COS contributor Josh Dean continues his look at who Fabio Capello should name in his World Cup squad. This time he covers the central midfielders.
There are less options than before for Fabio Capello, the “Ghostbuster.” Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry have been the regular center midfielders for Capello, and in my opinion they have their spots cemented. Although Gerrard has been off form lately, over the years he has been a regular and I can’t see Capello stripping him of a spot. Lampard hit the 20 goal mark again this season, which he has done for Chelsea for a number of consecutive seasons. Although he hasn’t been as good for England as for Chelsea, I am hoping maybe this is his World Cup, and hopefully he will shine.
The fourth spot will go to either Tom Huddlestone, Michael Carrick, or Jermain Jenas.
Carrick has never quite shined in an England uniform, apart from the game against Germany in 2008, and I’m not sure he can bring something special to the England team. Sure, he may be solid at best, however I don’t see him being a player who will help lead England to the World Cup title. For United he has been a regular alongside Darren Fletcher, netting two goals and setting a team mate up for one. The two-footed ball distributor, in my opinion, will not make the cut.
Jenas is in the same boat as Carrick. He is solid but won’t bring anything special to the team. Having only started nine games in the Premier League for Spurs, I’m not sure how much Capello is really considering Jenas. Although he has great vision and can be inventive at times, I don’t think he is the man to go.
Which leaves my pick for the fourth spot, Tom Huddlestone from Tottenham Hotspur. He is powerful, physical, and not short of skill at his feet. His thunderous shot and great range of passing will provide a different aspect to the team than Barry, Lampard and Gerrard, and although I doubt he will get a starting spot, I don’t doubt he will be on the team. He has scored four goals for Spurs this season in all competitions, and added four assists as well. My favorite of the England center midfielders, Huddlestone deserves a spot.
So we have completed the midfield and the front line. I have picked who I think should be on the plane…
LM (Walcott, Johnson)
CM (Gerrard, Barry, Lampard, Huddlestone)
RM (Lennon, Bentley)
ST (Rooney, Crouch, Bent, Heskey)
But who is going to start? And will the midfield be a flat four, a diamond, or two defensive center midfielders and two attacking out wide? Here’s what I would like to see.
Up top Rooney and Crouch. My favorite comment from my front line article was “Crouch and England go together like fish-n-chips. The world loves to see Crouch play (Its both funny and fun) and the world likes fish-n-chips no matter what its called.” I figure that he has a point, Crouch has always been great for England, and after watching him against Mancini City yesterday, I think he and Rooney will be the pair up top.
In support will be a diamond midfield… with Lampard at the top, Barry behind, Lennon on the right, and on the left I hope to see James Milner. I feel he would be very effective on the left. With supreme ball skills and ability to maintain possession, he will be able to cut in and whip a ball in on his right foot. If Gerrard comes on off the bench, I would love to see him and Milner rotating left and center during the game, although I don’t see Capello doing something so adventurous.
Walcott will come off the bench as an impact player, and if the creative spark is lacking Adam Johnson will come on. Bentley will be used if the balls into Crouch and Rooney seem to be working, and Huddlestone will be brought on to mix things up if Barry is quiet.
With three spots reserved for goalkeepers, there are only seven spots left for defenders, which I believe is not a problem considering Milner, Barry and Huddlestone can all play in the back line.