Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes that international friendlies have become a "worthless" exercise and labelled them "a waste of time" compared with major championships.
In the wake of England's wave of withdrawals ahead of Tuesday's friendly with Ghana, Feguson claimed that friendlies are devalued by players not turning up for international duty.
"I am all in favour of the competitions. The players should play in the major competitions; the European Championship, the World Cup,'' Ferguson told US digital station Sirius XM.
"But friendlies are a waste of time as far as I am concerned. We always say that. It is understandable for the coach. They have the players for a period when they can influence them and can build and shape their team.
"I can understand that completely. But every time there are friendlies you get six or seven call offs. It is sometimes worthless for the manager to build on that because of the lack of players.''
The irony of Ferguson's comments will not be lost on most football onlookers, as the United boss has developed a reputation over the years for pulling players out of friendly matches more regularly than most.
He nervously watched the weekend's international programme unfold as the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Nani, Antonio Valencia, Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans turned out for their respective countries.
But there were no fresh injuries to worry the Scot, who is preparing his players to fight for silverware on three fronts in a packed run-in.