Gus Poyet believes geography has played no part in Adam Johnson's recent England snub, insisting that it is "natural" for the top players to be playing at the top clubs.
Last week Johnson blasted the international set-up after Roy Hodgson omitted him from the latest squad despite a blistering run of form prior to selection. Poyet can understand the winger's frustration, but he apparently doesn't agree with his reasoning.
He told reporters:
I know what he means but I don't think it's a south, a west or a north-east situation, it's about performing – and the best players usually play in the best teams.
It's not about location. It's about showing something special, showing that you're a star. If you perform well and you are consistent you are going to get there.
I think what is glaringly obvious here is that Poyet hasn't been at Sunderland long-enough to see what the vast majority of the rest do.
Darren Bent scored 24 goals here. That was quite special and consistent, yet he didn't "get there". Kevin Phillips did something very special indeed here and didn't "get there". There is just a bit too much history really for many fans to give England the benefit of the doubt.
Then there is also the presence of players like Andros Townsend and Tom Cleverley in the England squad. They are good players, even the latter, but I don't see how an argument could possibly be made that they are in the squad on merit.
Sorry Gus, I'm just not buying it. The evidence just doesn't stack. Unless he is just trying to dangle a carrot in front of a key player for the run-in, of course...