Big-ego England players care more about clubs, says Keane

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LONDON, Nov. 22 (Reuters) Sunderland manager Roy Keane said today that he felt some England players had inflated egos and were so obsessed by club football that they no longer cared about the international game.

The former Ireland midfielder said he understood why Steve McClaren was sacked as manager following England's 3-2 home defeat by Croatia that ended their Euro 2008 hopes but added that there were more fundamental problems with the set up.

''England should qualify with the players they have but good players don't always make a good team,'' Keane told Sky Sports News. ''Certainly last night they didn't do it. The manager pays the price but the players didn't do him any favours.

''From the outside looking in, I tend to think there are too many egos in there, too many big heads. If you get carried way with a little bit of success then you are in trouble.

''You look at the England set up and they don't appear to be a happy bunch I have to say.

''Watching the highlights and some of the players being interviewed last night and their body language, I don't think international football is that important to a lot of these players these days and club football has taken over, especially for a lot of top players involved in the Champions League.'' Keane, one of the most committed and dedicated professionals of recent years, felt the English FA was working hard to encourage the development of basic skills at grass roots level.

''You have to have the heart and passion but that only gets you so far,'' he said. ''Technically you have to be able to handle the ball and these top countries who win tournaments have that.'' REUTERS PDS RN2045

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