Not to be used exclusively as a time to link up with your fellow countrymen to hone seldom-practiced strategies for the footballing betterment of your nation, the international break also comes in handy when a player wants to moan about their club situation.
Romelu Lukaku was one of many Belgians who made comments they’d never get away with on their respective local rags, telling reporters in his homeland:
“[The Champions League] is the next step for me. I’m 23 next summer and I think it would be nice to play in the Champions League from next season.”
Marooned in 12th after a bitterly disappointing campaign, Everton certainly won’t be involved in the game’s most glamorous competition so Lukaku – 5/1 to be Premier League top scorer – will have to leave if he wants to be a part of it.
Here is the crux of the striker’s quandary, however, as the Toffees aren’t in the business of shedding prized assets.
Roberto Martinez’s men set a precedent last summer when they resolutely rejected numerous Chelsea approaches for John Stones, with offers from west London reaching up to £40m according to reports.
This sizeable financial force was made all the more difficult to resist with Stones attempting to force the sale from within, but everybody’s best efforts to get the 21-year-old out of Goodison Park were eventually thwarted.
What’s more is this defiance came despite Everton having two centre-backs superior to the gifted defender on the books already in Ramiro Funes Mori and Phil Jagielka. The duo has since established themselves as Martinez’s first choice stoppers.
There’s nothing peripheral about Lukaku though, whose 18 goals and six assists in the Premier League make him the single most important member of their squad.
If these stats alone didn’t make him eye-wateringly expensive, the fact that he cost £28m to sign certainly will.
But in what ballpark can Everton expect a bid for their superstar striker?
Lukaku is two years into a five-year deal inked in 2014, is a consistent goalscorer who is surfing a notable upward trajectory in ability, has vast international experience and has a stellar health record that has enabled him to make over 30 Premier League appearances in each completed campaign since 2012/13.
Net-bulging know how aside, all the same could have been said about Gareth Bale in 2013, the year Real Madrid paid a world-record £85m to sign him.
The Welshman was as integral to Tottenham Hotspur as Lukaku is to Everton now, while he was just a year further on than the Toffees titan in his development when sold.
Spurs’ reputation as notoriously tough negotiators may have driven the price up, but the Merseysiders proved themselves in this department through the Stones saga and there’s no reason why they can’t demand a similar sum as the one Bale fetched.