With Tuesday’s final squad annoucement fast approaching I thought it was time I put my own 23 Man England Squad together. With far less responsibility on my shoulders than on Capello’s, expect mine to be a bit more attacking.
David James – Englands most experienced and best all round goalkeeper (in my opinion anyway), mistakes in the past have probably cost him 30-40 caps
Rob Green – Seemingly the man in possession. In Green, England have two goalkeepers with relative 1st team experience. Like David James, Green always looks to have a mistake in him though.
Joe Hart – The in form keeper of the three, but lacks the experience at this level. A good solid back up though.
Glenn Johnson – The most all round right back we have, may get found out defensively in the latter rounds though.
Jamie Carragher – Better defensively than Johnson, but offers no real attacking option. Only expect him to play if any injuries occur.
Rio Ferdinand – Slight question mark against Rio for me, not sure he still has that burst of pace to retrieve a situation – hope I’m proved wrong.
John Terry – Not had his greatest season, but it shows when he’s not there, as England seem to miss his organization skills.
Ledley King – Had a great end of season with Spurs, and proved he can play the sufficient number of games in 10-12 days. Probably finished off any chances of starting in the first game after having not his best night last Monday.
Matthew Upson – Not a selection I would have made after the season he’s had, but the fact is he has been in most Capello squads and has far more international experience than Dawson.
Ashley Cole – England need Cole more than ever if they are to persist with playing Gerrard down the left hand side, would have completely scuppered that plan had Cole not recovered from his injury. One of England’s world class players.
Leighton Baines – Not sure about this selection, but he has played the friendlys, and therefore has more experience than Warnock.
Theo Walcott – Can’t believe all the talk about Walcott not being good enough, he’s just lacking a bit of confidence for me. A certainty for the squad, at the worst he is some sub to bring on after an hour.
Aaron Lennon – Another speed merchant, like Walcott he can be hot and cold, but between the two of them they should terrify all the world cup left backs. A toss up who starts.
Steven Gerrard – Hopefully Capello will release him into the slot just behind Rooney at some stage of the tournament. Will be ok playing down the left hand side in group stages, but for me he has to play in his best position against the better teams. One of England’s three world class players.
Frank Lampard – Another solid consistent season at Chelsea. I think Frank is due some world cup goals this time round after the disappointment of the 2006 tournament in Germany, where he had plenty of shots, with little return.
Gareth Barry – A must for the squad for me, Monday night proved that. Glad to see Capello is prepared to wait for him, if we can’t get out of that group without him then we deserve to go home.
James Milner – Has had an exceptional season for Aston Villa. In my squad his main job would be as cover in the holding role, although his versatility suggests he can do more than that.
Joe Cole – Another player that I can’t believe has a question mark against being in the squad, a must for me. Not a starter at the moment, but another brilliant option off the bench.
Adam Johnson – Looks a bit predictable to me at times, but is only young and will learn. He gives England what they have been seeking for years now, a natural left sided player, for that reason he is a must for me.
Wayne Rooney – After an outstanding season for Manchester United, Rooney has now given Capello the option to play one up front. This could be vital against the likes of Spain or Brazil. England’s other world class player.
Peter Crouch – Has a brilliant goalscoring record for England, and is a great option for Capello. Can be a handful for defenders, but seem to recall the referees singled him out a lot in 2006, and as a result England conceded a lot of free kicks.
Emile Heskey – Was Plan A throughout the qualifying process, not so sure that he is in pole position any more. Very lucky to be in squad.
Jermain Defoe – Not convinced by him at this level, still have visions of him and Darren Bent at Wembley against Croatia that night under Steve McLaren, could still be waiting for either of them to score the goal England needed now. In simply because there is no one else.
That’s what I would do, but I believe Capello will probably leave out Adam Johnson for Michael Carrick. That is unless Tom Huddlestone ousts Carrick in todays game with Japan.
Carrick’s performances of late certainly haven’t impressed, and if Huddlestone can put in a decent performance today he might give Capello a decision to make.
I see that Darren Bent is being given a chance as well today, even if he scores a hat-trick it’s hard to see him coming into squad. He is not going to replace Defoe or Crouch, and Heskey is only there to give them another option.
Therefore it’s hard to see Capello replacing Heskey in the squad with Bent, unless that is, he has decided to abandon his rigid 4-4-2, in place of the 4-2-3-1, where the onus won’t be on Heskey to play the lead role.
Even then he might choose Adam Johnson instead of Heskey, as would he need four strikers (and Theo) in his squad if chooses to play only one up front.
Another option Capello has if he wants an extra forward, is to leave out a defender and use Jamie Carragher as cover for two positions, meaning one of Leighton Baines or Matt Upson could be left out.
Hard to see Capello being that bold though, I think he will go for the standard formula of two players for every position, the only shock on the cards for me, is the possiblity of both Joe Cole and Adam Johnson being included.