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​Former Liverpool And England Defender Jamie Carragher Opens Up About His Biggest Career Regrets

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​Former Liverpool And England Defender Jamie Carragher Opens Up About His Biggest Career Regrets

Jamie Carragher has spoken about his biggest career regrets, citing his England career as a significant disappointment.

The 2005 Champions League winner spoke to fellow Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville about how he regrets not having the desire that other players had to play for England.

He felt talent, and his lack of hunger to put on the England shirt, contributed to an underwhelming international career that saw him earn just 38 caps. It's a tally of appearances that the likes of Eric Dier and David Batty surpassed.

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Carragher spent much of his England career overlooked for a starting berth in major games. Rio Ferdinand and John Terry were preferred to him for many years under both Sven-Göran Eriksson and then Fabio Capello.

Speaking to Neville on The Overlap, Carragher admitted not being top dog at the back for the Three Lions contributed to his apathy whenever the international break arrived.

"I regret that," he answered when Neville said he suspected Carragher hadn't enjoyed international football. "I'd tell a youngster to have a different mentality to what I had. I shouldn't have been a regular for England, I wasn't good enough - I wasn't better than John Terry or Rio Ferdinand or Sol Campbell.

"England is the only team in my life - starting at five years old - that I didn't dominate. And I accepted that too easily rather than was just happy to be in the squad.

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"I wouldn't say I loved it, I didn't like being away especially when you're not playing... I'm not having a go at anybody but I should have fought a bit more.

"It didn't hurt me enough not to play for England. Even when I was with them, I was thinking about Liverpool on Saturday. I always had that mentality.

"Say, Frank Lampard, he wanted to be an England player more than me. I didn't want it enough or force it enough - whether that would've been good enough I don't know. I could have done a bit more." Carragher came through the England U21s alongside Lampard, who ended up amassing 106 senior caps - nearly triple Carragher's count.

Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA
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Carragher did manage to play significant game-time at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. However, he was one of the players to miss in the quarter-final penalty shootout defeat to Portugal.

Initially, the Liverpool man slotted his spot-kick away with ease, only for the referee to order it to be retaken on the whistle. His second attempt was palmed away by goalkeeper Ricardo.

"I'd score every penalty in training. I didn't miss one in all the weeks we were there. I didn't feel nervous one bit," said the 43-year-old.

"It wasn't ideal circumstances. I turned round and didn't wait for the ref to blow the whistle. I wanted to go up with pace. I scored and the referee said take it again. And then my head was all over the place. I don't look back at that now about missing a penalty for England. I don't think people could believe I was taking a f***ing penalty!"

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Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA

It was a very different story on Merseyside, where Carragher enjoyed a distinguished 17-year career with The Reds, winning 11 trophies along the way. But there are still regrets.

"We won everything but the league," Carragher admitted regretfully. "We were competing with the best [Manchester] United, Arsenal and Chelsea team.

"Leeds and Newcastle didn't win anything, with all the money. We found a way to beat Mourinho's Chelsea - that team doesn't get enough credit.

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"I was too hard on myself, too emotionally involved for Liverpool. I'd be in a bad place if I made a mistake. I almost didn't enjoy playing, it was more relief. I was relieved when it was finished, I don't miss my playing days."

It gives an insight into just how much it meant to Carragher to play for Liverpool. His captain for many years, Steven Gerrard, has spoken about feeling a similar sort of duty about donning the famous red shirt.

The Champions League victory in 2005 was the crowning moment both in Carragher's career and for the Liverpool team of the 2000s and early 2010s. Rafa Benítez was popular because of his side's success - and got on well with Carragher - but not every player at the club enjoyed such rapport with the Spaniard.

"He was a top-class coach," Carragher stated. "Benitez took my game up a few levels.

"The British forwards - [Peter] Crouch, [Jermaine] Pennant, [Craig] Bellamy, [Robbie] Keane - [were] used to the British culture of managing. They found a problem and there was never a connection between Rafa and those type of players."

Benítez left the club in 2010, and was replaced by future England boss Roy Hodgson. Carragher continued to play for Liverpool under Hodgson's reign, and then Kenny Dalglish's - and finally hung up his boots in 2013 early on in Brendan Rodgers's tenure at Anfield.

Words by Dom Smith.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Liverpool, Football, England, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher

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