Toughen up, says Razor

Ruddock has his say on England's issues and the diving debate

Last Updated: 20/10/12 12:35pm

Razor Ruddock reckons England's players need more mental strength if the nation is going to become a major force on the world stage.

The former Liverpool and Tottenham defender, who won one England cap during his career, was speaking after Roy Hodgson's side limped to a disappointing 1-1 draw in their World Cup qualifier in Poland in midweek.

Speaking to Max and Helen on Soccer AM, the notorious hard man said England's players need to be less afraid of the reaction of the fans and the media when they pull on an international shirt.

And he says they need to start playing with the confidence they show in club football.

Ruddock said: "We're not the best; we're meant to be fifth in the world or something and people believe that, but we're rubbish.

"They play different football for their clubs. When they play for their teams, the Gerrards and Rooneys, they always get clapped off. It doesn't matter who they play for, they're the kings of their teams and if their team loses they get clapped off.

"When they play for England they're under pressure and they think 'hold up, if we don't get it right we're going to get booed'. They're not used to being booed at, like me!

"You've just got to get inside their heads. You can't coach them because they're great players. Tactics are a load of rubbish; you just pass and move. You pass it to another fellow and move. You've got to get into their heads and make sure they're right in the head.

"The press don't help us because they just want us to lose, I think. If we win it's not headlines.

"I think our press want us to lose so they can hammer us. The players don't like it."

Ruddock also had his say on the diving debate that has captured the headlines in recent weeks, following high-profile incidents involving Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale.

He said we would encourage team mates to go down if they have been genuinely fouled, but he says he never feigned an injury during his playing days.

"I've been hurt loads of times, but when I played you were never allowed to show them you were hurt," he said.

"If someone smashed me I would jump back up and a minute later I'd be like: 'ouch, that hurt'.

"If players roll around you're not hurt. If you're hurt then you stay still. The worst thing in the world when you're hurt is to start moving because that hurts even more!

"There are times when a centre-forward has gone through and been clipped and he hasn't gone down I've told him: 'next time, go down'. If you're losing 1-0 you should go down!

"But if players dive I make sure I stamp on them or something! It's not big and it's not clever!"