three Lions squad, by which time he had already celebrated his 30th birthday.

Little wonder therefore that Parker wants to extend his England career as long as possible, a feeling that only intensified during an absence from the international fold stretching back to the Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat by Italy in June, after which the midfielder was forced to undergo surgery on a worrying Achilles complaint.

"I had the Achilles problem at the back end of the season and missed the last eight games trying to get right for the summer," he said.

"I didn't go into the Euros in any massive pain but I pushed it a little bit too far.

"It caused me problems at the beginning of this season so I needed to get it sorted."

In the meantime, England have moved on significantly.

It has not so much been on the pitch where change has been implemented, even though Roy Hodgson has been able to stamp his authority on the set-up to a far greater extent than he was prior to last summer's tournament.

The main change is that England have moved into St George's Park, their state-of-the-art base at Burton.

As a former pupil at the old FA School of Excellence at Lilleshall, Parker understands the benefits that can be created by a 'club' England culture.

And he believes St George's Park can generate such a feeling.

"It's an inspiring place," he said.

"The first thing I said to Jermain Defoe, and some of the other boys who went to Lilleshall, was that it does bring back those memories.

"When Lilleshall shut down there was no real identity.

"You need to look at England like being at a club. Before, it hasn't seemed like that, probably because you are not at the same place every day.

"When you have a base, a place you recognise as somewhere you come to all the time - it can only help."

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