- 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.
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.