Fabio Capello has picked his latest 23-man squad for the upcoming matches against European giants Kazakhstan and Belarus, with England looking for maximum points from these two games. In seriousness, Tranmere Rovers could probably beat both of their opponents, yet it hasn’t stopped people getting their knickers in a twist about the Italian’s decision not to pick a certain Newcastle forward.
Yes that’s right, there’s no place for Shola Ameobi, while Michael Owen hasn’t had a look in either! The thing is, even if he’d been picked by Capello, the Magpies striker probably wouldn’t have got on to the pitch and it’s hard to question a manager whose last game saw the team win 4-1 in Croatia. The Independent report that both Owen and Jonathan Woodgate are not in the reckoning this time around.
The 23-man squad was selected to face Kazakhstan and Belarus in the forthcoming Group Six World Cup qualifiers and, after sending his assistant, and England’s general manager, Franco Baldini to watch Owen play for Newcastle United away to Everton yesterday, Capello deemed that the 28-year-old striker was still not fit enough to be chosen even though he, again, lasted the 90 minutes.
Owen, who missed out on the previous two World Cup qualifiers, may still have a future with England but it appears to be one that, at best, he can hope to achieve as an impact substitute as the team quickly evolves without him. Tellingly, Owen has played the full game in each of Newcastle’s last six matches, scoring three goals but this has still not impressed Capello.
England’s weakest department continues to be in attack, with Wayne Rooney the only world-class striker in the squad. However, with the likes of Walcott, Gerrard and Lampard all able to weigh in with goals from the midfield area, it’s not as if Capello will be fretting too much over his decision. Does anyone strongly think that Michael Owen should be in the England frame, or are the media just trying to get a story out of Capello’s announcement?