With all the remarks coming from the England camp and Fabio Capello this week, it would now appear almost certain that Gareth Barry is assured of his place in England’s world cup 23.
If he didn’t realise it before, Capello would have been reminded of just how important a player Barry has become to his side in the wake of England’s 1st half central midfield performance against Mexico at Wembley on Monday night.
Barrys stock seems to have raised in his absence. Monday night showed that he is one of those unsung players that you notice more when he is not there.
In contrast, James Milner, and in particular Michael Carrick showed in that match that they are not yet capable of filling Barry’s boots with a disappointing showing in England’s central midfield.
In the case of Milner, he is an up and coming player who has only just completed his first season playing that role, he is still really learning the position. Add to that, he can also play in a number of positions across the midfield, which would seem to assure him of a seat on the plane to South Africa.
Michael Carrick on the other hand is an experienced player in this position, and Capello would have expected far better from him.
He should now be sweating on his place as his form has been awful lately, including a high profile blunder in the Champions League match with Bayern Munich, which ultimately led to Manchester United getting knocked out of the competition.
If Capello is to pick James Milner as a central midfielder then Carrick might well now be surplus to requirements. That would leave him free to name both Adam Johnson and Joe Cole in his squad.
However, for Carrick, the doubts over Barry’s ankle may well end up being his saving grace. Fabio Capello might now be looking to take extra cover for Barry, in the event he might break down again.
This could play into Carricks hands, as Capello might not want to throw an inexperienced international like Tom Huddlestone or Scott Parker into the squad at this late stage of the process.
Carrick has been there throughout, and Capello might well stick with what he knows.
I do believe that Carrick is a lucky boy if he makes the squad. It would be a shame for the likes of Joe Cole or Adam Johnson if one of them misses out because Capello wants extra cover for a player who is not 100% fit.