Fabio Capello rings the changes ahead of totally pointless friendly!
England coach Fabio Capello has denied Michael Owen an international recall after leaving the Manchester United striker out of his squad for Wednesday’s friendly against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
There is also no place for Peter Crouch, even though the Tottenham Hotspur newcomer was part of the England side that overwhelmed Andorra on their last outing at Wembley.
David Beckham, meanwhile, will make the flight back from Los Angeles in order to take part, while Aston Villa winger James Milner also gets a place in the squad.
The other notable absentee is David James. The Portsmouth goalkeeper has been regarded as Capello’s first-choice for the position and was expected to return after missing the FIFA World Cup™ qualifying wins against Kazakhstan and Andorra after undergoing shoulder surgery. Although James was part of the Portsmouth side that faced Rangers in a friendly on Saturday, he is missing from Capello’s squad as the Italian looks at Ben Foster, Robert Green and Paul Robinson.
Now past his 39th birthday, James can hardly be expected to improve, while Foster and West Ham United’s Robert Green, who played in the two June games, have progressed over the past 12 months, providing stiff competition to the veteran goalkeeper.
England squad for friendly international on 12 August:
Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Manchester City), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Everton), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham United)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), David Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy/USA), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Aston Villa), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
Strange decision making from Capello, quite why Heskey or Cole would get a call ahead of Peter Crouch or Michael Owen. David James absence may say more about the other goalkeeping choices available to the England boss, looking for a viable alternative to the vastly improved Pompey man.
Some have suggested that the friendly is oddly timed and in many ways a completely pointless affair, I would tend to agree.