Martin Dowey’s weekly column: Minimal interest in the international scene

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I DIDN’T think I’d ever say it, but international football is swiftly becoming a huge bore for me.

Looking at Tuesday night’s attendance for the friendly match at Wembley against Sweden, I don’t think I’m alone in this.

Sweden's Martin Olsson (right) and England's Jack Rodwell (left) battle for the ball during the International Friendly at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 15, 2011. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to FA restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the FA. No editing except cropping. Call +44 (0) 1158 447447 or see www.paphotos.com/info/ for full restrictions and further information

Sweden's Martin Olsson (right) and England's Jack Rodwell (left) battle for the ball during the International Friendly at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 15, 2011. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to FA restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the FA. No editing except cropping. Call +44 (0) 1158 447447 or see www.paphotos.com/info/ for full restrictions and further information

In the past, I used to watch every one of England’s matches without fail. Be it a championship game or even a friendly encounter against some country like Andorra.

If Boro were away on a Saturday and England were playing, I’d make sure I stopped off to take in the match, mainly because I was interested.

I can recall stopping off on the way back from Burton Albion on a late Saturday afternoon in Rotherham. The pub certainly wasn’t the most pleasant, but England were playing.

I’m not sure how or why but I just can’t be bothered with it anymore. I was driving back from Retford on Saturday and I elected to listen to some 1980s classics rather than hearingAlan Green’s dreary summaries of England’s Spanish inquisition.

It isn’t just because of players like the dour John Terry and Frank Lampard and the tedious stories that constantly surround them. Even the supposed exciting new faces like Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere don’t interest me.

I was actually pretty chuffed that Boro were taking on Staveley at Queensgate on Tuesday night, just so I didn’t have to watch the England and Sweden encounter.

It is never easy shaking Holby City off the television on a Tuesday, but I have found an App on my iPod that does allow me to watch telly - and no doubt I would have battled through that.

A few years ago I would have leapt at the chance to watch Martin Dahlin and Tomas Brolin doing battle against Carlton Palmer and Keith Curle - seriously - but now it just doesn’t have the attraction.

For a start I can only name a couple of Swedish players and I have no desire to watch Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who himself has the pace of my coffee cup, out-stripping the England back-four.

Part of the problem for me is the realisation that England will never win anything ever again.

They may have beaten Spain on Saturday, but watching the highlights because I couldn’t find the remote control, the Spanish didn’t press the clutch once to alter the gear from neutral.

We are heading towards another European Championships in a few months time and my excitement levels may change, but I’m confident that they won’t alter that much.

Damp squibs are something England can do so well. The amount of time I have been let down by my international team is untrue.

Since I have been watching my country on the biggest stage, the best we have done in a tournament is fourth. That for me is them doing superbly well.

Since the days of handballing Argentines and missed penalties, things have been swept quickly downhill.

Now we find ourselves being mullered by a steady-away German team after a dismal group stage.

At times I have pondered growing a goatee, donning a sombrero and switching allegiances to Spain, but you can’t really do that with international football, well unless you are a bit strange.

I will probably watch the tournament, as I did the awful World Cup, and by the second round stage I’ll be wishing I hadn’t.

If you look at the line-up for the competition there aren’t many teams that we look able to beat.

I just can’t see Darren Bent catching fire and imitating Gary Lineker in the goal-scoring charts. We don’t have anyone capable of doing that anymore.

I’m sure the only highlight for me this summer will be the new foreign star that ITV roll out with a tremendous ability for talking nonsense.

I’m backing it to be Basile Boli, Jean-Pierre Papin or Marco Boogers. Any one of them would be a great find.