Representing your country in an international tournament is a matter of immense pride. With many of the European Leagues flushed with competition and revenue, they’re a large number of successful and established footballers that aren’t really considered good enough to get national team call-ups and it always pains them throughout their careers.
Mikel Arteta, for instance, was an extremely good and consistent midfielder, had a distinguished career in the Premier League but couldn’t get a single cap for Spain. They’re several other examples of players like him who’ve never been able to make their dreams of playing for their country a reality despite making it as a professional footballer.
Even established players find it hard to keep their places in the national team, especially in the powerhouse countries of European football because of the constant competition and flurry of talented players their nation produces.
In this piece, we’ll take a look at some of the players who were lucky to get called up to their national team squads for Euro 2016, some of whom may yet go on to make a significant impact on the tournament.
1) Daniele De Rossi - Italy
It might seem odd to see a player of his stature and experience in this list, but the truth is that the Roma dynamo would have missed out on the Italy squad if not for a spate of injuries to their best midfielders.
The Roma legend was ignored by Conte along with Andrea Pirlo for several matches and it seemed both of the mainstays of the Italian midfield from the last decade or so would now be replaced.
But injuries to Claudio Marchisio, Marco Verratti and Riccardo Montolivo meant that Italy were bare in numbers and experience in the middle of the park and the Roma midfield general had to be called upon. He didn’t disappoint in the game against the Belgians, even if he doesn’t yet have 90 minutes in his legs and is still reaching full fitness. If he reaches the levels that we all know he’s capable off, he’ll be a ferocious presence in the middle of the park for the Italians.