Roy Keane believes Wayne Bridge’s decision to make himself unavailable for England selection is further evidence that “international football is no longer the pinnacle” for top players.
Bridge released a statement earlier this week ruling himself out of contention for this summer’s World Cup.
The Manchester City left-back said his position in the England squad had become “untenable” after allegations of an affair between England defender and former Chelsea team-mate John Terry and his former partner Vanessa Perroncel were published.
Keane backed Bridge’s decision, having quit international football prematurely himself – albeit for entirely different reasons.
Keane told the Daily Mail: “International football is no longer the pinnacle for players. The pinnacle now is getting the big contract, the Bentley and the blonde.”
The Ipswich boss walked out of the Republic of Ireland’s training camp prior to the 2002 World Cup after a row with team management over facilities at their base.
Although the circumstances surrounding Bridge’s decision to quit are completely different, Keane understands the player’s need to make a stand.
He said: “Do you want to go away for six weeks with other players who you are not comfortable with and who are maybe showing you a lack of respect?
“In my case it was the principle of working with people who questioned me and I said: ’I’m not putting up with it’ – simple as that.
“It chipped away at me. People say ’go with the flow’ but do you know what goes with the flow? Dead fish.
“A player’s mindset is sometimes more important than winning the World Cup.”