WIGAN boss Roberto Martinez has backed calls for the re-introduction of the old Home Internationals.
The inaugural Carling Nations Cup kicked off last night with the Republic of Ireland taking on Wales, while Scotland face Northern Ireland tonight – both in Dublin.
There will be six games in all before the new champions are crowned, with organisers hoping the competition will generate the kind of intensity – if not the crowd trouble – of the old Home Internationals that were eventually scrapped in 1984.
England are, of course, not involved this time round, but there have been suggestions that the Three Lions could be included in future years if problems such as fixture congestion can be circumnavigated.
And Martinez [pictured] believes Fabio Capello’s side would have plenty to gain from taking part in such a tournament.
He said: “I can only see it as a positive idea, and probably the youngsters in the countries involved would benefit more than anyone.
“I also think as a competition it would unite the British game – it would just be a real positive.
“I think it’s important as a federation that you try and help other countries as much as you can, and playing games such as these would be a unique opportunity to do that.”
The Spaniard also rejected the notion that a series of matches against teams who play in a similar fashion would further expose England’s shortcomings when they come round to facing the likes of Germany and his homeland at major tournaments.
“No, I think it’s about more than football,” Martinez added.
“You need to be able to adapt from one game to another these days – the days of always playing at the same tempo and a real pace have gone.
“If you look at the teams playing in the Premier League and then the Champions League, they play with complete different manner and play with different tempo on a weekly basis.
“That goes down to the maturity these teams develop.
“I think it would be very positive to try to develop that at international level, and assemble a squad of players that know how to play in different ways when you play against team like Spain or Brazil or another sort of style.
“That would benefit you more than just being limited to just one dimension of playing.
“It would open up the kind of ways you can approach a game of football, and would be a massive positive – especially for the younger generation.”