COS contributor Josh Dean takes a look at the England 30 and makes a case for the seven who should not board World Cup bound plane.
Today Fabio Capello named his 30 man preliminary roster for South Africa. He is to cut seven who won’t make the plane to South Africa. Two uncapped players were named, Adam Johnson of City and Michael Dawson of Spurs,who led the way with six players. The biggest surprise was probably hardworking Hammers midfielder Scott Parker.
The squad named was as follows-
Goalkeepers: Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham). Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Scott Parker (West Ham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City)
Forwards: Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
The three goalkeepers will all be going to South Africa, with the rule stating of the 23 players 3 must be goalkeepers. Although there is not a clear number one, I hope it will be Joe Hart.
At the right back position Glen Johnson should be starting with out-of-retirement Liverpool teammate Jamie Carragher looking to be his back up. Although he is primarily a center back he is strong out right too, and Capello did not name another natural right back, meaning Carra is the man. Fans should be glad he came out of retirement and will play for England (hopefully) for the first time in over three years, and the first time for Capello. I’m not sure whether he can battle Johnson for a starting spot, but some competition will do them both good.
At center back I am excited and pleased that Spurs man Dawson made the cut, and well as his chronically injured partner Ledley King. If fit, Terry and Ferdinand have the starting spots, and although Upson was the third man all through qualification I would not be shocked if he did not make the squad all together. If King works through training and plays as well as he did in his last four games, all consecutive by the way, he has a good chance of going to South Africa. Uncapped Dawson has been putting on greater performances and is now part of a top four team, so for me he would be a better choice than off-form Upson.
Left back, Ashley Cole will definitely start, and he has grown on me a lot this season. He is stronger than both Baines and Warnock without question, and he is a consistent performer for the English champs. The back up position is simple, Baines and Warnock are fighting it out one on one and winner takes the spot. I think Baines will be chosen over Warnock because I simply think he is stronger, and with his ability on set pieces he will bring something stronger to the team than Warnock of Villa.
Out wide Joe Cole, Adam Johnson, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Phillips will fight it out for four positions. I wish I could say Joe Cole will definitely go as he was the top performer along with Owen Hargreaves in Germany, but he has struggled a lot with injuries and it is fair to say he is competing with Adam Johnson for a spot. I think Johnson will offer England more as he is 100% fit, and besides that he is a very strong player. He is strong on set-pieces like Becks and he can also beat a player one on one and serve in an accurate cross as he showed team mate SWP over the weekend. I like Adam Johnson a lot, he should go. Milner should definitely go, PFA Young Player of the Year and EPL RM of the year, he has impressed consistently all season and held Villa up after the loss of Barry. He can play almost anywhere on the pitch and wherever he goes he will be strong. Two pacy wingers will make it, meaning SWP, Walcott or Lennon will be cut. My pick to go home- SWP. Lennon is the strongest of the three and offers blistering pace and is overall a very strong and effective player. Walcott can provide more off the bench than Wright-Phillips and I hope to see him gain some experience while in South Africa.
In the center, the offensive midfielders to go will Gerrard and Lampard. Lampard was vital to title for Chelsea and he should probably start. Although off form and possibly not starting, Gerrard will go. Can anyone argue? He has been one of England’s strongest players for years. He will go. If Barry is fit, he will go to and start, and hopefully play almost every minute. His back up will be either Huddlestone, Carrick or Scott Parker. The shock pick from West Ham will need to exceptional to stand a chance of going, and if Barry is fit, I don’t see it happening. Carrick has never shown anything at international level so Huddlestone will probably be picked as the back up. One of my favorites, Huddlestone has a phenomenal range of passing and I believe Capello will take him as the back up to Barry, and he might get a start if Barry isn’t fit.
Up top, Capello took Rooney, who is obviously going if fit, Crouch and Heskey, who both have almost definite places without Zamora or Carlton Cole being named, which leaves Bent and Defoe. Bent is the underdog despite his stunning 24-goal season and strong form, since Defoe has more international experience and goals. I would much rather see on fire Bent go than Defoe, so I hope he will prove he is stronger than Defoe during the friendlies and training.
Plane- Green, Hart, James, G. Johnson, Carragher, Ferdinand, Terry, Dawson, King, A. Cole, Baines, A. Johnson, Lennon, Milner, Walcott, Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Huddlestone, Rooney, Bent, Heskey, Crouch
Home- Upson, Warnock, SWP, Parker, Carrick, J. Cole, Defoe
We have two friendlies before the World Cup, Mexico and Japan. Tune in.