Tag Archives: England

Who is to blame for Walcott’s omission?

  • Shocked Walcott wishes team ‘best of luck’
  • Martin Keown says Walcott is ‘a one-trick pony’

Arsenal’s Theo Walcott was the surprise omission from England manager Fabio Capello’s final 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.

However, despite the media’s best efforts to blow up the Italian’s decision, many people in the game saw it coming.

Chris Waddle pretty much called it earlier in the year, when he said Walcott didn’t have a “football brain”.

Okay. So, we’ve got over the shock of Walcott being left out. The real question lies in why has the 21-year-old – who Capello crowned “one of our most important players” back in March – not progressed since his move from Southampton to the Gunners back in 2006?

Who’s to blame?

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown told BBC 5live he believes Walcott has plenty to work on if he is to fulfill his full potential:

“He has become a bit of a one-trick pony in terms of going for the line. People just double up on him.

“When he has got time and space then he finds it a problem and he has got to sort that out with hisĀ game.

Keown, who made 42 appearances for England, feels the youngster’s loss of form is partly down to his current club manager Arsene Wenger:

“Under Capello it seemed as if he has been getting it right in the main, under Wenger, no, there has been a problem, whether or not that is the coaches’ fault, it has to be the players, he has just not played enough games.

I would have to agree with Keown’s observations. I’d also like to add that Walcott has suffered a number of serious injuries in the last couple of seasons. Exhibit A, B and C.

Wenger should be partly blamed for Walcott’s poor performances on the pitch, simply for playing him out of position.

The striker – yes striker not winger – has played on the right and left side of Arsenal’s midfield and has even played at right-back on the odd occasion as a substitute.

He has largely been used to help balance the team out as opposed to playing to hisĀ true strengths.

Support

When the Arsenal manager signed him, he said Walcott would eventually lead the line up front.

Well, after four years and now an omission from England’s World Cup squad, I think it’s time Walcott played in his best position and where he prefers to.

After surfing the web in search of support for Theo Walcott, this is all I could find.

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England’s not-so-magnificent seven

  • Spurs’ Dawson and Huddlestone expected to miss out
  • Football pundits say Walcott should not go to South Africa

England manager Fabio Capello will today announce his final 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.

The Italian will have to tell seven players that their World Cup dream is over – but that’s easier said than done.

England have played two recent warm-up matches against Mexico and Japan, and despite winning both, the results were disappointingly not matched by the performance.

Sunday’s 2-1 win over Japan was by far the most worrying. Think it’s safe to say that Capello went with his strongest back four of Johnson-Ferdinand-Terry-Cole. But he also added one or two players who were still fighting to get on that plane to Africa.

Huddlestone fails to impress

Tom Huddlestone partnered Frank Lampard in midfield, whilst Darren Bent was given a run out alongside Wayne Rooney. Unfortunately neither did themselves a favour, with both struggling throughout the entire time they were on the pitch.

For all the Spurs midfielder’s technique on the ball, he lacks pace and is too slow at international level. Japan pressed our midfield admirably at the weekend and deserved to go in at half-time one up, yet they did so due to our inept performance off the ball.

Huddlestone looked one step behind everyone, taking one too many touches and far too long to pass it. Yes it was a warm-up match, but it must have been a concern to Capello to see a young, supposedly hungry player, lack commitment and determination in his battle to make the final squad.

Bent was his normal self. It seems strange Capello and the England fans watch in anticipation as the Sunderland striker gets a chance to impress- again. Yet he’s played plenty of games for England for us to realise what he offers the side.

We continually observe with baited breath as to whether Bent can reproduce his fantastic goalscoring domestically, only to be shown time and again that he cannot. I think it’s time to be bold and brave and admit that Bent is not international material.

Parker must be disappointed

Why Scott Parker did not get a game, or at least a substitutes appearance, is beyond me. Against Mexico and Japan England’s midfield was clearly lacking a combative player who would courageously compete for possession. The West Ham captain is that player.

With Gareth Barry’s injury still making him a doubt for the tournament, a player tough in the tackle who sits in front of the defence should be a top priority for the England boss.

We found out that Carrick couldn’t do it against Mexico or Huddlestone versus Japan – a team who are placed 45th in Fifa’s World rankings.

And we already know Gerard and Lampard play like two bemused strangers in the centre of midfield. So, if Barry fails to recover, who can Capello rely on? There is now no room for experimenting. From 12th June, every match counts.

Walcott out?

So, is Arsenal’s Theo Walcott in danger of missing out this summer?

Former Tottenham player Alan Mullery said he would leave the striker behind as he’s failed to impress in his recent performances for England.

Mullery also said that England should pick a similar side to the one that beat Croatia 4-1 in the qualifiers. Only the former Tottenham man forgot to realise that three of those goals were scored by…yes you’ve guessed it, Theo Walcott.

Personally, I’ve been left distressed and, well, let down by Walcott. His potential is frightening, yet it only seems to hamper his performance rather than his competitors.

But to suggest Shaun Wright-Phillips should go instead of Walcott is a mystery to me. There is more of a chance of Walcott coming off the bench to score or create something special than Wright-Phillips. Walcott is far from perfect, yet he’s definitely a useful weapon.

The unlucky seven

Picking the unlucky seven wasn’t as hard as everyone is making out. Yet, I don’t have the nation’s hopes in my egotistical hands.

Anywho, here are the seven that I believe will be somewhere other than South Africa this summer:

1. Michael Dawson 2. Stephen Warnock 3. Scott Parker 4. Tom Huddlestone 5. Shaun Wright-Phillips 6. Adam Johnson 7. Darren Bent

Am I right or what? No? Well, who do you think will miss out? Leave your chosen seven below

p.s. would love to see Adam Johnson go – think he’s England’s answer to Arjen Robben! Tricky, direct and loves to have a go at defenders.

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Review: World Cup warm-ups

  • England win marred by poor performance
  • Ronaldo and co struggle against Cape Verde

So, with less than three weeks remaining until the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, last night was an ideal opportunity for those participating to flex their superior muscles.

With Argentina hosting Canada, Portugal playing Cape Verde and England supposedly “entertaining” Mexico, what did we learn from them? In short, nothing we didn’t know before.

England 3 – 1 Mexico Highlights

As soon as Fabio Capello became the new England manager, everyone knew the country would stop attempting to play like Brazil and start to play like winners – boring winners, but winners nevertheless. And yesterday’s match was no different.

The score line doesn’t tell the full story. Basically, England looked either below-par or fatigued – your pick – as Mexico danced their way horizontally and vertically through the hosts without scoring. Sounds a bit like Arsenal really.

Tottenham’s Ledley King scored and…well, that’s about it. Looked clumsy and off the pace at times, which would be a worry, only we have an out-of-form John Terry to come in for him.

James Milner – who the former England manger, now singer, Terry Venables says is worth however much money Man City are willing to pay (too much probably) – was playing like a headless chicken. Initially starting out left, he was soon found further afield, before dropping deep where he continued to make unsuccessful last-ditch challenges on almost every Mexico player.

But as Capello will always tell you, a win is a win.

Portugal 0-0 Cape Verde Highlights

I’m sure Carlos Queiroz thought a game against Cape Verde would allow his Portugese super stars to gain a confidence boost after narrowly escaping World Cup elimination last year.

However, despite having only 35,100 players to pick, the island country still managed to keep Portugal at bay and record an historic goalless draw against a team containing Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United’s Nani and a Chelsea trio of Deco, Richardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferriera.

Argentina 5-0 Canada

The biggest surprise here was that Diego Maradona’s side managed to keep a clean sheet.

We all know that Argentina can destroy any nation going forward. The problem lies in that for all their fantastic ability offensively, there’s plenty of room for improvement defensively.

Last night’s clean sheet will have given the team confidence at the back and something to sustain and build on heading into the World Cup.

Although Argentina will continue to score at will, defending resolutely is less of a guarantee.

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Assist of the weekend

Galastasaray midfielder, Elano, produced a moment of magic in a largely apathetic match between Brazil and England in Doha, Qatar.

His chipped pass come cross fell nicely for Nilmar who finished the move off superbly.

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