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Oct 10, 2012

Wright: England players look scared

Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes players do not enjoy representing England due to the pressure from the press and the fans.

• Complacency worry for Hart
• Rooney ready to lead

Wright struggled to replicate his club form when he was given his chance to shine at international and, with the country continuing to struggle at international level, the former Arsenal star puts the blame on the weight of expectation.

"The guys still look scared playing for England and that fear factor is something I can associate with," Wright told ESPN. "I remember feeling pressure from the press and the fans when I pulled on an England shirt and that is still the situation to this day.

"I'm not sure how much the lads enjoy playing for England these days and it's hard to play at your best if you're not enjoying it.

"That is one of the reasons why I don't believe we will see England winning a major tournament for a long time. I'm an optimist and I'd love to say we have a chance in the 2014 World Cup, but we lack the flair you need compete with the best teams. We saw that against Ukraine last month, when we struggled for long periods and did well to get a draw."

Wright claims he may have been the first name on the England team-sheet if he was playing in the current era as the lack of striking talent is one of the more pressing issues for coach Roy Hodgson ahead of the upcoming qualifiers with San Marino and Poland.

"I'd love to be around now from an England perspective because we don't have anywhere near the depth of strikers we had back in my day," Wright, who scored four goals against San Marino back in 1993, said.

"I had the likes of Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham, Michael Owen, Les Ferdinand and Robbie Fowler around when I was trying to play for England. The depth was fantastic and it was other areas of the field that weren't working for us.

"Times have changed and now we have got to the stage where we have a little guy like Raheem Sterling getting called up to the England squad after 200 minutes of action in the Premier League. How stupid is that? Why bring a kid like that into the squad, when it would be better to ease him into the Under-21 squad and grow in the Liverpool team."

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