Can you name your England World Cup squad yet?
Try your hand at being Capello…
Now that the season is entering its final stages, very soon a giant magnifying glass will turn onto the players who may or may not make the England squad for South Africa.
For some, it’s a race against time – with physical and emotional injuries to repair – whilst others will be battling to hit top form between now and the campaign’s end. It’s all to play for, so now is s good a time as any to start with the predictions.
It’s probably fair to say that the goalkeepers pick themselves. Injuries permitting, it looks like it’s in the bag for David James, Robert Green, and Joe Hart. Who will start is a different matter entirely.
The variables in defence are huge. Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson need to get fit, Wayne Bridge may or may not be tempted back, and the form of the back-up centre backs needs to improve. Were The Spoiler in charge, there might be a few contentious choices at the back.
Wes Brown – solid though he is – lacks the dynamism to replace the attacking threat of Glen Johnson, which could potentially leave a gap for an outsider like Micah Richards to fill, regardless of a topsy-turvy season. Whilst a wise head in the middle in case of injury to Terry or Ferdinand could prove a rather smart move, but with Sol too old, Ledley too delicate, and Carragher too stubborn, it’s unlikely to happen.
In the midfield, Gerrard, Lamspie and Barry look certain to start, meaning that selection needs to focus on two main areas: 1. The right hand side, and 2. Players who can change the shape of a game.
In terms of style, there is nothing between Wright-Phillips, Lennon, and Walcott, so why not just take one of them? You can then take Milner and Beckham as cover for that side – with Milner also able to cover the whole midfield, and even left back – then either Young or Downing to provide a threat-from-the-bench on the left.
That would leave a couple of slots for players capable of changing the team’s style of play. At the moment Carrick pips Huddlestone as a sitting-midfielder with nice passing skills. Whilst Joe Cole has the capabilities to flummox defenders. He’s out of form, but worth a spot. Scholes would be ideal, but that won’t happen.
Like the goalkeepers, the strikers all look a shoo-in. It’s been rumoured that Capello will take four, in which case Rooney will be partnered by one of Crouch, Heskey or Defoe. Still in with a very outside chance are Agbonlahor and Carlton Cole, but it’s slipping away.
Were The Spoiler Fabio Capello for the day, the World Cup squad would look something like this:
Goalkeepers: David James, Robert Green, Joe Hart
Defenders: Glen Johnson, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Matthew Upson, Micah Richards, Leighton Baines
Midfield: Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, David Beckham, Ashley Young
Forwards: Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch
Now do yours.