Capello names England squad
The disastrous reign of Steve McLaren is (almost) a distant memory after an embarrassing Euro 2008 campaign, these days Fabio Capello can seemingly do no wrong. A series of impressive wins and steering England to practically guaranteed World Cup 2010 qualification barring a freak run of results means he’s won the hearts of the nation, and with an upcoming friendly against an impressive Holland side he’s looking to see what his squad are made of before a home World Cup Qualifier against the nations current arch-nemesis Croatia.
The talking point leading up to and following the publication of the team sheet is all about Michael Owen being once again left out of the squad. I must admit I’m not sure what to make of that, because while I think a few decent pre-season performances isn’t quite deserving enough of a call-up under normal circumstances it’s worth a shot seeing how he plays in a friendly game with nothing at stake against quality opposition. Michael Owen is a player with renewed passion for the game after being somewhat of a liability at Newcastle. He still scored one goal in every two games for the club during his time there which is an impressive statistic, but considering he spent more time on the injured list than off it he can be considered a failed acquisition and wasn’t even an afterthought when the England strikers were being chosen for international duty.
Now that he plays for Manchester United he’s got that fire in his belly he never really had at Newcastle, he made no secret that he wanted to return to Liverpool after leaving Real Madrid and appeared bitter that they didn’t want him at the time. Apparently he even offered to return there at the beginning of this season for a cut-price wage, such is his love of the club. Arguably he’s got a better deal at the home of the league champions, but that’s another discussion for another time. The fact is that if he plays well and stays fit he’ll get a call-up eventually, but it seems odd not to at least have him on the bench for the Holland game with nothing to lose. He needs a chance to prove his worth which Capello won’t give him, I understand what the England boss is saying about a few pre-season club friendlies not being enough to convince him to pick Owen but it would make more sense if he was talking about a forthcoming competitive fixture rather than a friendly. Still, Owen continue to try and change Capello’s mind, and he’s at one of the best clubs to do that.
I am surprised Carlton Cole was picked ahead of both Owen and Peter Crouch I have to say. The guy had a very good spell of form for West Ham in the middle of last season that earned him two well deserved caps for his country, but while he could be considered a key player in a year or so Owen or Crouch do seem like better options to partner Wayne Rooney up front for their own reasons. Chances are Cole will start on the subs bench anyway leaving Rooney and Defoe as the two strikers, but Defoe is a player I don’t rate highly at international level (although most of his caps are as a result of late substitute appearances which isn’t his fault his scoring record is quite low) so Owen especially would be a better option in my opinion. Capello has only named four out-and-out strikers in his squad anyway, he’s called up a lot of midfielders including a troubled David Beckham who doesn’t really need to be involved in friendly fixtures so it might have been more beneficial to the squad on the whole to leave him out and include Owen.
Anyway, the full 23 man England squad is:
Ben Foster (Manchester United) | Robert Green (West Ham United) | Paul Robinson (Blackburn Rovers)
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)
Gareth Barry (Manchester City) | David Beckham (LA Galaxy) | 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)
Carlton Cole (West Ham United) | Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur) | Emile Heskey (Aston Villa) | Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
My predicted starting lineup