The England squad will be announced on 1st June which will mean that 7 of the provisional 30 man squad will be left out. It is up to some of those players to convince the manager in 2 games that they should be retained for a finals place in South Africa when they play Mexico and Japan in the coming weeks.
There are several bones of contention already that have seriously questioned Capello’s previous comments regarding selection. He announced in one of his first few press conferences that players would only be selected if they were in form and playing for their clubs week in week out. The selection of Green, James, Upson, Ferdinand, Carrick, Wright-Philips, Walcott and Heskey demonstrates this is no longer the case. It has been revealed that he made last ditch attempts to talk Paul Scholes out of retirement and who would blame him for that but why wasn’t this done months ago. It reeks of desperation which is something that has not been evident during Capello’s reign.
He is backing 2 keepers who have played for struggling sides and one who has never played European, let alone international football. All the while Paul Robinson has been turning in outstanding performances every week for Blackburn Rovers. He has kept more clean sheets than any other English keeper but is still deemed surplus to requirements. In defence Upson and Warnock should drop out of the squad when it is announced. Upson has been playing for a struggling side and is not good enough to get into a squad on merit. Warnock has had a good season but has looked out of his depth when up against top class players.
At the moment there are 12 midfielders in the provisional squad which would indicate 4 are going to make way. The England midfield is something that has not worked as efficiently or as effectively as they should have done for a long time. The fact that Capello has gone to Scholes shows he has concerns over the personnel in that position. The 4 to go should be Huddlestone, Carrick, Walcott and Wright-Philips. Although Spurs have had a great season the central midfield is an area they must look to strengthen next season, Huddlestone’s range of passing is excellent but his mobility will always limit him reaching the top. Carrick has clearly fallen out of favour at United and is rumoured to be one of the ones sold on this summer, he has been exposed at the highest level against the best midfields. Walcott and Wright-Philips could be taken as impact players but in truth neither is good enough to play at the highest level as both have demonstrated on countless occasions for their clubs.
The striking option is probably the most straightforward for Capello. Although Heskey hasn’t been playing regularly for Villa he has proved himself time and again at International level partnering England’s best striker. Crouch is not overly blessed in natural ability but his record against the poorer nations will ensure he is retained. It will be a straight shoot out between Defoe and Bent for the final place and Defoe has done just enough to keep his place. He is a limited player who seems to disappear against the better sides but should expose the weaker teams.
The team possess a squad that is capable of getting to the final stages of the tournament but Capello must stick to his original ideology. He should pick form players and have options of players who can make the difference in tight situations like Joe Cole and Adam Johnson. The team for the finals should be:
Johnson G. King Terry Cole A
Lennon Milner Lampard Gerrard