Roy Hodgson is urging English football not to lose sight of the importance of international combat.
The England coach is already having to cope with the absence of four key players for the forthcoming friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil.
More worrying though are the issue of post-season friendlies for Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham that will take away key figures from his squad and deny them the week's rest he was hoping for.
It means, instead of meeting up refreshed and ready for the encounter with the Republic at Wembley on May 29, Joe Hart, Frank Lampard and company will, almost literally, be stepping off a plane and heading straight to St George's Park for the start of the build up.
That scenario is not one Hodgson envisaged, leading him to make an emotional plea on behalf of the international game.
"I don't think I can ever stop emphasizing how important playing for England should be," he said.
"If we're not careful...