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Capello may regret Owen exclusion

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Phil McNulty | 09:11 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008

Fabio Capello has already demonstrated a capacity to surprise - but it is to be hoped England do not live to regret what amounts to a massive gamble by the Italian coach.

Capello's England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia contained two major stories, namely the inclusion of Fulham's Jimmy Bullard and the exclusion of Newcastle United striker Michael Owen.

No-one could accuse Capello of playing it safe by leaving Owen out of the squad that leaves for Barcelona later this week, but quite a few will accuse him of plenty more if England do not come back with a haul of at least four points.

Let me state straight from the start that I am an unashamed fan of Owen, but this is not the only reason I believe Capello has made a potentially grave mistake by leaving him out of his squad altogether.

There are compelling football reasons that make the case for Owen to be in side that plays in Barcelona on Saturday and Zagreb next Wednesday - and for him not even to be in the squad is baffling.

Capello clearly questions what Owen can bring to his new England era. He has used him only as a substitute in the defeat in France and seems suspicious about whether he can deliver at the top level any more.

The case against Owen is a constant battle against injuries in recent times, and even a bout of illness that laid him low this summer.

The case for is a simple one. Who is best equipped to take what might only be one chance to give England a vital goal in Croatia?

In a squad not exactly bulging with goals, that man remains Michael Owen by some distance, and my view is that he should be partnering Wayne Rooney in Zagreb.

Capello watched Owen in Newcastle's 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday and obviously did not see enough to warrant inclusion for England.

True, he is still short of match sharpness, but this will improve again in the days before the two games, and even in these reduced circumstances he has still scored the goals that won games for Newcastle against Bolton and Coventry.

Jermain Defoe has yet to produce a defining moment at international level, while Theo Walcott has yet to deliver on a consistent basis for Arsenal, let alone England.

Owen, in sharp contrast, is a proven scorer of crucial goals at every level - and his name and reputation alone still makes the best international defenders take a step back.

Emile Heskey just about passes muster as an alternative to the relatively diminutive forwards - what has happened to Peter Crouch and Dean Ashton? - but I have an uneasy feeling, as Alan Shearer expressed on MOTD2 last night, about England going to Zagreb without Owen.

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The selection of Fulham's Bullard is a marvellous story, and great testimony to the character of the 29-year-old who started his career with Gravesend and Northfleet and who battled back from an horrendous knee injury in September 2006.

He has profited from injuries to Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves, as well as from any emerging youngsters stating an irressistible case for inclusion.

But he is hardly one for the future and his best hope of a cap seems to lie in England being roughly five goals ahead of Andorra with 20 minutes left. He will surely have no place in Zagreb, which is the true acid test of Capello's new regime.

The exclusion of Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate is another surprise, especially given that he has been dropped in favour of the returning Joleon Lescott, who has made an awful start to the season at Everton.

But it is Owen's exclusion that will be the main bone of contention and debate - and undoubtedly recrimination, if England fail in Croatia.

Capello, in my opinion, has committed a needless error in not even giving himself the safety net of having Owen in his squad.

It is a decision that ratchets up the pressure another notch on Capello, especially with the misery of England's display against the Czech Republic at Wembley still souring the memory.

They say fortune favours the brave. For Capello's sake it is to be hoped that is true.

Comments

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  • 1. At 10:09am on 01 Sep 2008, spuffman wrote:

    someone watched match of the day

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  • 2. At 10:15am on 01 Sep 2008, mrchorizo wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 3. At 10:24am on 01 Sep 2008, U11846789 wrote:

    Clearly another reason why we should not employ a non-Englishman as national coach.

    -------

    Doh! McLaren was English. And, as Brucie would say, "didnt he do well!"




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  • 4. At 10:38am on 01 Sep 2008, Popeye Partridge wrote:

    Simple fact is Owen scores goals. I cant believe Capello has tried to be clever and not take him with Defoe being favoured. How many chances does Defoe need to prove he is not an international striker? Sometimes it happens, good league players dont always make great England players. Ian Wright, John Barnes and Andy Cole all spring to mind.

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  • 5. At 10:38am on 01 Sep 2008, dax wrote:

    We have relied on Owen for far too long and it is about time for a change.

    I would go further and cull a few more, James (will be too old by the time the WC comes around), Neville (there must be a better RB in the country), Beckham (won't be playing to a high standard by the time the WC comes round), Terry (better CBs wherever you look), Lampard (cannot play with Gerrard, and Gerrard is a better player)

    Honestly, the same players for the last umpteen years, it is time to say enough is enough, let a new breed take up the challenge

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  • 6. At 10:42am on 01 Sep 2008, Gorzlov wrote:

    Perhaps by giving Owen a break now he'll have time to reach full fitness and actually make it through a whole season without injuries.

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  • 7. At 10:46am on 01 Sep 2008, rusko_1 wrote:

    MR CHORIZO. complete rubbish mate. Capello is a top professional and to allege that he wouldn't care (or even be pleased) if England didn't qualifying is laughable.
    We shall see if leaving Owen behind was the right choice or not, but lets wait and see how we perform before we judge Capello's selection - who will be talking about Michael Owen if we come away with 6 points and two good performances? wishful thinking perhaps!
    ps. why is peter crouch not in the squad!

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  • 8. At 10:47am on 01 Sep 2008, Stokerambo wrote:

    Well, now the truth is out! The FA should only consult omniscient journalists like Phil McNulty. The only reason why Mr McNulty would like to see Owen in the squad is because he used to play for Liverpool. Owen has been injured for basically 3 years now. While he may score the odd goal for Newcastle and his finishing instincts are still there, you can't expect him to cut it at international level.
    Capello wants fit players, that's why Dean Ashton isn't in there either - again a decent premiership player, but still of no international class. It may sound sad, but at the moment Jermaine Defoe is probably the best striker we have. I still don't understand the inclusion of that big donkey Heskey though.

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  • 9. At 10:49am on 01 Sep 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    To dax47988...I agree England have relied on Owen for far too long - but that is not his fault and no-one has stepped up to take his place as a reliable, regular scorer of international goals.

    Wayne Rooney has not done and neither has anyone else in that squad - Capello is taking a huge risk with England's World Cup qualification hopes.

    Owen is still England's best bet for a goal. This is a credit to him and a question mark against the other strikers.

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  • 10. At 10:50am on 01 Sep 2008, hard_as wrote:

    Fabio Capello is rapidly proving to be a complete waste of time and money.

    What on earth posseses him to keep pluginng away with that drip Beckham at the xpense of players such as Crouch and Owen who are proven goal scorers.

    We may have thought that we couldn't do worse than McClaren, the FA have all but proven us wrong.

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  • 11. At 10:55am on 01 Sep 2008, dax wrote:

    hard_as.....

    seeing as Beckham plays in a different position to Owen and Crouch, I don't see your point.

    Now if he was in at the expense of Bentley, that would be different.

    (Crouch should never be in an England side, neither should Heskey)

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  • 12. At 11:03am on 01 Sep 2008, Oliver Goldstein wrote:

    What is baffling about the decision not to pick Owen? He's played one game this season, and hasn't played or scored consistently for about 3 years now. Capello knows not to pick players purely on reputation, although I still don't quite see what Beckham adds to the team. Bullard is an excellent addition to the squad, and I truly believe he has both the talent and necessary physicality to be a big success in international football.

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  • 13. At 11:04am on 01 Sep 2008, Viskahn wrote:

    One would argue that Capello is thinking for the future by excluding Owen from the squad, but then, by the same logic, why is Beckham in again?

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  • 14. At 11:11am on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    'It is a decision that ratchets up the pressure another notch on Capello,'

    The insinuation here is that the press will now take it upon themselves to slate Capello for not agreeing with them.

    Perhaps some in the press might like to jump off the gravy train they are currently riding in their ivory tower and get down the park on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning and try to work their way into the position that Capello has.

    Frankly, whilst we might all have an opinion on the squad, surely the jury is out until after the two games.

    Phil, is this article based on measured assessment of the players available and likely tactics, or simply because his choice does not agree with yours? (and the admission of you being an unashamed fan of Owen may go some way to answering that question. You go on to say there are compelling football reasons but only elaborate to the extent of criticising those chosen by Capello and seem to suggest that therefore Owen should be in there by default).

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  • 15. At 11:11am on 01 Sep 2008, Ian_the_chopper wrote:

    There is a point to be made for having both Beckham and Owen on the bench for both games.

    Beckham hasn't got that edge to play 90 minutes at the top level but there is a case to argue that coming off the bench with 20 minutes left he could well play the killer pass through a tiring defence or has the ability to create that one chance from a dead ball that may be crucial with ten minutes to go in a nil nil draw in Zagreb. Also with no Steven Gerrad where are these pases going to come from?

    As to Owen I don't believe he is fully fit yet but may be able to give you 25 or 30 minutes at the end of both games.

    I agree with much of what Phil says re some of the other strikers in the squad and as for peoples comments re players being too old in 2010 we have to qualify first and to be blunt the most important thing about the next ten days is coming back with at least four points from a win in barcelona and a draw in Croatia. The qualifiers run for the next 15 months only.

    Lets not forget it was the two points dropped at home against Macedonia early on that caused all the must win games at the end of qualifying for Euro 2008.

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  • 16. At 11:11am on 01 Sep 2008, river_pines wrote:

    let me see !

    what will i do......

    pick heskey who has scored about 5 goals and is murder on the dance floor

    or

    owen who has scored 40 mmmmm ohh and let throu in jimmy bullard as he is going to frighten them

    lets go for heskey.......



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  • 17. At 11:12am on 01 Sep 2008, river_pines wrote:


    ohh and

    do you think capello was actually filling out his suns fantasy football team and just ran out of money and went for bullard hesly and lescott ??

    just a thought...

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  • 18. At 11:14am on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    walcock has 8 goals in 84 games. now that is england quality.
    no young? no agbonlahor?

    and no woodgate?? is this a joke from crapello?

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  • 19. At 11:15am on 01 Sep 2008, red lion wrote:

    Everybody is entitled to Phil's opinion. Owen shot himself in the foot (no pun intended) when he opted for Real Madrid. As they say the rest (and Owen) is history. England cannot continue living in the past. There should equally well be no place for Becks. After all how many (old?) passengers can a team carry?

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  • 20. At 11:16am on 01 Sep 2008, Wayne wrote:

    Whys everyone excited about Bullard!!!!

    hes just come back from a horrific injury......hes probably lacking match fitness, and thats for him being a big success for England is a JOKE

    hes like 30 right now..... too old

    the best team hes ever played for is Fulham

    ahahahaha and hes our highest prospect for the near future?

    what a joke!

    Why Capello left Owen out i shall never ever know

    Owen is the best striker in England at the momment in term of getting us goals

    people say we need to move on, but we cant move on if no player wants to take the responsibility!

    Heskey isnt good enough, Walcott??? Why

    Ashton and Crouch would of been an understandable replacement BUT they've been left out too!!!

    if Capello wants to leave someone out then he should leave Rooney out! i dont think he deserves his England shirt at the moment!

    Beckham is still quality but his time has passed, we need a young replacement this time and Shaun Wright-Phillips is too old (although i like him)

    Lennon or Young would be my best bet

    But overall Owen being left out is just pathetic!

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  • 21. At 11:16am on 01 Sep 2008, BHC mattyenglish wrote:

    oligold11...
    owen has played in 3 games this season and has scored 2 goals, and also when owen hasn't been injured he's scored consistently for both england and newcastle...


    I firmly believe he should be in the squad, instead of defoe, who has hardly even scored for england and hasn't got the quality to perform at that level, he was 4th choice striker at tottenham!

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  • 22. At 11:17am on 01 Sep 2008, Will wrote:

    Owen not picked isn't surprising he is not on good form. Defoe is.

    What is surprising is Rooney's inclusion he is well overdue a big performance. I'd like to see him dropped. Heskey and Defoe would work as a front two as would Heskey and Owen if the little man starts knocking them in for his club. Or even Heskey and Rooney.

    Owen and Rooney is a complete waste of time.

    One of Rooney, Owen, Defoe has to play with one of Heskey, Ashton, or Bent. Crouch is too slow for international football.

    At the moment I'd go with Defoe and Heskey.

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  • 23. At 11:18am on 01 Sep 2008, KidCanary wrote:

    "While he may score the odd goal for Newcastle and his finishing instincts are still there, you can't expect him to cut it at international level." - Stokerambo

    He was scoring at international level fairly regularly last year. You guys writing him off are acting like it was decades ago.

    There is absolutely no reason for him to be dropped from the squad, other than Capello being absolutely clueless, apparently.
    Surely we could have sacrificed a player like Matthew Upson who's never even going to get on the pitch so that England's highest competitive goal scorer could get the spot he deserves?

    If anybody deserved to be dropped though, it's Wayne Rooney. The guy hasn't done anything notable for England for over 4 years now.
    (Knowing my luck, he'll probably score hat-tricks against Andorra and Croatia, but the fact remains that up to this point, based on form, he doesn't deserve to be in the squad)

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  • 24. At 11:18am on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 25. At 11:19am on 01 Sep 2008, ryanjones6 wrote:

    Why leave the most able goal-scorer out of the squad?

    Even an unfit Owen is capable of getting that all important goal when coming off the bench.

    Capello needs to earn his money in the next 2 games esp in Zagreb.

    Surelly England have less chance of winning with arguably the only striker England have that can get a goal out of nothing.

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  • 26. At 11:19am on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 27. At 11:21am on 01 Sep 2008, flenderson wrote:

    Capello has won Serie A seven times, and has also won the Champions' League and the Spanish league twice. He watches matches involving the players first-hand every single week and will have a solid network of staff supporting him in scouting roles.

    Why anyone feels that they can question his decisions is beyond me.

    Why bother talking about who he hasn't picked? What's that going to achieve? He will know what he is doing.

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  • 28. At 11:24am on 01 Sep 2008, jimnic2 wrote:

    Owen simply can not be considered match fit. The one I feel that should be dropped is Rooney. He is picked as a striker and does not score goals. Instead he imitates a headless chicken getting in the way of mid field and wing back play all the time. England have played better on the occasions he has been sent off.
    England need some team players. There are too many celebrities in the team. It needs a core of players who are not stars but hold the game together.

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  • 29. At 11:27am on 01 Sep 2008, Rich_Owl wrote:

    Dropping Owen does seem an odd decision. Its well documented that when Owen comes back from injury he needs 5 or 6 full games to regain his sharpness and touch in front of goal, so playing him for a full 90 may be rushing him back too soon, but I would much rather have an 80% Micheal Owen up front than Emile Heskey, whos goal scoring record is lamentable (16 goals in last THREE full seasons - over 100 games) compared to Owen (20 in 45 from last three full seasons). Moral - IF Owen is fit, he scores goals.

    Rest of the squad looks pretty much OK. Lescott is not international class (neither are Downing, Jenas, Johnson or Brown) but with injuries to the thre midfielders, plus Micah Richards and Gary Neville coming back a fully fit squad looks good once he sorts out the srikers.

    And congratulaions to Jimmy Bullard. A choise from left-field maybe, but he's a decent play who works hard and who passes and strikes the ball well and I think he could do OK if he gets a game.

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  • 30. At 11:28am on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    jimnic2

    I agree with much of what you say. If Rooney is picked as a striker, he should score goals, but as you say, he is more famed for getting in other people's way.

    However, you say that the players should not be stars but hold the play together. I don't care if they are stars, and I don't understand the phrase 'over paid prima donna's' which will surely be wheeled out soon enough. As long as whoever is picked puts in the right thought and effort, that will be a good starting point for me.

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  • 31. At 11:28am on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 32. At 11:29am on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    wayne4, i think the number next to your age represents your mental age. How stupid of you to say your comments.

    SWP too old?

    Beckham time passed?

    Wallcott is a pace based player like Owen, Rooney and Owen work, and im sure if given the chance Walcott Rooney would work.

    Saying Rooney doesnt deserve his England shirt at the moment? Where is your justification? The guy works his socks off all day long maybe too much for his own good.

    Oh I see your point drop Rooney, lets drop every other decent player we have and put in kids, go on Fraiser Campbell knock em dead!

    And who the hell says Terry needs to be dropped?

    Terry and Ferdinance, with Cashley down the left and (at the moment) Wes Brown down the right is the best back 4 I can think of! Both full backs loving to support and move up and down the lines all day long!

    The fact of the matter is Rooney probably isnt scoring the goals he has been doing in previous years because hes playing out of his favoured position, hes doing the best he can with where he is being told to play, which I reckon deserves a merit badge on its own.

    We havent got another Striker that can be Michael Owen. Defoe is garbage and I have never rated him. Crouch is a second striker rather then a main threat. The only player I can think of being a now-to-future replacement for Owen is Walcott.

    Anyone saying Owen is passed it, is stupid, the guy has had such bad luck with injuries!

    Finally Lampard will never be an England player in my eyes, hes massivly over rated and the likes of Gerrard with cover from Hargreaves or someone similar is key.

    Going back to the days of Euro 04. We had a ginger named Paul Scholes who was our attacking midfielder in the days when Gerrard played a more cover/defensive role.

    Now times have changed and Gerrard is now the new Scholes (In the sense of position for England) so he needs a player to cover him while he go's darting off shooting from range and creating things. Hargreaves when (if ever?) fit would be my vote. The guy works harder and covers more ground than any other player I know.

    The End?

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  • 33. At 11:29am on 01 Sep 2008, k8ibelle wrote:

    I wish everybody hould get over this fixation with Michael Owen. The reason England underperform is because we should blind loyalty to bg names regardless of form. We insist on playing Gerrard and Lampard together even though the two prima donas refuse to alter their playing style to accomodate each other. Lets not pretend that they CAN'T play together, they WON'T play together. For goodness sake, if their talent doesn't stretch to playing with each other then what are we paying them for?!

    And as for Owen, the Owen you all talk about as capable of scoring important last minute goals is the Owen of 5 or 6 years ago. He was a world beater then. He no longer is.

    The sooner Capello shakes up the England team and makes the positions something to fight for, the better. At the moment, most England players are guarenteed their place regardless of how they perform. If that we no longer the places, and players had to fight for their positions, England would start winning trophies.

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  • 34. At 11:30am on 01 Sep 2008, Bantam102 wrote:

    Like the wally before him, Fabio has decided to drop a big name. I hope he has done this purely down to the issue of fitness and not to make a statement like Macca in the case of Beckham. Both were/are right that Beckham/Owen didn't merit first team status at the time of selection, but a squad berth seems a decent compromise. What worries me more is the fact that we are still not seeing the likes of Young (far better than Bullard or Downing in either of their positions), Agbonlahor, Ashton, Lennon- crikey, even Wheater would be better than Lescott. I rate Heskey, I really do, but he has had 8 years to prove it for Englands and he never has. He works hard, holds the ball up, and plays with intelligence, but he doesn't really scare defenders.

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  • 35. At 11:30am on 01 Sep 2008, BazOfTheBoleyn wrote:

    There has long been a fixation in this country with Owen that is not mirrored elsewhere. He did not get a look-in at Real Madrid simply because he offers nothing except fitful (nowadays) predatory instincts. He is not as quick as he once was and neither as prolific so he should offer more than goal-hanging. One has only to look at Torres to see how a player in the Owen mould should be performing on the pitch. Torres is a well rounded centre-forward, Owen a relic.

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  • 36. At 11:30am on 01 Sep 2008, malliagooner wrote:

    you said that you expect 4 points from a possible 6, yet you then said jimmy bullard is hardly one for the future? i couldnt careless if jimmy bullard helped us to 6 points in the next 2 games and then never played for england again. we dont need to worry about the future when were in such dire straights as we are at the moment, we need to sort out now first.
    i cant remember the last time i saw england play really well...... germany 5-1, 6 years ago, holland 4-1, 12 years ago.
    owen hasnt had enough games recently to warrant a place, although i do agree with your point on heskey, absolute donkey! rooneys performances of late have been awful in an england shirt, and walcott is not good enough!
    rant over.

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  • 37. At 11:31am on 01 Sep 2008, theforbinproject wrote:

    Owen is a good player and should be in the squad. Any player who has scored 40 odd international goals and is scoring regularly for his club should be and we should rightly be bemused by Capellos decision to drop Owen. But why is Rooney not under the same scrutiny? Rooney, who has only hit 2 competitive international goals since Euro 2004, seems guaranteed a starting place and talk of who should play up front alongside Rooney confirms this.

    This article questions the exclusion of OWen but should surely also question the continued inclusion of Rooney a player out of form for club and country.

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  • 38. At 11:32am on 01 Sep 2008, Roy of the Rovers wrote:

    Owen is still one of the best strikers this country has ever produced, and his record in an England shirt is tremendous, to leave out a fit Owen for an important match against the Group Favourites like Croatia is Naive at best and incompetence at worse. Personally I would rather see Rooney left out than Owen, he's very much overrated. One thing I do applaud is the inclusion of Jimmy Bullard, a player who always gives everything, would also have liked to have seen Kevin Nolan included, a very similar player. These next two games will show whether we have got a tactical genius in Capello or just another ex-club manager who sees the England job has a pension plan, unfortunately I fear the latter. In my opinion there's only one man for the England job, the best English manager we have, its obvious really, Harry Redknapp! Anyway with this line-up of players we will probably beat the minnows of Andorra 3-0, but against Croatia I predict a 2-0 loss. Lets see what happens!!

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  • 39. At 11:32am on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Quickly further more, we English always moan about something wrong with the team! If its not left wing (now 100% sorted by Joseph Le Cole) or Goalkeeper, which I still think David James should be 4th behind the likes of Foster, Hart, Carsson.

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  • 40. At 11:32am on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    walcock was the star of the arsenal team and the world cup squad. he is bang on form and finding the net all too often for his opposition.
    this is the best england have.
    agbonlahor and bent and young are nothing compared to walcock. even if walcock plays 5 minutes for arsenal one week, he should get called up as this is our maradonna.
    who cares if he has 8 goals in 84 games, he is a striker and doesnt have to score nor do anything other than misplace some passes and do some runs.

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  • 41. At 11:34am on 01 Sep 2008, Boonting wrote:

    I'm not convinced on Capello yet but I still think we shoul wait a little longer before making up our minds on him.

    I think not choosing Owen is not the biggest suprise if you aren't a big Owen fan like McNulty, he's out of form and Defoe's doing well at the moment, although could be worth a bench spot.

    Heskey is a bit of a shock, what can he do that Crouch or Ashton can't, particularly if Owen isn't there.

    I only hope we don't play with four central midfielders again, it's boring, but what do you expect from an Italian.

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  • 42. At 11:36am on 01 Sep 2008, Gunner Do you All wrote:

    Just wondering did any of you pro-Owen lot actually see him play Saturday? He was terrible, didn't seem to be anywhere near match fitness and didn't provide any threat to the Arsenal defence. I think this is a brilliant m,essage to send out to all our so called superstars that no1's place is a certainty. Fair play to Capello, the fact is if he did play Owen and he didn't score I'm sure Mr McNulty's next Expert Column will be on Capello's lack of new ideas and following in Erickssons and McClarens footsteps anmd selecting the same players! Fair play Capello, make Owen realise he either has to move club or start playing properly to warrant a place in the England side!!

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  • 43. At 11:36am on 01 Sep 2008, Bergysdeftflicks wrote:

    It shows that Capello has some guts at least. Owens record for England is good, but hes yesterdays man. Hes also one of the clique that needs removing from that squad. There are other more, deserving players whos time must now come. Owen has been washed up for some years. Its the fear of change and of losing that leads people to clamour for his inclusion and its gone on for long enough. I reckon Capello thinks so too, whether or not we qualify.

    I applaud his decision, but then i watched Owen last week end and he was pitiful.

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  • 44. At 11:36am on 01 Sep 2008, TheGMen wrote:

    If we want a proven goalscorer at international level all we have is Owen.
    Great players rise to the challenge and Owen's record speaks for itself. 40 goals only behind Greaves, Lineker and Charlton.
    Walcott must have something others see which most of us don't as why he is in the squad is bewlidering (yes he has great potential but, as yet unrealised).
    Heskey's inclusion is unreal.
    And why is Peter Crouch is not included is stupefying.
    If we are going to stick our neck out why not go for Gabriel Agbonlahor up front and Michael Johnson in midfield. Ashley Young was also mentioned which would be a smart slection.
    Woodgate's also recovered his form and should be there instead of Upson or Lescott.
    Robinson is having a poor start so why not include Scott Carson.
    Everyone can always pick a better England team but I agree with a number of contributors that some of this squad is (politley) is a big gamble.
    Croatia are no pushovers and they must be licking their lips.

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  • 45. At 11:36am on 01 Sep 2008, Asio_otus wrote:

    Owen should be in the squad - if not starting. All English forwards play better off a big man - and no big man has done a better job than Heskey over the years.

    Defoe is on a good run of form - and Capello should watch the tape of him making an idiot of Lescott and then select Woodgate and drop Lescott - and deserves a place in the squad.

    Crouch has never had great pace but that has not stopped him having an excellent scoring record (better than any of the faster players who are likely to start in the next two matches) for his country.

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  • 46. At 11:38am on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    so walcock is better than darren bent who has 102 goals in 265 games, dean ashton, ashley young, agbonlahor and owen.

    please.

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  • 47. At 11:38am on 01 Sep 2008, mattybeeee wrote:

    Absolutely insane. I have very little faith in Capello now. Owen has played very well so far this season, and actually did well against Arsenal and would've had a goal if Ameobi hadn't got in his way. Yes he's recently come back from injury but he's playing well and England need him.

    As for the argument that he's past his best, two words: David Beckham. How the hell can he get in the squad and not Owen?

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  • 48. At 11:38am on 01 Sep 2008, HawkingsBoots wrote:

    In my opinion, Capello has made a good move.

    Owen is not match fit. I believe the England squad is capable of returning with at least 4 points without him and so there is no need to include an unfit Owen. To do so would be a return to "the old boys club" under McClaren whereby certain players were simply undroppable.

    We will get the points and not including Owen will be beneficial for the future. Star players need to feel that they have to be playing well to be included, simply turning out for a game or 2 is not good enough.

    Owen will be back, no doubt about that. But only when he is fit and banging them in for Newcastle.

    England needs a strong manager who sticks to his principles no matter whether you are Michale Owen or Jimmy Bullard.

    Of course, it is up to the players in the squad to do the job and provide the platform for the future. I'm not denying that without at least 4 points, Capello will look very foolish indeed.

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  • 49. At 11:39am on 01 Sep 2008, Not Applicable wrote:

    I'm all for giving Walcott a chance ahead of Michael Owen. But Lescott ahead of Woodgate? Illogical, Captain...

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  • 50. At 11:41am on 01 Sep 2008, scales444 wrote:

    I think you should wait until England has lost before you start picking at the group of player picked.

    If England win both games then Fabio Capello will have picked the right group of players even if they come home with 4 points i think that would be a classed as a successful start as Croatia are a good side and will be hard to beat.

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  • 51. At 11:42am on 01 Sep 2008, Gashead_Lud wrote:

    Rite heres my opinion for what its worth - Michael Owen has a proven international goal scoring record. No one else in that squad does. Owen has scored 2 goals this season, whats wrong with that from 4 games ? To be honest it doesnt make any difference against Andorra, u cld play my nan up front nd we'd win but who is gonna score our goal(s) v croatia from that squad ? This shows me that England are goin for a 0-0 draw which sums up the negativety that has surrounded the England team for the last few years. This is why we will never win nething! I will reserve judgement on Capello until hes had some competitve matches in charge, but as for his selection well thats a joke. Also how can ne1 justify Walcott over Owen???? Wot has he ever done ? He cant even get into the Arsenal Team !!!

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  • 52. At 11:42am on 01 Sep 2008, scholesyfan wrote:

    Owen deserves a place in the squad on the basis of his international experience and credentials alone. He also has a knack for putting the ball in the back of the net.

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  • 53. At 11:42am on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    6.8million pounds EVERY year to pick

    a) walcock over ashton, agbonlahor, bent, owen and young

    b) lescock over woodgate.

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  • 54. At 11:44am on 01 Sep 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    To Mr Blue Burns...firstly I want to know what sort of gravy train can been ridden inside an ivory tower??

    But to be serious, I think I did elaborate on why Owen should be in. I do not feel I was simply critical of Capello's decision.

    I wrote this: "The case for is a simple one. Who is best equipped to take what might only be one chance to give England a vital goal in Croatia?

    "In a squad not exactly bulging with goals, that man remains Michael Owen by some distance, and my view is that he should be partnering Wayne Rooney in Zagreb.

    "Capello watched Owen in Newcastle's 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday and obviously did not see enough to warrant inclusion for England.

    "True, he is still short of match sharpness, but this will improve again in the days before the two games, and even in these reduced circumstances he has still scored the goals that won games for Newcastle against Bolton and Coventry.

    "Jermain Defoe has yet to produce a defining moment at international level, while Theo Walcott has yet to deliver on a consistent basis for Arsenal, let alone England.

    "Owen, in sharp contrast, is a proven scorer of crucial goals at every level - and his name and reputation alone still makes the best international defenders take a step back."

    It is actually a poor reflection on England's other strikers that Owen is still their most reliable striker in front of goal.

    And even if you don't feel he should be in the team, then surely you would have him in the squad and on the bench for the moment when you might be desperate for a goal?

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  • 55. At 11:44am on 01 Sep 2008, The little prince scholesy! wrote:

    Owen,Young and Ashton in. Downing,Heskey and Walcott out.

    Maybe England should be managed by the English Public. We all seem to speak more sense than the multi millionaire managers.

    We are aiming to play and achieve some thing in 2010, start intergrating some of the younger players in with the experienced players. Not just stick with the same oldies! Capello obviously thinks every player can last as long as his native 'Maldini'.

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  • 56. At 11:45am on 01 Sep 2008, the_Sluiceterer wrote:

    Not picking the best international striker England have is stunningly ridiculous.
    Including celeb players in the startup is baffling. Maybe he should pick Boris Johnson as well as he has Wembley experience.
    Until England get a proper coach, they will continue to struggle. Throwing money at people to deliver won`t solve the problem. You need people who have produced results from ground level AND/OR have international/European playing exp.
    Either pay Arsene Wenger / Martin O`Neill / Jose Morinhou to do the job ... or accept that the squad will continue to revolve around `team Beckham` and the rest of the celeb-11.. They will beat Andorra, then I think it will be a struggle .. again

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  • 57. At 11:45am on 01 Sep 2008, Boonting wrote:

    Bobby Charlton has scored 40+ goals for England, lets call him up

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  • 58. At 11:46am on 01 Sep 2008, red as tomatoes wrote:

    i came here to actually back capello's choice to not pick owen, but the article does have a point, owen seems to be the only striker who seems capable of scoring internationally. no one has stepped up to take his place, and i have to say i blame that on previous coaches not giving other players a steady run in the national team.

    a little devils advocate: based on form and (mainly) fitness, owen not getting picked is very logical. despite his effectiveness (2 in 3), he looks half the player he used to be. defoe has been the opposite, and it is now left to him to take up the mantle, he should get at least 2 starts heading up the team. he looks to be the heir apparent and i hate to say this, owen and rooney have a knack of breaking metatarsals before important tournaments

    trying to be pragmatic here, 4 points are what we need here from these games. if the squad we have right now cant do it, then our problems are much more than owen not being in this team.

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  • 59. At 11:46am on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    When all is said and done, Capello is largely going on what he has seen with his own eyes.

    Most of the points on here, maybe even my previous points, address individual issues but do not deal with contradictions.

    Pick Owen on his record some say. In that case, we can pick Lampard on his record.

    Others say pick form players rather than old favourites. So why Owen?

    They criticise the defence, yet, we seem to have one of the best defences around Terry and Rio were almost impregnable when playing together in the qualifiers.

    You wanted rid of Mclaren, you got it. You wanted the best that was available, you got it.

    Whatever has happened, what ever the long term future may hold and whoever may be available if and when we get to the world cup, it doesn't matter.

    All that matters right now is to get two decent results and restore a bit of belief in the team and give something for us to actually judge Capello by.

    Ok?

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  • 60. At 11:46am on 01 Sep 2008, Roger_the_Pessimist wrote:

    I like the inclusion of Jimmy Bullard. Not so much because I think he will do great things for England but because of the message it sends out - work hard, play well and you will be rewarded. It lets Englishman at less fashionable clubs know that they too can earn national caps.

    Owen's exclusion is a contentious one. On the one hand, he is always injured. I've heard people say for three years that "he's not match sharp yet but that will come". I'm not sure it will and Owen will probably only ever play in fits and bursts from now on. But what fits and bursts! The guy is the most natural centre forward England has produced since Lineker. His goalscoring record is excellent, even in the past few injury-plagued seasons.

    Most importantly of all, he is a big game player. Certain players excel when the pressure's on. It is a quality that few players possess at the highest level and is generally the factor that separates the great from the good. England need players like that and if Owen is fit enough to start for Newcastle then he's fit enough to make the England bench.

    But the biggest decisions Capello has to make will be in midfield. He has stuck to Sven's policy of playing Gerrard and Lampard together. I don't believe that will work - they should play Gerrard and a sitter such as Barry (or even Bullard). The sooner Capello realises this and restores balance to the midfield the sooner England will become a major footballing force once again.

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  • 61. At 11:47am on 01 Sep 2008, scholesyfan wrote:

    P.S. Why J. Lescott has ever been in an England squad is still a mystery.

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  • 62. At 11:47am on 01 Sep 2008, Steve Fishman wrote:

    How Lescott and Upson get in the squad ahead of Woodgate and Ledley King is pretty baffling.
    And Bridge doesn't play football - he just pops in to get his wage packet every week and then goes home. What a waste of a career.

    I personally think Beckham should be left stateside. What's he going to offer in 2 years time when he hardly has the legs now. And what has Jenas done recently...or ever for that matter. I'd rather have Ashley Young in there instead of one of these two. England are lacking players who can take on the opposition and get to the by-line. Having a couple of these in the squad like Young would give more options.
    Walcott also falls into that category. Whenever I see him play he creates chances. Yes he looks a bit light-weight still but he doesn't half frighten those left-backs. How many other players do that?

    Rooney's link up play is outstanding - just notice how ManUtd play much better when he's in the team. Heskey's okay but again more of a foil than a striker.

    Which leaves Defoe as the only out-and-out striker in the team. He's on form but what a weight on his shoulders. Can he take the burden?
    What separates Owen from his peers is that he thrives under that expectation. Give him a pressure game and he'll deliver. That's why he should be in there.


    So drop Lescott, Upson, Bridge, Beckham, Jenas.
    Bring in King, Woodgate, Young, Owen.
    ...and Wright-Phillips.





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  • 63. At 11:48am on 01 Sep 2008, johnedgar wrote:

    As an unashamed fan of Owen perhaps you are not the best one to comment. I for one have never been impressed by Owen: good enough as a poacher but not a patch on the likes of Drogba, Torres, Kaka, ie. great strikers who can make something wonderful out of nothing, and who also possess great technique, awareness, and skill in abundance. If this is the top international standard for forwards where does that leave Owen (who has no guile, technique, nor creative flair, and seems unable to go past defenders anyone)?

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  • 64. At 11:48am on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 65. At 11:49am on 01 Sep 2008, Not Applicable wrote:

    It's true that some of the players mentioned here - Owen in particular - have a proven record, but the evidence points to Owen being about 5 years past his peak; injuries have made sure of that. Yes, Walcott doesn't get in the Arsenal team at the moment, but I suspect Owen wouldn't either.

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  • 66. At 11:50am on 01 Sep 2008, HawkingsBoots wrote:

    I'm with MrBlueBurns.

    Great stuff.

    All I ask for is that Fabio is consistent and logical with his choices. I'm not doubting Owen's record, but not making this squad does not mean he is finished. He'll be back.

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  • 67. At 11:50am on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    Yes, Walcott doesn't get in the Arsenal team at the moment, but I suspect Owen wouldn't either.

    BECAUSE THEY'RE ENGLISH?

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  • 68. At 11:51am on 01 Sep 2008, BigLRed wrote:

    Capello is right not to include Owen in the England squad. The fact that he has done the business for England in the past does not mean he should be automatically selected even though he looks half the player he was at Liverpool, and well short of fitness.
    How would you justify that decision to Defoe and Heskey who seem to be bang in form? Isn't the whole qualifying to do with the best squad AT THE TIME of the game, or best performers of the past.
    Remember that in Capello we have one of the most succesful coaches in football, and if we do not make an impact with him in charge, then perhaps we have to accept the cold cruel fact that our players are simply NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

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  • 69. At 11:51am on 01 Sep 2008, hackerjack wrote:

    Beckham hasn't got that edge to play 90 minutes at the top level but there is a case to argue that coming off the bench with 20 minutes left he could well play the killer pass through a tiring defence or has the ability to create that one chance from a dead ball that may be crucial with ten minutes to go in a nil nil draw in Zagreb.

    -------------

    No, if Beckham is to play then he should be starting the game.

    There is nothing about Beckham's game that improves with a tiring opposition, n fact his pin-point crosses are more important when a team is fresh and sharp.

    The best use of Beckham is as a crossing machine in the first 60 minutes of a game. Then take him off and put on a SWP, Lennon or Joe Cole who will benefit much more from a tired opposition and would be much less effective agaisnt a fresh one.


    As for Owen, of course he should be in the squad, he is still the best goalscorer in the country (just look at hism goals per minute fro Newcastle compared to Defoe/Crouch/Bent/Henkey etc., only Rooney and Ashton get close). Saying there is a need for someone else to come througyh is all good and well but until someone actually, you know, does, then what is the point of dropping him?

    I just hope that the only reason is the worry about his fitness. Certainly if Owen kleeps fit and is not in the next squad then I would be very worried.

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  • 70. At 11:52am on 01 Sep 2008, red as tomatoes wrote:

    "And even if you don't feel he should be in the team, then surely you would have him in the squad and on the bench for the moment when you might be desperate for a goal?"

    maybe thats what he is trying to avoid, looking desparate

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  • 71. At 11:53am on 01 Sep 2008, philbol wrote:

    About time aswell,talk about overrated players.Owen just isnt good enough,never has been in my opinion,should have been dropped last year...

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  • 72. At 11:54am on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Phil

    Thanks for the response. I'm not usually one for lazy cliches and in writing about gravy trains and ivory towers (in answer, a small one!) I was just trying to convey the point, in as few words as possible, that I do believe there is an aloofness, not necessarily backed up by any substance, among many, many journalists. Check out the Sunday Supplement for a sense of self righteousness far above anything you might get at a religious service that it coincidentally goes up against. (Please note, I exempt Patrick Barclay from that particular criticism even though I don't read his paper).

    Also, I have never claimed to be a writer, I just stick to getting grammar right first!

    I concede that Owen perhaps should be in the squad but I cannot see that he should find a place based on past achievements or, for that matter, current form.

    I watched the Coventry/Newcastle match and you should have heard the commentator eulogising about Owen's goal. 'Once it was at his feet there was only one outcome...'. The outcome was a goal, but it was via a large slip and the goalkeepers glove! Point is, this was not a clinical finish, more a shot that somehow ended up in the goal!

    And where was he against Arsenal? I only saw MOTD but I think he had one shot which he screwed wide and the Croatian defense is likely to be at least the equal of Arsenal's, perhaps with a better midfield ahead of it.

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  • 73. At 11:54am on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 74. At 11:55am on 01 Sep 2008, huntersbitemark wrote:

    "We have relied on Owen for far too long and it is about time for a change"

    Yup, makes sense

    I reckon Man U will dump Ronaldo because he was far too reliable last season



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  • 75. At 11:55am on 01 Sep 2008, Peter R wrote:

    It make's me laugh to be true that a man as special is being mocked by some morons on the dole and some so called "educated" persons on this blog.

    The Facts are that Owen is not fit enough!! Walcott is faster heskey is stronger and defoe is defoe!

    I could understand if he had played every minute of the prem this year and was even average but he's just poor.

    We need to get out of the mentality of picking players on past glories and Cappello is clearly doing that.

    On people questioning Beckham's inclution you must remember that Capello dropewd him at Real madrid and would not pick him unless he is playing well in the MLS.

    Thats me done moaning for now!!

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  • 76. At 11:56am on 01 Sep 2008, SnoopDonnyDog wrote:

    Can't imagine why Lescott is in there. He's already proved he's not up to it. What happened to Woodgate? Wheater? Heskey's no good without Owen.

    Beckham has to be in the squad, because the alternatives have proved they are not good enough. SWP can't cross, and he's a winger? Bentley is the only alternative.

    I can't see Bullard playing, and if he doesn't it will be a waste of a pick. Agree that Rooney's done little for England, however we can't afford to not pick him.

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  • 77. At 11:56am on 01 Sep 2008, chicksdaddy2008 wrote:

    Owen should at least be in the squad. Really don't see where the goals are in this team.

    Upson/Lescott ahead of Woodgate??? Laughable decision.

    Bullard is a damn good player, can't do any worse than Lampard - who lets be honest no one can stand the site of unless a Chelsea fan. He's so overrated its untrue!

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  • 78. At 11:56am on 01 Sep 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    To stevesalmon...fair point about Upson and Lescott getting in ahead of Woodgate, but Ledley King's injury record is awful.

    Woodgate's is not great either, but it is better than King's and on early-season form he has to get the nod ahead of Lescott and Upson.

    Lescott, in particular, has had a terrible start to the new season at Everton and had a nightmare against Portsmouth on Saturday.

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  • 79. At 11:57am on 01 Sep 2008, KingofBrum wrote:

    I love owen for his record, for the memories, for his prowess and proven goal scoring ability. Fact of the matter is though.. I'd rather see england muddle through to the world cup without him at this early stage - and then let him have his swan song at that competition.

    Fact of the matter is that everyone panics whilst looking at a list of strikers without his name but I think this is a poor attitude. Sure there is a lack of proven english goal scorers in the premier league but i don't hear you glory hunting non-patriotic doofuses complaining about it week in week out whilst your teams romp to victory or attempt to beat the top4. So NOW you're complaining that an italian doesn't pick a worthy team? LOOK AT WHAT HE'S GOT TO WORK WITH. It's not like he's got a pletherer of choice, and I'm sorry but owen just isn't fit enough to go right now.

    What scares me most about this team is that we're missing Woodgate as backup, SWP as the talent on the wing and of course Hardgreaves as our most consistant performer.

    I'm not even bothered about gerrard not being there, in fact it would be a great thing for the england team if at least either him or Lamps was always injured before england games. Our midfield would then have balance at least.

    On a side note, Capello would do well to get Rooney to go up top and stay up top instead of going to midfield every 5 mins.

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  • 80. At 11:58am on 01 Sep 2008, Belly1105 wrote:

    What is wrong with Capello?
    Does Ashley Young have some sort of disease? He has been one of the best players in the EPL for about a year now and if i'm correct has only been called up once? Same goes for Gabriel Agbonlahor never seems to get a mention, what have Walcott, Defoe and Heskey done better than him to deserve a call up? Plus both the players I have mentioned are young and still will be when WC2010 come round. I'm not a Villa fan either I support Newcastle.

    Which probably brings me onto Owen. 40 goals in 89 international games there's on a handful of players in the world who can boast a record like that on the international stage, yes he may be 28 and will be 30 when WC2010 comes around but look at Capello's other selections..
    Lampard's still included and he will be 33, Beckham will be 35 and for the life of me I cannot see why he is still selected..probably to boost sales of shirts in the far east.
    David James, Joe Hart anyone? I admire James he's an amazing shot stopper and very agile but in 2 years time he'll be 40 whereas Joe Hart will have got 2 more Premier League seasons under his belt and is already showing signs he will be a world class keeper soon and Capello hasn't even included him.

    The defensive selection includes Matthew Upson, Wayne Bridge and Joleon Lescott. For a start Lescott has had a horrible start to the season Bridge hasn't been a regular for his club since he signed years and years ago and Upson hasn't exactly shone and all of these have been picked over Micah Richards a versatile up and coming defender who seems to have vanished for some unknown reason out of Capello's plans.

    The Midfield selection includes Beckham WHY IS HE STILL GETTING PICKED?! He can deliver a decent ball still and set pieces ares till above average and thats about it, Bentley is a better player now get over Beckham.
    I'm happy Bullard has been picked he almost single handedly kepy Fulham up last year 1 and a half years after what could have been a career threatening injury. I can't stress how important it is that Capello starts including younger players e.g Michael Johnson, Ashley Young and James Milner isn't exactly old at 22 because in 2 years time if Capellos still picking the same team we may not have qualified and if we have we will have a squad of past its.

    The forward line. Where are the goals? Rooney is a world class player involved in everything but he hasn't scored for England in god knows how long. Walcott well if I say why is he included? That will just contradict what I said about introducing new players but he isn't a regular and doesnt get into the Arsenal XI I believe he is a magnificent player but Wenger and Capello if selecting him why not play him? Otherwise whats the point from Wengers point of you spending millions of pounds and Capellos perspective selecting him?! Defoe fair enough scores a lot in the EPL but when has he really stepped up to the international stage? And Heskey hmmm i'm not sure what to say about him. But honestly why leave Owen out? Yes he was a no show against Arsenal but the two matches prior he's shown he can score goals regualarly even when coming off the bench.

    To conclude this essay which I don't see why i've written because i've wasted lots of time. England and Capello really need to step out of the past because what have the generic teamsheet that I keep seeing done for English football in the last 10 years? I hope Capello realises there are good young players in the Premier League going to waste and that we're not going to win anything with 30 year olds saying that Chelsea are probably going to win the title this year but shhh..
    What happened to change Mr Capello?

    (AFter this though I do believe Capellos past achievements are pretty impressive and rate him still as a good club manager)

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  • 81. At 12:02pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    johnedgar I think you should be banned from talking to anyone about football.

    Your comments about Owen are false, pathetic and complete rubbish.

    Maybe search youtube for a little goal he scored against Argentina in the 1998 world cup or maybe a hat trick against Germany in the 2002 world cup qualifiers and then maybe just watch as many videos of him you can find then come back and say your an idiot please!

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  • 82. At 12:02pm on 01 Sep 2008, weezer316 wrote:

    again...for the 30th time.......here we go


    If england fail its because the players arent good enough. Cappello knows how to win football matches, hes won everything everywhere and done it consistently. No one in england, not manager, pundit or 2 bit journalist has pedigree even appraoching this man.

    if it fails and england loose, will Mr McNulty write his next blog entry on which youngesters he should bring in to replace the fancy charlies who have done nothing since 1996?

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  • 83. At 12:02pm on 01 Sep 2008, for4too wrote:

    Capello is a well established coach and this is not his first team. We all might see it as an English team but he just sees it as another one. This probably gives him the best perspective.
    Good coaches exclude good players all the time and get results.I believe team selection is best left to the coach and verdicts can only be passed after the match against Andorra.

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  • 84. At 12:02pm on 01 Sep 2008, agile&fragile wrote:



    I think Capello has set his mind for managing 4 points out of six, which is not too bad, considering the fact that Owen and Rooney have not shrugged off their injuries completely. So, the temporary problem of England is not at the frontline but at the back and middle of the field. England will play a defensive game in Zagret. With that tactic, Hesky is a good choice.

    You have to think about 10 games or so, not just two games and risk your key men. Moreover, Walcott is the future (the foreseeableone) of England. Walcott hasnt delivered consistently at Arsenal so far, but he's shown no sign of faltering in big games. Is this what you all are tight-lipped of slating on your 'superstar' players ?






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  • 85. At 12:03pm on 01 Sep 2008, Wayne wrote:

    to sambosa75...

    How was John Barnes not a succesful England player? Do you not remember the goal against Brazil in the maracana, 1984?
    Considered by many to be one of (if not the actual) greatest goal ever scored by England??

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  • 86. At 12:04pm on 01 Sep 2008, Dave I wrote:

    I would have included Owen, but looking at it logically, what has Capello seen him do in the last two years. Not much!
    I think Capello was impressed by the English style, but only now has he realised that the English do the running about and occasional flashes, but the foreigners that provide the guile.
    After being involved with Italian defending for 40 years, he looked like he thought he was dreaming, watching England's in the last match.

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  • 87. At 12:04pm on 01 Sep 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    On people questioning Beckham's inclution you must remember that Capello dropewd him at Real madrid and would not pick him unless he is playing well in the MLS.

    ----------------------

    I have to confess I've never watched Beckham playing in the MLS as I have no desire to watch substandard football where people are paid £6m+ a year, but LA Galaxy's record over the last ten matches is:

    Played 10, Won 0, Lost 5, Drawn 5.

    That doesn't suggest to me that Beckham is in tip top form. A 1999-era Beckham would have had that league for breakfast.

    Not including Owen seems nonsensical. He's clearly England's best goalscorer, but equally Capello is a top, top manager and it will not be lost on him that the game away to Croatia is not the be-all and end-all of our qualification. If he plays Owen now and he picks up another injury through playing too many games so soon after coming back from a long-term series of injuries then he could risk ruling him out of the remainder of the season.

    I agree with Walcott's inclusion. He adds pace, which is something England have approximately none of throughout the rest of the squad. Personally I'd have included Agbonlahor in the squad for the same reason, in place of either Rooney or Heskey.

    The other glaring omission from where I'm standing is Ashley Young, who's been great for Villa for the last 12 months. Surely he's more worthy of a place in the squad than Downing.

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  • 88. At 12:05pm on 01 Sep 2008, Themonk85 wrote:

    England don't need a coach as these players are coached by some of the very best in the business Scolari, Ferguson etc. What we need is a man who picks the best players and puts them into a system which suits our game. The premier league is played at a high tempo so why not play international football like that? Technical ability you say? So players like Steven Gerrard, Lampard, Rio, Rooney aren't as good as their foreign counterparts? Give Alan Shearer the job, somebody who the nation will get behind and inject a bit of passion into our game. Football is a results business and if we don't beat Andorra and at least get a draw in Croatia Capello has to go. Our football is reflected in the personality of the manager. Dour. Not only does the Owen decision baffle me but Upson instead of Woodgate? Robinson instead of Hart? Why now to decide to Pick Robert Green? Why persist with Beckham who now only crosses from the halfway line as he no longer gets at the full back? Walcott who flatters to decieve still? No Ashley Young or Gabby Abgonlahor or Crouch who when called upon scores for England (look at his record?). England haven't even taken a sideways step with Capello only backwards. It used to pain me to admit Englands shortcomings but this Saturday at 7pm I'll find something else to do.

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  • 89. At 12:06pm on 01 Sep 2008, paul scarf wrote:

    Phil, Capello's capacity to surprise ? In what sense. By picking five dreary friendly squads ?
    By kowtowing to the sponsors and backroom politico's and dragging out beckham's career ? By not experimenting one iota with the goalkeeper position ? I don't understand where you're coming from I'm afraid.

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  • 90. At 12:06pm on 01 Sep 2008, Not Applicable wrote:

    I agree with most people's opinion that Upson and Lescott ahead of Micah Richards and Woodgate seems barmy. I also agree that leaving out Owen would be OK, on recent form, if he was being replaced by promising up and coming players like Agbonlahor, but Heskey? Again? Please.

    All the same, Alf Ramsey had similar criticisms when he picked functional players who fitted into an effective system above gifted players who didn't. If Capello can achieve the same alchemy for England, that's fine by me.

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  • 91. At 12:10pm on 01 Sep 2008, agile&fragile wrote:

    Tomas_W

    Personally I'd have included Agbonlahor in the squad for the same reason, in place of either Rooney or Heskey.

    =============


    Agbonlahor is nowhere near the position that Rooney can play, skill- and presence-wise.

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  • 92. At 12:10pm on 01 Sep 2008, Themonk85 wrote:

    Good call for Bullard though. Long overdue

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  • 93. At 12:10pm on 01 Sep 2008, Talkingjobbies1888 wrote:

    YAWN


    this gets boring i think you should have Owen in the squad as this would defo mean you have no chance of qualifying, i mean can someone supply owens goalscoing record for the last 2 season?

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  • 94. At 12:10pm on 01 Sep 2008, Phillip Stannard wrote:

    Out of all the four Strikers that Cappello has chosen, why leave out Micheal Owen

    He has scored more goals than any four of them all together.

    Theo Wallcot is very unmatch fit, and the rest can't score at the moment, I.e Wayne Rooney

    Cappello's choice for me is baffling really and that Owen Omission is quite shocking really

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  • 95. At 12:12pm on 01 Sep 2008, Talkingjobbies1888 wrote:

    Bullard good going forward but shirks all the hard work excellent inclusion.


    England should try and create a good squad atmosphere and not a room full of egos.

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  • 96. At 12:13pm on 01 Sep 2008, QuincyMD wrote:

    Owen is shot, has been for several years - why do you think Real punted him first chance they got?

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  • 97. At 12:13pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    WOODGATE IS BETTER than lescott
    and bent, young, ashton, agbonlahor are all a level or two better than walcock

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  • 98. At 12:13pm on 01 Sep 2008, RubberNutz wrote:

    Bit bored of idiots on blogs and journo's questioning a man with Capello's record.

    He knows more than you or I and thats an end to it. If England fail, it is as a result of the lack of talent available to him.

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  • 99. At 12:15pm on 01 Sep 2008, Themonk85 wrote:

    QunicyMD. Have a look at Owen's scoring record for Real Madrid. The reason Madrid got rid of him was because he didn't sell enough shirts

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  • 100. At 12:15pm on 01 Sep 2008, global_citizen wrote:

    didn't Capello say he was only going to pick players with full fitness - as an absolute policy?

    Also that no spots were guaranteed?

    I am a big fan of Owen, but have to respect the position of Capello. Newcastle have been shafted re Owen a few times, so for them it must be great to have an England Manager who does not rush Owen back to the fray when he has only started 1 game back.

    Also Owen is injury prone and 28, so surely we need to expose other strikers to this environment or we will be in a position (like last WC) where Owen gets injured and nobody is fit to make the step up.

    I am sure that once Owen has been starting regularly and is back to 100% match fitness Capello with be playing him regularly.

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  • 101. At 12:15pm on 01 Sep 2008, tres__ wrote:

    Well Spain disposed of Raul prior to Euro 2008 and it didn't do them any harm dropping an over the hill goal machine.

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  • 102. At 12:16pm on 01 Sep 2008, BazOfTheBoleyn wrote:

    Why all this praise for a centre half whose team is bottom of the league? Upson's, by contrast, is 5th. Of course, it is to do with what teams are fashionable and which are not and Spurs, despite their mediocrity, have always been fashionable with the hacks.

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  • 103. At 12:16pm on 01 Sep 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    fabulousregas

    Agbonlahor is nowhere near the position that Rooney can play, skill- and presence-wise.

    -----------------------------

    I'm getting a little tired of this Rooney delusion. If he's so great then why hasn't he done anything in an England shirt for the last 384,103,840 matches?

    It's a horribly English disease, keeping the faith with players based on their achievements of yesteryear. Beckham kept his place in the squad for years based on his legendary performance against Greece (Greece! They're not even very good!) and likewise Rooney is keeping his place based on his form at Euro 2004.

    I believe that Wayne Rooney is the most talented striker England have at their disposal, but he simply refuses to play his position; instead he wanders all over the pitch into areas where he isn't needed or wanted. In the last international Defoe tried his best but got no support from Rooney and was totally isolated as a result. If Rooney cannot come to realise that the primary reason he is in the England squad is to score goals, then he must be dropped.

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  • 104. At 12:17pm on 01 Sep 2008, Themonk85 wrote:

    Baz, good comment but surely you cannot take league positions into account yet? Its still early doors.

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  • 105. At 12:17pm on 01 Sep 2008, Jonnersace wrote:

    It's time to look forward, and not look backwards. The England management teams have done that for far too long, picking a team on reputation, rather than what the individual can do for the TEAM. Owen's match sharpness is not going to improve before Saturday, and Capello needs to show that he is not afraid to drop anyone. Conversely, he also needs to demonstrate that he is not afraid to pick players and give them a chance to prove themselves, without the constant threat that as soon as they fail to deliver, the "big named player" sitting on the bench will take up his "rightful place" on the pitch. By all means build on success, but when you haven't had any, then why not start again?

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  • 106. At 12:17pm on 01 Sep 2008, djpater wrote:

    Fabio missing a trick with Wheater. He's gonna be awesome. If he wins 50 england caps I guarantee you he'll chip in with 10 goals. He is already by far the biggest threat of any centre half in the country from set pieces. Oh and he's a quality defender too

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  • 107. At 12:18pm on 01 Sep 2008, forza-juventus wrote:

    this is the typical english reaction. as soon as a big name is left out everyone is complaining. i am dissapointed that owen has been left out but i am more concerned that theo wallcott and heskey have been chosen over the likes of agbonlahor, ashton and bent.

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  • 108. At 12:19pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    upson couldn't and wouldn't even be considered for real madrid.

    woodgate is by far a better player in terms of positioning, aerial ability, understanding and reading, physical presence. well practically every department.

    as for walcock. this must be a joke. just gets in the arsenal squad, yet the novelty englishman is england quality. i'm laughing but somewho i don't suspect crapello is paid £6.8 MILLION pounds a year as a comedian.

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  • 109. At 12:19pm on 01 Sep 2008, conorkilroe wrote:

    come on! Owen has a great record but he's not fit! half a match back and we all expect capello to call him up? get real, look at capello's record, he never pick's players without proven fittnes. He didn't pick beckham for his first game in charge for the same reason, but he has featured since. Owen can still feature in the future but he will have to prove he's fit, can play regularly and score goals, something he has not done for the last fe years. It is great to finally have a coach who is picking players on current form and fittnes, not reputation and history.

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  • 110. At 12:19pm on 01 Sep 2008, jamie norris wrote:

    Cannot beilieve Owen is not incliuded in the squad. I am a huge fan of Michael Owen, as he always scores the crucial goals for club and country.
    It was only last year that he scored three goals in two games for England, that almost saw us qualify fot Euro 08. What happened... Owen got injured and missed the decisive game against Croatia. We lost. That cost England our place at the Euros and Steve McClaren his job. How McClaren must wish to this day that Michael Owen was fit to play.
    He might not be match fit at the moment, but Michael Owen is always in the right place at the right time. It is totally natural to him. You have to have the instinct Owen has it can't just be replicated at this level. Certainly not by the likes of Jermaine Defoe, Theo Walcott or Wayne Rooney, who is not even an out and out forward.
    Sorry to people out there who don't agree, but Michael Owen is the man for the job, and even when he is only 80% fit he will remain the number one for probably the next 4-5 years.

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  • 111. At 12:19pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    Owen is clearly our best striker, fit or unfit he is still the best. No other English striker has his proven goal scoring abillity. Even at Newcastle he has scored 22 in 48 games, considering he has been injured countless times and has probably not gone more than 6 months without being injured then it is an increddible record.

    Stats don't lie. Lets take a look at players England strikers records.
    Owen - 40 in 89
    Rooney - 14 in 44
    Defoe - 5 in 29
    Crouch - 14 in 28
    Heskey - 5 in 46

    If anyone has seen Defoe play for England it is clear that he just cannot cut it at that level.

    Crouch has a tremendous goal scoring record, and is a good player to have in the squad.

    Heskey clearly is not a goalscorer, however he is a terrific target man who can hold up the ball and flick on other players.

    Rooney is neither a target man, nor an out and out striker. He does not score enough goals, as simple as that.


    I really do think that the best combination up front is Owen and Heskey, and Rooney Crouch and Ashton in the squad.


    As for Jenas being in the squad, i have no idea what he does - he just always seems to be in the squad for doing nothing and he doesnt do anything when he is in the squad he just is on the bench all the time.

    And we still have a left sided midfield problem as J Cole always cuts inside, always. I would like Downing in the team, but when he played for England previously he has never impressed like he has for Boro.

    Keeper?

    Richards
    Cole
    Terry
    Ferd

    Bentley
    J Cole/ Downing
    Gerrard
    Barry

    Owen
    Heskey.

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  • 112. At 12:20pm on 01 Sep 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    forza-juventus

    i am more concerned that theo wallcott and heskey have been chosen over the likes of agbonlahor, ashton and bent.

    --------------------------------------

    I'd like to see Ashton given a chance, as he's the closest thing we have to another Rooney, and he might actually be so kind as to stay up front rather than dropping off for 90% of the match.

    Agbonlahor should definitely be given a chance, he's been really good for Villa and has the pace England so obviously lacked against the Czechs.

    Bent though? What's he done to deserve a place?

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  • 113. At 12:22pm on 01 Sep 2008, bringbacktheworld wrote:

    'True, he is still short of match sharpness...' When -was- the last time Owen actually had sharpness? Every time he gets injured the media give him chance after chance after chance to 'regain his sharpness and become the world-class striker we know he is'. The truth is is that he isn't a world-class striker and never was. He's started once so far this season after coming back from yet another injury. Until he has a decent run of games should Capello be considering Owen. As for Jimmy Bullard, it's great to see a normal, open, every day kinda guy (one of the few Premier League footballers of this description left) to be rewarded for good performances, even if he is 29. Capello knows best.

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  • 114. At 12:22pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    upson couldn't and wouldn't even be considered for real madrid.

    woodgate is by far a better player in terms of positioning, aerial ability, understanding and reading, physical presence. well practically every department.

    as for walcock. this must be a joke. just gets in the arsenal squad, yet the novelty englishman is england quality. i'm laughing but somewho i don't suspect crapello is paid ?6.8 MILLION pounds a year as a comedian.

    Owen - 40 in 89
    Rooney - 14 in 44
    Defoe - 5 in 29
    Crouch - 14 in 28
    Heskey - 5 in 46

    WALCOCK - 8 GOALS IN 84 GAMES (CHAMPIONSHIP AND PREMIERSHIP AND CARLING CUP!) WOOOHOO!

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  • 115. At 12:25pm on 01 Sep 2008, jimnic2 wrote:

    My expectatations of this team are so low that I will not bother to watch them being beaten by Andora.
    The last friendly gave a clear demonstration of just what we can expect from this team.

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  • 116. At 12:26pm on 01 Sep 2008, highthief wrote:

    For once, I agree with McNulty - just where the goals are going to come from with this squad I don't know.

    Scratch that, I think I do know - have Beckham hit every dead ball within 50 yards of the opposition goal and hope that someone (one of our defenders, probably, rather than the diminutive strike force) gets a head on it. That appears to be the sum of Capello's plan.

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  • 117. At 12:27pm on 01 Sep 2008, Cocteau8 wrote:

    "How was John Barnes not a succesful England player? Do you not remember the goal against Brazil in the maracana, 1984?"

    ---------------------------------------------
    D'you remember anything he did for England after that goal? Probably not! He had an England career based upon one sole moment of genius!

    And by the way - Upson/Lescott instead of Woodgate?!?! Doesn't matter how much experience Capello has, that decision is just plain wrong!

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  • 118. At 12:29pm on 01 Sep 2008, Zimbabwe wrote:

    Sicknote Owen should not be surprised to be omitted from the squad. Alan Shearer has a great record of goals for England but he' s past it and so is Owen. Until he starts to turn in a regular shift for his own club he has no right to expect to be included in the national team. The likes of Lawrenson are dinosaurs and ought to be replaced by the BBC themselves - that's why they are so opposed to change! How Owen has the cheeck to draw his wages from Newcastle I don't know - he's injury prone and it doesn't matter how good his past record is he's useless if he is in the physio room!

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  • 119. At 12:31pm on 01 Sep 2008, Wardicimo wrote:

    Has everyone forgot what happened during are last fateful campaign. Umbrella man chose all the 'expected' players and see where it has got us, diddily squat! Owen is not fully fit, simple, he didnt have a pre-season so will still be match-rusty. Plus I cant remember the last time he actually played well for England, maybe Capello has a point.
    Bullard totally deserves the call up, he may not be as skilled as some as the others but he always puts 100% into it which is more than what I can say about Carrick, Lampard and Gerrard lately, they have been awful for England and maybe its about time for a change.
    I am a little suprised Crouch hasnt been included, I know he may not score against the 'top' teams but his goal record is still pretty good. Ashley Young, Agbonlahor, Joe Hart, Woodgate, Ashton are all missing and probably deserve a chance. Everyone seems to have forgotten about Micah Richards too, he was impressive in an England shirt

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  • 120. At 12:32pm on 01 Sep 2008, RedTris wrote:

    can i just ask whats happened to ashley young? hes one of the most consistant wide performers in the league and isnt the left side still a bit of a problem? we still have seen nothing amazing of downing since he started playing football and yet he still manages to make the squad.


    wake up fabio, your 'regime' is starting to look very similar to mcclaren's.

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  • 121. At 12:32pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    come on andorra! come on croatia.
    england deserve not our time nor money nor interest.

    i for one have turned against crapello.

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  • 122. At 12:32pm on 01 Sep 2008, borodude wrote:

    Michael Owen's been dodging this particular bullet for years...

    ...not fit for club; miracolous recovery for an insipid England appearance...?

    He doesn't deserve to be picked...

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  • 123. At 12:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, Hookers_armpit wrote:

    The simple fact is Owen has been pedestrian for years. He gets the odd poachers goal - woohoo! On top of that he is always injured and has not been in international form since he arrived at Newcastle.

    Lets move on. Bravo Capello. Walcott's time is now.

    PS Jimmy Bullard is a great call Lescott isn't.

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  • 124. At 12:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, weezer316 wrote:

    god....the english hahaha.

    right, heres my tuppence worth: 4-3-3

    james (by default)

    Cole
    Richards
    Ferd
    king

    hargreaves
    gerrard
    barry

    cole
    bentley
    Crouch


    Crouch is at best a good player, but his record at international level speaks for itself. Superior to all other strikers available.

    btw....you goalkeeping situation is a joke. We have 2 tremendous keepers from a population of 5 million......you have none!

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  • 125. At 12:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    120. At 12:32pm on 01 Sep 2008, RedTris wrote:

    can i just ask whats happened to ashley young? hes one of the most consistant wide performers in the league and isnt the left side still a bit of a problem? we still have seen nothing amazing of downing since he started playing football and yet he still manages to make the squad.


    --------------------

    mate, its all about walcock. 8 goals in 84. young and agbonlahor and bent are nothing compared to this prolific youngster.

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  • 126. At 12:35pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Tomas_W, the Greek team you are reffering to that are no very good went on to win the European Championships in 2004!

    So make sure you read what your typing before pressing Post Comment!

    Stats dont lie, but expierience counts for everything!

    Rooney is not a target man? No one said he was an out an out striker! Can anyone post the stats for ASSISTS and possibly DISTANCE covered? DEADBALLS WON?

    Rooney has never been an out an out striker because he is unselfish which is a massive bonus to which we should exploit! Build the team around Rooney would be the way forward - future imo. Introducing the promising youngsters from Villa and the like. I reckon the big names should be in there but then be covered by the youngsters to push them for all they can do and produce.

    The fact with Beckham is very close to Owen, no one has come along and said "Look I can do that too!" and actually do it! Beckhams dead ball situations have got us through on too many occasion. That there is proof the rest of the team needs work!

    Lets look back - Greece, yes Beckham saved our blushes.

    World Cup 06.

    It was a Beckham delivery that caused our first goal/if we can claim it.

    Beckhams delivery which put it on a plate for Peter Crouch to head home and his free kick which took us past Equador!

    Beckham also works his backside of and always has done, he virtually played greece on his own in 'that match'.

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  • 127. At 12:36pm on 01 Sep 2008, gunnerslover2007 wrote:

    Phil's surprised that Capello hasn't brought Owen along as a "safety net". Well I'm not I'm glad, wasn't that the whole point in getting Capello, a proven manager at the top level, with the record and the arrogance not to pay attention to the insescent whining of the British press. I imagine that were he Spanish Mr. McNulty would have been surprised Arrogones didn't take Raul to the Euro's, but Arrogones is a strong manager stuck with his decision and got a Cup. Thats what we need now.

    The press always call for change but as soon as any of the "golden generation" are left out all we here is doom and gloom about how their proven internationals. At the end of the day these players didn't do the business in the past, we need change and we've trusted Capello to be the man to give it to us, now lets let him.

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  • 128. At 12:36pm on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    designbyvinny

    'come on andorra! come on croatia.
    england deserve not our time nor money nor interest.

    i for one have turned against crapello.'

    On what basis did you turn for Capello? Shouldn't you wait until he has done the job he has been asked to do, i.e. get England qualified for the World Cup finals. It's like a new manager at a league club in the summer being turned against after only pre-season friendlies.

    Also, if you are not interested, why have you commented on a further post by someone else?

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  • 129. At 12:37pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    All these people saying Owen is past it, well if he is past it then Rooney Defoe and Walcott never had it.

    To question his abillity is absolutely absurd. Everyone knows that he has had a terrible time with injuries BUT over this period he has still banged them in at an increddible rate of 1 every 2 games. So if he is this good playing on off then when he really is on a good run without injury then hopefully he can get back to his best.

    Owen at his worst is still better than all the other England strikers on offer.

    O yeah and this season he has scored 2 goals in 3 games, would have been 3 if that donkey Ameobi hadn't got in the way.

    2 goals in 3 games and he is not in top form? speaks for itself doesn't it.

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  • 130. At 12:37pm on 01 Sep 2008, agile&fragile wrote:

    Tomas_W

    ============

    Rooney didnt score as many goals as you might expect because he was told to play behind the main striker and to drag the opponent's defenders out. Scoring goals hasnt been his primary task recently.

    He is a good choice because he has the needed composure at the goal mouth under any kind of pressure.

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  • 131. At 12:38pm on 01 Sep 2008, Bobby M's Barmy Army wrote:

    Who is Phil McNulty and does he no anything about football ?

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  • 132. At 12:40pm on 01 Sep 2008, Wot Kuyt 'e did wrote:

    With his last squad, Capello was being criticised for not daring to change the old McClaren format. Now he's done it, he gets the flak anyway (especially from "expert" journalists). Good for him if he's got a mind of his own!

    I'm a great fan of Owen's, but I haven't seen him on pre-Real form for a long while (since pre-Real, in fact), so his exclusion doesn't surprise me.

    No doubt Newcastle will be happy too, as he only ever gets injured on England duty, just tiding him over till the next international competition...

    As for "it is Owen's exclusion that will be the main ... recrimination, if England fail in Croatia" - An easy "I told you so" in the bank for when England do inevitably fail...

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  • 133. At 12:41pm on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Gerrard_8LFC

    'All these people saying Owen is past it, well if he is past it then Rooney Defoe and Walcott never had it.

    To question his abillity is absolutely absurd.'

    And yet, by your logic, it is not absurd to question a manager of Capello's standing?

    'O yeah and this season he has scored 2 goals in 3 games, would have been 3 if that donkey Ameobi hadn't got in the way.'

    I suspect the Croatian defence, at least, will be a little tighter than that of Coventry!

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  • 134. At 12:41pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Phil McNulty is the BBC's Chief football writer and comeback legend. He covers the biggest, best, most interestingand most hotly-debated sport in the world!

    Thats who!

    Who are you LATICSVALENCIA and what the hell do you NO about football?

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  • 135. At 12:42pm on 01 Sep 2008, forza-juventus wrote:

    why isnt the squad picked on form and not reputation

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  • 136. At 12:43pm on 01 Sep 2008, gunnerslover2007 wrote:

    designbyvinny your constant attacks on Walcott are sad. So Lennon has fallen by the way side and you've nothing better to do then have a go at the young talent down the road, get over it. At the end of the day Capello has watched Walcott play and taken him in training and consistantly picked him ahead of Young and Agbonlahor. May be he's wrong to do this, or may be he's right and he just knows better than you, after all he may not have a great record so far but he's still only 19 and managed to run through practically the entire Liverpool team last season, performing excellently in general in Europe.

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  • 137. At 12:43pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 138. At 12:44pm on 01 Sep 2008, rosscoton wrote:

    Maybe the fact that Owen is only fit when he wants to be is another story.

    Owen is deservedly dropped and shouldn't be included in any plan until he has played around 20 consecutive games to prove his fitness.

    I reckon if a club signed Owen on a pay-as-you-play deal, he would be fit every week.

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  • 139. At 12:44pm on 01 Sep 2008, mpowr78 wrote:

    I agree with Capello that Owen should be left out.
    I really do not understand what he has done over the last years that has earned him a starting place (that is expected by many to be automatic!). I do remember a very decent goal against argentina but other than that...

    Its also frustrating to see alll the negative comments on here about capello and how it already looks bad and no better than McClaren.

    He is a top top manager and given a chance will form a solid team, I am pretty sure of that.

    However, england fans need to understand

    * Capello does not have great resources to draw upon. If our choice of strikers is from Rooney, Crouch, Owen, Defoe, Ashton - then we are really struggling. Only Rooney IMH would get a starting place in another strong international side.
    It is often repeated but the consequence never understood - we lack the technical skills of the leading football nations.

    * We must lower our expectations, be realistic and allow the chosen manager to do his job. As much as we would hate to admit it England are not as good the likes of Croatia, CZ Rep etc. We are certainly far behind, Spain, Argetina, Brazil.
    Given this fact, a draw in Croatia would be an excellent result.
    A defeat although terrible for the qualifying campaign is not unexpected and should not be a reason to seek management changes (which would almost certainly be the case).

    Of course by agreeing these comments people would then have no reason to write negative statements on blogs such as these, and I think many people are just not ready to accept that ;-)

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  • 140. At 12:45pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @133

    No it is perfectly fine to question what he is doing.

    "I suspect the Croatian defence, at least, will be a little tighter than that of Coventry!"

    You think Owen can't cut it at the top level? Owen is more than a match for any defence in the world, without doubt. Just go look at his record. See who he has scored against. A significant number will be better or on a par with the Croat CB currently

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  • 141. At 12:46pm on 01 Sep 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    owen-a man who always stood up for england against the best and delivered-treated with contemp by capello.

    Beckham-a ridiculously and i mean RIDICULOUSLY overhyped one-trick pony who always FAILED to stand and deliver whenever he faced the best for england-endlessly indulged by Capello.

    As the Yanks say,Go figure.

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  • 142. At 12:48pm on 01 Sep 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    JKDUK1

    Tomas_W, the Greek team you are reffering to that are no very good went on to win the European Championships in 2004!

    -----------------------------------------

    Ye-es, but they didn't qualify for the 2002 World Cup, and the match in question took place in 2001. Greece's win in 2004 was a flash in the pan, they've done nothing before or since. Greek football, domestically at least, is a bit of a joke.

    Plus they were already out of the reckoning for qualification before the match began, and were away from home, and England didn't win the match.

    Basically, I don't buy the argument that Beckham saved our blushes in that match, especially since Teddy Sheringham also scored one of our two goals, and also used his experience/gamesmanship to win the free kick Beckham scored from, all after coming on as a sub.


    Anyway, ancient history.

    The real argument here is over Rooney it seems. No matter how you frame it, whether or not he's been asked to play as a second striker, or a right-sided attacker, or a goalkeeper, or anything else, he wears the number 10 for England and as such he should be scoring goals at a rate better than one every ten matches.

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  • 143. At 12:48pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    designbyvinny, please attend school rather than spamming this quite interesting and mature debate.

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  • 144. At 12:49pm on 01 Sep 2008, agile&fragile wrote:



    if Phil McNulty says everything 'right' and 'undebatable' then BBC will stop paying his bursary.

    just make the point you want to make.

    and please give one clue or two to back up your statements.

    I believe you lot out there are not as supposedly clueless as McClaren

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  • 145. At 12:50pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Think you will find (splitting hairs) if Rooney and Owen played, Owen = 10 Rooney = 9, number on shirt!

    I agree with your comment about Sheringham, but it still had to be put into the back of the net and Sheringham couldnt do what Beckham did, could he?

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  • 146. At 12:51pm on 01 Sep 2008, Nortonbiker wrote:

    Seems to be more of the same coach-bashing we always get!

    How many of the recent coaches have wheeled out the same tired faces, Owen, Beckham, Heskey and when they don't perform everybody moans about needing a change. Then along comes someone who does make a change and people start moaning that we should leave the old faces in, we can't have it both ways!

    Let's reserve judgement until after the games, they can't do any worse than the last lot!

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  • 147. At 12:51pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    surely berbatov leaving spurs for man city is a step down. like a huge step down.
    for a team thats finsihed fifth twice in 3 seasons with one cup, four semi finals and three quarter finals to a team with frankly what???????????

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  • 148. At 12:51pm on 01 Sep 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    5TournamentFloplegend

    Beckham-a ridiculously and i mean RIDICULOUSLY overhyped one-trick pony who always FAILED to stand and deliver whenever he faced the best for england-endlessly indulged by Capello.

    ----------------------------------------

    Couldn't agree more. Someone care to remind me when the last time Beckham played well for England against a top team was?

    Before starting, do not say "Argentina in the 2002 World Cup", because:

    1) That was six years ago.
    2) Beckham was the worst player on the pitch during that game, and was only bailed out by dint of scoring the winning goal - a penalty.
    3) Argentina went out in the group stages at that World Cup, without beating anybody.

    Beckham is great at setting up goals against poor and average teams, but he almost never does it against anyone of quality. Think carefully; isn't that the same argument most people use to dismiss Peter Crouch? Why doesn't it apply to beckham also?

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  • 149. At 12:52pm on 01 Sep 2008, Zephyryx wrote:

    I agree with Owen not being included. He's not sharp and for far, far too long the England team has been a clique. I think Capello is making a deliberate statement with his first few squads: You have to earn your caps from now on.

    I think Mr McNulty is a little too worried. If England fail to beat Andorra it won't be for the want of a Michael Owen. England should win that game even with me up front (I'm waiting by the phone Fabio...). As for the Croatia game, I think Capello will play one up front to negate a very technical Croatia midfield so I don't think Owen would play anyway.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Owen. The guy is a goal machine but he's not at the top of his game right now and the ethos needs to be reinstilled that you have to deserve to be in a squad. I'm far more surprised that Woodgate was left out for Lescott. That is very odd I agree with Phil there.

    As for Ashton, he's a far better player than Crouch or Heskey but I haven't seen him play this season so I can't comment on whether he's the form player. I hope he gets his chance at some stage though because I think he's a superb all-round player.

    @Dax47988

    Better Centre Backs than Terry everywhere you look??? Have you been at the crazy pills? I'm a Liverpool fan but you have to give credit where it's due; Terry's an awesome defender. It's true that Gerrard is better than Lampard and the two don't seem to work together but to not take Lampard on that basis is madness mate and you might wanna check the squad; Gerrard is injured...

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  • 150. At 12:52pm on 01 Sep 2008, gunnerslover2007 wrote:

    "walcott. england.
    joke of the year."

    Typical spud no facts no figures because at the end of the day its all rubbish. You wanna know the real joke? Its that you've already wasted a young promising England winger from Leeds, who's gone backwards in the past few years and yet another promising England winger, albeit an Arsenal reject still thinks that he can progress playing for you lot. Then again may be its just because no big 4 clubs were in for him and he knows that playing for Spuds is a bit like going on trial at Man U and with any luck he'll be playing for them in a season or two.

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  • 151. At 12:52pm on 01 Sep 2008, shirleywu wrote:

    Capello has enough champions, and he doesn't care about the destiny of England, he is not english...
    I cannot find anyone could compete with Michael at this moment, who saved team twice last couple of days?
    injury... so ridiculous, just like Sheva's reason of leaving milan~~and what's the result?!
    Anyway, Come on andorra! Come on croatia!

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  • 152. At 12:52pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @139
    "We must lower our expectations, be realistic and allow the chosen manager to do his job. As much as we would hate to admit it England are not as good the likes of Croatia, CZ Rep etc. We are certainly far behind, Spain, Argetina, Brazil."

    The point is we should be better than Croatia Czechs and should be in the Top 5 teams in the world with the quality of the players at our disposal.

    Teams like Croatia overachieve, England just toally underachieve and usually play so bad that its hard to watch such good players for club can play so badly for country.

    There are so many people on here who seem to have an unfouded disliking for Owen. You cannot argue with his goal scoring record. As i have said before his record even with him being injured is still incredible.

    What does he have to do for you people to recognise how important he is to England?
    Score 40 goals in the Prem every season for 5 seasons before he is allowed back in the squad at the expense of Walcot who has the impressive strike rate of 1 goal every year.

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  • 153. At 12:52pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    walcock will score goals. give him 84 games and he'll get you 8

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  • 154. At 12:54pm on 01 Sep 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    JKDUK1 wrote:

    Think you will find (splitting hairs) if Rooney and Owen played, Owen = 10 Rooney = 9, number on shirt!

    I agree with your comment about Sheringham, but it still had to be put into the back of the net and Sheringham couldnt do what Beckham did, could he?

    ------------------------------------------

    We-ell, Sheringham did score free kicks from time to time, but obviously Beckham was the better bet to score it out of the two.

    Must nark Sheringham off somewhat though that Beckham gets ALL the plaudits for that result, when effectively they each scored one and set one up... and Beckham took 12 attempts whereas Sheringham only took the one!

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  • 155. At 12:56pm on 01 Sep 2008, Vox Populi wrote:

    Let's face it, Michael Owen is a shadow of his former self because of injuries. We aren't talking about the France 98 player any more. Owen's talent was always based on his pace, allied with his finishing and penalty box awareness.

    When a player like Owen loses their pace, they become ineffective at the very highest level and that has slowly been happening to Michael Owen.

    I honestly think other players will score goals for England and have more to their game. We have to move on.

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  • 156. At 12:57pm on 01 Sep 2008, JustALitaBit wrote:

    Unlike Steve McClaren, who made suprise omissions (like David Beckham) purely to try and underline his position as the boss, I think Capello has actually made the decision to drop Owen based on genuine footballing reasons.

    I would actually prefer Owen to Walcott, but I can understand the choice. Walcott has been doing well whereas Owen still needs to get back to his best. Without his reputation no one would bat an eyelid at his omission. Hopefully he will find his form and that bit of pace he seems to have lost and be back in the England team before long.

    Ashley Young should be in the squad though.

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  • 157. At 12:58pm on 01 Sep 2008, rooney_is_a_potato wrote:

    Maybe capello is trying to tell owen to move club. He barely gets to prove himself at the highest level because he never gets the ball in the first place when playing for newcastle.

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  • 158. At 1:00pm on 01 Sep 2008, WhoSaidThat wrote:

    I have to agree with the people on here who are saying we have to assume that Capello knows what he is doing. We really should. Doesn't mean we cant question some of the ridiculous decisions he appears to have made. Is English football so bad that this is the best we can do? A couple of OAPs still living the dream surrounded by a bunch of misfits with 0 experience. Top that with a team with egos bigger than their pay packets, we don't stand a chance! Rooney doesn't deserve and England shirt Lampard is a joke and Heskey is lucky to stay on his feet for more than 5 minutes....we are in serious trouble. I wont be surprised if we don't come back with any points.

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  • 159. At 1:00pm on 01 Sep 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    Beckham-an attacking midfielder who we were endlessly told had a "great shot".After 12 years he ends up with a record of NEVER having scored an outfield goal v a first world nation and of all the tons and tons of endless free-kicks he wasted going for goal and "doing his routine"-he also ends up with a grand tally of 0 from this method v the first world nations of the game-and we are STILL indulging his quest for eternal fame?

    Somebody wake me from this nightmare.

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  • 160. At 1:01pm on 01 Sep 2008, Kevin Craner wrote:

    Owen is the only proven out-and-out goalscorer at the highest level that England have. He maybe lacking match sharpness, but he has the ability to score from only one chance and that is so important, esp at international level.

    I understand the need to find new players to 'take over the role' but the king isn't dead yet, so he should at least be in the squad and when fully fit starting.

    I agree with somebodies comment about Beckham. He is an overrated player who has lived on the outstanding ability to cross and strike a dead ball, but nothing else. He was found out by the best countries years ago, while Owen has continued to score (2 against Russia) against the better teams. Maybe if Owen had sold out and got a 'popstar' wife like Beckham it would prolong his England career? Sounds crazy doesn't it, but you have to question the importance of celebrity status in today's game. If Beckham was 'allowed' to win his 100th cap, (which was no real use to the team) why can't Owen (who is 4.5 yrs younger) be given the chance to become England's all time leading goal scorer which would be an asset to the team??????

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  • 161. At 1:01pm on 01 Sep 2008, druss_the_legend wrote:

    This mirrors the "pressure" placed on Aragones in Spain in the years leading upto Euro 2008 with his selection decisions.

    I say "presure" because cranky old alpha males don't give a monkeys what anyone thinks, so it's not really pressure in truth.

    Nowadays strikers cover as much ground as midfielders and are as imposing as centre becks - if not in height then at least in brute strength.

    Owen is a bit like a Raul for Spain, a relic of 1990's football.

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  • 162. At 1:03pm on 01 Sep 2008, Dr_pedantic_blue wrote:

    Personally i would have had heskey and owen up front for you lot, heskey is doing very well and is getting better with age which surprises me alot and owen is a goal scorer. To be honest capello is playing the biggest bulkiest players to try to bully a result our of a technical croatia, bad sign in my opinion

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  • 163. At 1:04pm on 01 Sep 2008, Quados wrote:

    Is it me, or is our new coach lacking in the "new ideas" department. With the exception of Bullard (great choice by the way ... proper footballer who'll give his all for Club and Country) Capello hasn't done anything fresh or different since he took charge.
    Same team, same formation, same performance levels (in fact, I think England were brighter under McClaren).
    Tactically they look inept and uncertain, they lack pace in crucial positions and they still rely on overpaid and unmotivated "Premier League Stars". Can someone tell me why Capello isn't looking forward to the World Cup - why are Beckham, Neville, James, etc in the squad? They are yesterdays players. Where are the likes of Agbonlahor and Ashton and Young? Why are we relying on players that won't even make the world cup. Why is Heskey in the squad ahead of Ashton or Owen? Why is the manager still unable to speak English. Why the hell didn't we get Martin O'Neill in the job. Or Paul Ince? or anyone young and ambitious and keen to make their mark!
    Lets be honest - the England set up is a total laughing stock. We need to invest in youth, give the kids a chance, take the pressure off and lower the expectations. Then ... maybe ... we can start to enjoy our international team again.

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  • 164. At 1:04pm on 01 Sep 2008, alic1984 wrote:

    Looking down the England squad you have to ask what have Robinson, Bridge, Upson, Bentley, Jenas and Walcott done to be worthy of England squad places ahead of the likes of Hart, Shorey, Wheater, Ashley Young, Michael Johnson and Agbonlahor.

    I love David Beckham and respect everything he has done for the England team but why would you pick Beckham for his set piece play alone when you consider that Gareth Barry is already in the team and Ashley Young could easily fill Beckhams boots on the right wing and take advantage of the two best set piece delivers in the Premiership. The amount of goals Aston Villa score form these two players free kick deliveries is amazing.

    The England team to me at the moment is stale and if Capello doesn't start to give our best young players a chance we can look forward to watching the world cup in 2010 without England in it, I really think things are that desperate!

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  • 165. At 1:04pm on 01 Sep 2008, Mark Woodward wrote:

    England are going to play with 5 in midfield in Zagreb and you can't have an unfit Michael Owen as a sole striker, which is why he was left out.

    I don't agree with the decision however, as if England are one nil down with 20 mins to go, who would be the best candidate to bring off the bench to get a goal, Michael Owen of course.

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  • 166. At 1:05pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Tomas_W :P think we should take your advise pal and move on from the past/splitting hairs! :D he he!

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  • 167. At 1:06pm on 01 Sep 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    To shirleywu...I won't have it that Capello doesn't care about England. He is a total professional in every aspect of his approach - I just feel he is making a mistake.

    He is certainly not trying to put a marker down by excluding Owen, which I believe Steve McClaren was trying to do when he dropped David Beckham.

    We will know soon enough, but I genuinely believe not to have Owen in the squad, at the very least, is an error.

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  • 168. At 1:07pm on 01 Sep 2008, sheepyknees wrote:

    You are forgetting the most poor, glaringly obvious exclusion.

    Ashley Young!

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  • 169. At 1:08pm on 01 Sep 2008, JB_Thinking wrote:

    I can't say I agree with the selection, but we rarely play like a team. If removing stars and replacing them with less talented players is the way to make us play as a team again, then I'm all for it. The best teams are those that play together, not the ones with the best players. If you have a big enough talent base, then you should be able to get a team that plays together and has some of that star quality. But that doesn't mean you pick the best XI and then try to build a team.
    The general public and the media also need to give Capello sufficient time without increasing the pressure on him after any hiccups. If we don't qualify for the WC (World Cup rather than Toilet) then the knives can come out and I am sure I will be calling for a new coach...

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  • 170. At 1:08pm on 01 Sep 2008, JustAnOpinion wrote:

    So....

    Green
    Johnson, Ferdinand, Terry, A Cole
    Bentley, Barry, Lampard, J Cole
    Defoe, Heskey


    ....to start?

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  • 171. At 1:09pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Are these games being BBC'd Setamapered or Sky'd?

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  • 172. At 1:09pm on 01 Sep 2008, ManUtdLeon wrote:

    I think some people are being far to premature here. Suggesting Capello is a waste of time and somebody even suggested McClaren was better? WHAT!?!?!
    You cant say that, the campaign hasnt even started yet and were saying England are going to struggle to qualify? Get a grip guys I
    get more and more fed up of looking at 606 because of some idiots who have no idea what there going on about. Lets see what the Croatia game brings, and hopefully Defoe, who is in my opinion the in-form english striker at the moment, performs well.

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  • 173. At 1:09pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    Owen and Heskey ftw

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  • 174. At 1:10pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    capello is amazing! worth every penny! and so glad to see walcott in the england team. he's had a marvelous year banging in the goals for the reserves. all 8 of them in 85 games.

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  • 175. At 1:10pm on 01 Sep 2008, Jonny_NorthBank wrote:

    I was at Emirates on Saturday and Owen was awful, Capello clearly made his decision based on that performance....

    Jimmy Bullard has been one of Englands most creative midfielders for some time now, he deserves his call-up, I for one hope to see him get a game.

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  • 176. At 1:12pm on 01 Sep 2008, Y wrote:

    Shock horror. A talented English football player who is not match fit is not called up to the England squad.

    This doen not follow with our tradition of playing unfit, tired players and expecting them to win a world cup.

    I protest Mr Capello! And I hope in the next England squad we have a player who has a broken foot, another who has just returned from injury and of course, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard playing in the centre of midfield.

    This is course why we pay you millions of pounds, to play the same old way with the same old players.

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  • 177. At 1:13pm on 01 Sep 2008, prettygrumpy wrote:

    I can't imagine why a proven goal scorer at international like Owen has been left out .

    That liability looney Rooney has been picked again

    He is the John Barnes of the modern era .

    Picked because he had one good game foe England.

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  • 178. At 1:14pm on 01 Sep 2008, mpowr78 wrote:

    Gerrard_8LFC

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  • 179. At 1:16pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    175. At 1:10pm on 01 Sep 2008, Jonny_NorthBank wrote:

    I was at Emirates on Saturday and Owen was awful, Capello clearly made his decision based on that performance....

    Jimmy Bullard has been one of Englands most creative midfielders for some time now, he deserves his call-

    __________

    Owen was awful you say, yet he would have socred had the donkey that is ameobi not got in his way.

    Clearly Crapello must have seen Walcott bag a brace at the Emirates then to explain his inculsion in the squad.

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  • 180. At 1:18pm on 01 Sep 2008, jamie norris wrote:

    139. At 12:44pm on 01 Sep 2008, mpowr78 wrote:
    I agree with Capello that Owen should be left out.
    I really do not understand what he has done over the last years that has earned him a starting place (that is expected by many to be automatic!). I do remember a very decent goal against argentina but other than that...
    ----------------------------------------------

    This is all I read before I came to the conclusion that you are an utter berk.
    How can you even suggest that Owen has only perfomed in that one game. 40 GOALSI 84 GAMES. You are an idiot .

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  • 181. At 1:20pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    176. At 1:12pm on 01 Sep 2008, afcb_pete wrote:

    Shock horror. A talented English football player who is not match fit is not called up to the England squad.

    This doen not follow with our tradition of playing unfit, tired players and expecting them to win a world cup.

    I protest Mr Capello! And I hope in the next England squad we have a player who has a broken foot, another who has just returned from injury and of course, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard playing in the centre of midfield.

    This is course why we pay you millions of pounds, to play the same old way with the same old players.
    ______

    This whole Owen "match fit" arguement is just tired.
    Is he match fit atm? you say no, yet he has 2 goals in 3 games.
    Walcott i presume you believe is match fit has 1 goal every year.

    Match fit ? Not match fit>?
    It's totally irrelevant for England as he is their best striker even when he is, as you claim not "match fit"

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  • 182. At 1:21pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    I second that Jimboo20

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  • 183. At 1:22pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Dont forget Walcott - like Rooney, is played out of positon imo.

    how about Rooney in his fav behind striker role with Walcott to be fed?

    Now thats an idea!

    Give it a CHANCE! Rather than being too scared!

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  • 184. At 1:25pm on 01 Sep 2008, mpowr78 wrote:

    Gerrard_8LFC

    "The point is that we should be better than the Croatia Czechs and should be in the top 5 teams in the world with the quality of the players at our disposal"

    I agree with the sentiment in this comment but I am not sure it is currently accurate.
    The reason why we "should be" in the top 5 is only based on history as a "top" footballing nation, and as we host the best league competition in the world.
    Unfortunately history does not count for anything, current performance does.
    Also our great league is dominated by international star players, managers and to an increasing amount, foreign money.

    This also leads on to the quality of our players. IMO they do not have the quality.

    Yes they perform well for club where their passionate, physical performance can nicely compliment the skills of their exotic team mates.
    However in international football this is not the case.
    Only Rooney, Ferdinand and Gerrard would be selected regularly in the squads of another top international team.
    Having 3 quality players and 8 "passionate" headless chickens don't quite cut it.

    We should
    * cut underacheiving players
    * have realisitic expectations
    * select players based on current performance and fitness
    * start to gel a good team and let capello do his job over the next few years

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  • 185. At 1:26pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    Yeah, Mr BlueBurns, well said! It used to be "talk is cheap", now it's "talk is very expensive".

    The media and "pundits" (ha,ha,ha!!!) are making a lot of money by talking mangers up or down, according to their apparently non-existent football knowledge, while millions of mugs consume this poor excuse for journalism.

    Is letting the manager manage and getting behind the team too much to ask of "supporters" and media? If we don't qualify, he will be out, anyway.

    Good sporting professinals like Capello and loyal fans win cups and trophies, not professionals of the loose-tongue.

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  • 186. At 1:27pm on 01 Sep 2008, Ranbir wrote:

    "There are compelling football reasons..."

    Yes, of course. Because Capello doesn't base his reasons on football. He's never done that! I mean, this Capello fella is just some amateur!

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  • 187. At 1:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, Luckybeat wrote:

    Come on everyone have a bit of faith. It maybe blind at the moment but its early to panic. We haven't even had a competitive game yet and we shouldn't need Owen to save us from Andorra. Yes Croatia will be a tougher proposition but Owen needs games. He's never been a striker who just settles straight in and starts scoring, maybe when he was younger but not anymore.

    Hopefully the squad is pointing towards the best team rather then the best players, with each player with define roles. If Rooney actually played CF then I'm sure he'd get goals and we wouldn't be worried about our other strikers as there won't be any. Capello so far has played with one man upfront.

    I am surprised Young is overlooked for Beckham though as when was the last time he scored a "trademark" freekick. The reason why Laursen gets a lot of goals at Villa is a Young freekick.

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  • 188. At 1:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, dceilar wrote:

    Do we really believe that Defoe and Wallcott are better then Owen? Peter Crouch is better than those two - and he's not in the squad either. Come to think of it when was the last time that Rooney had a good game for England - two years ago!?

    I hope that Fabio is playing mind games with Owen so it encourages him to go up a level and become the dangerous forward we know he can be.

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  • 189. At 1:29pm on 01 Sep 2008, philbol wrote:

    Can somebody out there please help me and tell me what weve actually achieved with Owen in the team?Iseem to recall weve won NOTHING...like so many of our so called great world beating players..ala Gerrard,Lampard ,Cole,Terry,Beckham etc they cant do it on the big stage in a England shirt, and the simple reason is that theyre not world class,something is missing,we all know that but somehow dont want to admit it.They always come up short and theyll come up short again in the world cup qualifiers,well perhaps sneak through,but there will be no consistency,no great football just business as usual i.e dissapointment at the end. The players in this country are simply overrhyped and we the fans should learn to accept their limitations ..simple.

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  • 190. At 1:31pm on 01 Sep 2008, NeoConsumer wrote:

    On yesterday's performance, Reo-Coker would have been a better alternative to Bullard... The rest? Couldn't care less!!! Once they out the shirt on, it goes down hill.

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  • 191. At 1:31pm on 01 Sep 2008, Bergysdeftflicks wrote:

    Owen aside. I ve had my say on that, but lets say well done to Bullard. Hes a good player and on the only time England ever had a decent side(1966) the team and the squad was full of players from the so called lesser teams. Its a choice for the ordinary guy, the worker, the player who works and gets his place on merit rather than his celeb status. We have enough of them Mr Rooney, Mr Gerrard, Mr James, Mr Owen and Mr Beckham being to name just a few.

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  • 192. At 1:32pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @184
    The real problem that everyone finds so frustrating is why do the players not perform for country.

    The players show how good they are at club level, yet this is hardly ever produced at international level. The reasons behind it, who knows?

    England definetly have a potentially strong spine to the team, but the Rm and Lm are weak positions.

    Breaking Transfer News

    Crapello sacked and Mike Basset brought in!

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  • 193. At 1:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, Col_Utd wrote:

    Now I may only be a lowly Colchester united fan, but there are a few glaring exclusions from this squad.

    Firstly, I think I would include Walcott as a midfielder. An attacking midfielder, but he is not an out and out striker. Could go on the right wing/ behind the strikers [ see below]...the guy is quick, and you want him to run at people when he gets the ball in the centre of the pitch.

    I would replace his striker position with Agbonlahor. Scores goals in the premier league, and it is now time for him to step up from the under 21's. Is also a bit taller than defoe, owen, and Rooney.

    I would drop Jenas because lets be honest; what does he actually bring to the team? He is a nobody player.

    I would swap Heskey for Ashley Young, and just drop Downing, and bring Owen in, so we have 5 strikers.

    Owen; a bit like Beckham is a great player at the moment to have on the bench. 20 Minutes to go, and you need a goal, who else would you want to bring on? Neither at present are fit enough to start an international game; and Beckham is not playing in a competitive league anymore?

    Why isn't Shaun Wright phillips in the team? He can replace downing.

    If Micah richards is fit....he needs to be in this squad!

    So to really shake it up. Starting line up.

    GK: [God knows there all rubbish for England]. James/ Maybe Green is worth a go?
    RB: Richards
    CB: Terry
    CB: Ferdinand
    LB: Cole
    CM: Lampard [ I'd rather Gerrard but he's injured]
    LM: Barry
    RM: J.Cole
    AM: Walcott
    ST: Rooney
    ST: Agbonlahor

    Mr capello: I hope you are reading!!

    NB: if he ever uses this formation, I am going to invoice the FA my percentage of the £6m per year you get to pick the team!!


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  • 194. At 1:35pm on 01 Sep 2008, Dazz wrote:

    Phil McNulty's comment here and indeed most of the other comments indicate that most English people do not understand football as much as they think they do.

    This explains why English managers are often out thought on the continent and why none of the top four clubs have an English coach.

    Michael Owen is clearly past it. People should understand this and move on!

    This seeming reluctance to be dynamic and accept that in football, things always change is the bane of English football. Many still cling to the belief that 4-4-2 is the best fomation in football! The simple answer is that it might be or it might not. It all depends on who you are playing and what players you have.

    I watched with puzzlement yesterday how the MOTD commentators berated Capello for excluding Owen. Beneath this is the fundamental arrogance and belief that the know better than the man.

    Truth is they don't. In every field there are experts and Capello is certainly one in football. For my money, he probably know better than most.

    Why not leave him to get on with the job?

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  • 195. At 1:37pm on 01 Sep 2008, M Charlton wrote:

    Watching England play these days is so Boring. They are full of negative play, instead of using every opportunity to shoot at goal they just keep passing in their own half. I watched Doncaster Rovers at Wembley in the Playoffs and even the commentator remarked it was like watching Barcelona play. We need attacking Football and a striker that sits on the line waiting to get fed. That man is Owen. Who has scored more goals for England, that would be Owen. lampard should be left out. Gerrard should play with Barry. Look for the players that run their socks off all 90 minutes. Also take any Centre Back in the prem league and kick out Capt Neville. We need to play football like Doncaster plays, on the floor passing but we still need someone that can put a ball in a spot from set pieces. That man is Beckham. He is still valuable for that role and doesn't need to be faster. All he needs to do is kick balls into the 6 yard box and preferably in the back of the net. Rooney is best played behind the strikers and Why is Crouch left out. It is time these Millionair Football players started making partners to play off each other. At the moment they are playing like strangers.

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  • 196. At 1:38pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    Michael Owen had a run out in front of the England manager this weekend - Capello wasn't there to watch Arsenal - and his team lost 3-0 with him missing two sitters.

    Was anyone who is giving their opinion actually at the match?

    And are they a better judge than Capello of who should lead England's attack?

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  • 197. At 1:38pm on 01 Sep 2008, boxingvision wrote:

    England should start again from scratch and remove pre-conceptions about who should be in the squad.
    They should perform a complete restructuring of English football from the roots and forget about success in the near future. they should have done this after WC 2006 and had a 8 year plan like other sports.

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  • 198. At 1:39pm on 01 Sep 2008, sisyphusLite wrote:

    England's recent listless performances are testament to how pride in playing for one's country lies second to the financial rewards at club level. Gerrard is the one exception. Rooney has some pride, but leaps on his horse and rides off in all directions, without any idea of direction. And turns out to be useless as a striker. Capello's problem with Owen is that he needs a Deco, or a Crouch, to feed him. Neither plays for England. Heskey will prefer having Defoe as a foil, because he can dribble, and create, as he showed on saturday. Bullard brings that pride, and the best dead-ball delivery in the PL, including Beckham. He might just rouse Barry and co. out of their navel-gazing, and be England's answer for qualification.

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  • 199. At 1:40pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    well i think leaving owen out of the england squad is a BIG risk alot of people think hes past it cant score etc but look at his record yes crouch scores more per game but he causes heart attacks cos he is so bad for england god knows how he puts any in so he should go but owen has scored what 40 goal needs 10 more and hes broken the record even when hes been out no 1 has even touched his record, one side he will do better for newcastle now cos thats all hes got to play for now no england injurys just TOON but on the other he is the most commited england star we hav and at the end of the day he wins games for club and country and should be included or considered (alot) in enland

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  • 200. At 1:40pm on 01 Sep 2008, glenalva wrote:

    its obvious owen is not fit look at the disasters we have suffered in the past when unfit players were included because the press picked the team.so its definately the right decision.all the players in the squad must be fit all owen has to do is play regular first team football well.not declare himself fit for one game and then exspect automatic inclusion

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  • 201. At 1:43pm on 01 Sep 2008, shivermcginty wrote:

    I love it...jingly jangly nerves right across England, pulses racing, heated debates over strikers and midlfield pairings...ooh...Gerrard and Lamps?...Hesky and A.N.Y Other Donkey?....question marks over commitment and passion...trouble in paradise methinks. My crystal ball informs me that the upcoming WC qualifiers hold a healthy portion of sour grapes and humble pie for England...it's amazing everyone gets so worked up about it year after year...accept that, for whatever reason despite a full compliment of crackin players in most positions (aside from between the sticks) England are incapable of playing coherently as a team...my advice...lower your expectations and perhaps your team may just out perform itself for once and wouldn't that just be Chrimbo come early. Chin up.

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  • 202. At 1:45pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    194. At 1:35pm on 01 Sep 2008, DazzlinDapsy wrote:

    Phil McNulty's comment here and indeed most of the other comments indicate that most English people do not understand football as much as they think they do.

    This explains why English managers are often out thought on the continent and why none of the top four clubs have an English coach.

    Michael Owen is clearly past it. People should understand this and move on!

    This seeming reluctance to be dynamic and accept that in football, things always change is the bane of English football. Many still cling to the belief that 4-4-2 is the best fomation in football! The simple answer is that it might be or it might not. It all depends on who you are playing and what players you have.

    I watched with puzzlement yesterday how the MOTD commentators berated Capello for excluding Owen. Beneath this is the fundamental arrogance and belief that the know better than the man.

    Truth is they don't. In every field there are experts and Capello is certainly one in football. For my money, he probably know better than most.

    Why not leave him to get on with the job?

    ___________

    Obviously the formation that you play should be dependant on the players available to you. For example, you couldnt play with wing backs if you don't have players that can play those positions.

    As for you comments that Owen is past it, have you looked at his goal record at all? Or are you just blind?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Owen

    Go look there. Look at the facts.
    The facts say CONSISTENT GOALSCORER.
    Let me repeat that,CONSISTENT GOALSCORER. Even over the past 3 years at NUFC he has scored at 1 in 2 games.

    So tell me again why he is past it?
    If Owen is past it scoring 1 in 2, then what is Wayne Rooney with his 1 in 3 record?

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  • 203. At 1:47pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Said by a true Scot no doubt!

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  • 204. At 1:48pm on 01 Sep 2008, sajjanuk wrote:

    Hey McNutter,
    you like to see england win, yet you want to keep the old dogs who cannot even bark..
    Come to your senses.
    Why are there no takers for Michael Owen in the premiership, (in spite of you guys and media trying to sell him) eh?

    Just because he is past his shelf life and a whole lot of others.

    But then, the fundamental issue that nobody seems to understand and accept in this country is:
    - England are not a good football team, they are just a group of over paid and over rated celebrities.
    - The English media will never allow the coach to do what he wants, and he will never deliver what is expected. THe media will never let him deliver.

    I hope there is some kind of a recession in english premiership. I would like to see the footballers treated as ordinary guys.
    I would like to see them earn ordinary salaries.
    I would like to see them lose their jobs and rot when they dont perform.
    I would like the so-called pundits like phil mcnutley shut their shit.

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  • 205. At 1:50pm on 01 Sep 2008, kinglofthouse wrote:

    Don't really understand the exclusion of Owen. In the Euro qualifiers everybody forgets that our best result (and performance) was when Owen partnered Heskey. So all you Heskey knockers take a hike.

    I like Bullard for a few reasons-he doesn't give the ball away, is simple and intelligent in his approach, he never hides and he scores a few as well. I hope he plays and is not there for the ride. We gotta do something different.

    Definition of insanity? "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

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  • 206. At 1:50pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    he may not be 100% fit right now but he should be included even if he is used as a sub he makes an impact, example newcastles games against boltan and coventry he came off the bench and won the game 4 us and i am sure hes done it for england. There is no automatic inclusion as we can see but some players that we have well they are too good not to include such as: Terry Gerrard Owen Cole Beckham (for now) these are the players i dont think we should change

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  • 207. At 1:53pm on 01 Sep 2008, BazOfTheBoleyn wrote:

    My worry is not that Owen has been left out but that Owen, like Beckham before him, will be put back in once he is match fit.

    Ashton is the future!

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  • 208. At 1:54pm on 01 Sep 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Bullard's inclusion is a real tribute to his ability to bounce back from setbacks and establish himself as a Premier League midfield player.

    But is he an international player? Can you see him as a central figure in Zagreb next Wednesday?

    I can't I'm afraid...although for England and Bullard's sake I hope I am wrong - and if I am I will be the first back on here to apologise.

    Feel free to hold me to my word on that.

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  • 209. At 1:54pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @205 kinglofthouse

    As you say Owen and Heskey combo up front worked perfect in that game. They have a great understanding, and i think they are definetly the best combination up front.

    Heskey allows Owen to score more goals, simple as that. Rooney doesn't score and doesn't assist Owen.

    Easy as that.

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  • 210. At 1:55pm on 01 Sep 2008, Stephen wrote:

    Makes me wonder if anyone has watched what little football Owen has played recently.

    He is nowhere near the player he was.

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  • 211. At 1:55pm on 01 Sep 2008, The unwilling wrote:

    Owen... is he that guy who plays for newcastle now and then? I'd almost forgotten about him.

    So whats he done since his "wonder goal" against Argentina when he was 18? Not much is the answer. And now he no longer has the pace he used to have (which was 90% of his game) and so he amounts to 6yrd tap-ins with his one good foot. Possibly better than Jermaine Defoe but I wouldn't have picked him ahead of Crouch/Ashton/Heskey or even Agbonlahor.

    As Paul Jewel said during an England international last year (before Heskey got injured), Wayne Rooney is the best player and an automatic choice and Heskey is undroppable at the moment... what he left unsaid was "I'd drop Owen"

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  • 212. At 1:56pm on 01 Sep 2008, shivermcginty wrote:

    wahey...first sour grape down the hatch...born in Engerland brought up in Scotland...can't quite make my mind up...okay Scotland. I just reckon even North of the border we've listened to every excuse for England's underperformances and possible theories of why it didn't work out i.e media pressure, foreign coach, tired players, old players, wrong formations, dodgy turf, broken metatarsals (?), dicky karma...tough to put the old finger on and a conundrum and a half...how about not really that great as a team?

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  • 213. At 1:58pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    i hope bullard does well and hope england get at least 4 points but if they dont then clearly Capello has made a big mistake and it will show we need owen

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  • 214. At 1:59pm on 01 Sep 2008, welshsteve wrote:

    What is Matthew Upson doing in the squad, when the likes of Jonathan Woodgate are dropped? It baffles me

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  • 215. At 1:59pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Gerrard_8LFC I was listening to you before, now since you have said Rooney doesnt score and doesnt assist Owen. Ive fallen out with you pal. Pure rubbish/trash!

    Saying move forward? Heskey? Really?

    How is that moving forward!

    Rooney is the future, people need to get off his backs! Reason people are on it is because Owen is the only striker who can consistently put the ball in the net and no other player we have at our disposal can replicate that!

    NONE!

    Defoe is a waist of time! FACT!

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  • 216. At 2:00pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    *
    Defoe is a WASTE of time! FACT!

    :P

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  • 217. At 2:01pm on 01 Sep 2008, Eewires wrote:

    There seems to be an assumption that Capello has left Owen out because he is not fit. I am not sure that is true. Capello did not rate Owen at Madrid and I am afraid this could be the end of Owen unless Capello is doing so badly that the press pick the team (it has happened before).

    I don't think that Owen is the player that he was, but he is still better than any of the alternatives, and having him in the squad he could pass a few tips on to Walcott who logically is the long term replacement.

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  • 218. At 2:01pm on 01 Sep 2008, itoppedeimearmcgann wrote:

    What does Ashley Young have to do to get in the squad?

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  • 219. At 2:02pm on 01 Sep 2008, SirSizeland wrote:

    I think Bullard was a good choice.

    Instead of always looking to the future, lets look at the present. There are quite a few players injured, and he wouldn't have been picked if Hargreaves and co were fit. But out of the english midfielders that are fit, Bullard is amongst the best.

    He is fit and on top of his game, and the fact that he is "lacking match practice" is rubbish, he was vital in keeping fulham up last season. Their magnificent run at the end of last season wouldn't have been possible without him.

    He may be 29, but he oozes quality, and he still has atleast a few years of quality football left in him. It was a brave, but shrewd choice by Capello.

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  • 220. At 2:04pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    to The_unwilling
    yet here is a fool he does not look act facts just says kak owen has 40 goals m8 how many does everyone else hav look at this then think and talk

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  • 221. At 2:05pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    This latest episode of media-fabricated controversy over Owen typifies the types of cancer eating away at English football, in general, in particular, the national side:

    The MOTD team and blogs like these help other teams beat us even before we step on the pitch.

    As for the "expertise" offered to us by these media pundits, you have to ask if it is more "marketable" to pursue certain media lines than others?

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  • 222. At 2:05pm on 01 Sep 2008, chicksdaddy2008 wrote:

    The problem is that no one has had a genuine chance to replace Owen so we all end up talking about him when this comes up.

    But who????

    Defoe? Not up to it!
    Heskey? Too old and a good foil for Owen only.
    Ashton? Worth a try, could be the next Shearer.
    Rooney? He's heading the same way as Lampard and Gerrard in that they are completely tactically inept and don't fit formation. Lampard shouldnt play for England and Gerrard is at his best when darting around like a headless chicken for Liverpool - how Benitez must genuinely wish he'd gone to Chelsea 2 years ago - i dont believe for a min that Rafa really wants him.
    Crouch? Should be in - great Eng record.
    Owen? Worth a squad place when available. Other countries do it with their genuine internationals so why dont we???

    Get shut of Capello - a bad appointment from day 1.

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  • 223. At 2:06pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skippy the Wonder Lemur wrote:

    Its perfectly simple. Capello didn't get on with Owen when they were at Real Madrid and he's letting that cloud his judgement.

    Evidently, Capello's more concerned about saving face than doing a good job for England. Why else would he paid Lampard and Gerrard against Czech Rep?

    Welcome back to the days of Steve McLaren!!

    Every get the feeling nothing's changed.

    Sorry to rant, but England have lacked goals against top teams whenever Owen hasn't played over the last 10 years. Rooney isn't worth his place in the side on current form and we need a goalscorer. How long must this go on?

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  • 224. At 2:07pm on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Skewwhiffin'

    Couldn't agree more. See my (much) earlier comments about the gravy train that the media happily ride whilst thinking they can do a better job.

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  • 225. At 2:07pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @215

    The Owen Rooney combination doesn't really work does it? It's ok but Owen and Heskey have a great partnership.

    At this current moment in time Rooney is nowhere near his best, and is not scoring enough goals. So having Owen Rooney doesn't really work as Rooney is not getting enough goals and he is not the target man that Heskey is.

    I no heskey is old, but when he was brought back to the England team for Euro 08 him and Owen played very well together - Heskey did his job and flicked on for Owen to score.

    If Rooney was at his best and banging them in then i would have no problem with Owen Rooney. But i think Heskey Owen is a much better combination atm.

    Defoe Bent Walcott these don't cut it at this level. The game against Trinidad anyone? Defoes goal was like a semi-pro vs a pub team.

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  • 226. At 2:07pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    walcock 8 goals in 84 games.

    and on the back of one of the worst managerial decisions in international history to pick a championship player for the world cup squad.

    poor darren bent, ashley young, agbonlahor, crouch and ashton. this is a terrible, terrible call.

    hate something in life, hate england.

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  • 227. At 2:08pm on 01 Sep 2008, tinyMagicDragon wrote:

    I've only got halfway through this and already I am fuming.

    *****************************
    "Bit bored of idiots on blogs and journo's questioning a man with Capello's record.

    He knows more than you or I and thats an end to it. If England fail, it is as a result of the lack of talent available to him."
    *****************************
    Lack of available talent??? Or not picking the best available talent (Owen, Young, Woodgate, Agbonlahor)

    And as for comments about Barnes only having the one moment against Brazil, what about turning the "Hand of God" game against Argentina when he came on as a sub, created one goal and nearly the equaliser when Lineker's header from Barnes cross was astonishingly cleared off the line. England could easily have won that game despite Maradona.


    Michael Owen may no longer be a World Class striker, but he remains the best that England have to offer and accordingly should be in this squad. I will continue to be an amused Scotsman as England do their level best to yet again ruin what should be a routine qualification campaign. Imagine the reaction if they draw 0-0 with Andorra through a lack of firepower....

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  • 228. At 2:08pm on 01 Sep 2008, goodnandop wrote:

    I think the whole Capello slating is a bit OTT at the moment and he should be given more of a chance to get things right.

    The next 2 games are important, and with Capellos experience and stature things will improve im sure of that, although dropping Owen is a suprise he unfortunately is injury-prone and needs to take time in getting fit and match sharp im sure hell be involved soon.

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  • 229. At 2:11pm on 01 Sep 2008, malchat wrote:

    Phil,

    Are you convinced that the England team needs fresh blood and ideas?

    Michael is a tried and tested player but these qualities will not deliver the goods; if not now then when.

    England must move on by gradually exposing new, talented and promising players; experiments must commence at the front; give it some thought.

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  • 230. At 2:13pm on 01 Sep 2008, HumanBruise wrote:

    This stinks of the same old tired media circus rattling on about "England expects"! A slice of realism is indeed called for. How can you honestly expect a bunch of overpaid prima donnas, lacking in the basic skills to get hungry enough to actually qualify for a major tournament? Croatia proved last time around at Wembley that they were a superior side and should again take all three points from this average England outfit.

    PS Those advocating a place for the stricken giraffe that is Crouch! - Really? For one so tall he is woeful in the air

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  • 231. At 2:15pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    i do think others should be given a chance i think bring the under 21 into the squad wallcott Ashton Abonglahor possibley let hesky in for a bit all i am say is that from what iv seen from the first team is that only rooney and owen should stay crouch - NO people are blinded by the fact he scores a few and scored a good goal at croata (beckham did the work) but u dont see crouch can miss from 1 yard he clears it off the oppositions line basicly he is not englan quality

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  • 232. At 2:15pm on 01 Sep 2008, 4everForest wrote:

    Completely agree with this.

    Owen is head and shoulders above every other English striker when it comes to scoring goals under pressure.

    How he can be ignored is baffling, its up there with Graham Taylors decision to remove Lineker in the Euros when we need a goal and replace him with Smith... that one worked well !!

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  • 233. At 2:16pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 234. At 2:17pm on 01 Sep 2008, The Professor wrote:

    I think all this indicates is that Capello will only consider players who are match-fit - which is perfectly fair, when you consider our previous penchant for taking half-fit players to tournaments (Beckham, Rooney, Owen) and the disastrous results.

    It would explain the absence of Woodgate, King and Owen. Not fit, won't play. I think it's a fair philosophy to have when you are looking at International level.

    I'm more surprised at the exclusion of Crouch, especially given his partnership with Defoe. How odd to swap Heskey in for him, when he's netted more England goals in half the amount of games. I think the gangly one has a case for discrimination going on here.

    And for all the imbeciles saying Walcott 'can't get into' the Arsenal team - what rubbish. He started our first two games, and was on the bench for the third because of what Wenger described as 'a minor niggle'. Oh, and he came on for 20 minutes. Plus he played in both Champion's League qualifiers. Is that really what you define as not being able to get into a team?

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  • 235. At 2:19pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    HumanBruise
    thank u finally someone that sees crouch for wot he is a footballer with the football skill of a chair i word sorry liverpool fans but BARNSLY last season that is y england do not want crouch

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  • 236. At 2:20pm on 01 Sep 2008, VAMOS wrote:

    if owen was picked, people would be moaning that you can just get in the squad on your name, form doesn't matter. thats what people did not like about mclaren, and now you want to put a striker who scored scrappy goals, cant play 90min in the squad?

    Im glad bullard is there, he deserves it, and he worked hard for it, hope he comes on.

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  • 237. At 2:21pm on 01 Sep 2008, BazOfTheBoleyn wrote:

    TinyMagicDragonthere is a world of difference between "could easily have won" and "might have drawn".

    As for Barnes, one wonder goal and a hard driven cross was his contribution in 70 odd England games. Terrific.

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  • 238. At 2:21pm on 01 Sep 2008, Jenaguru wrote:

    There is nothing grave about Owen being left out of the team. He hasn't seen much game time and to expect him to perfrom miracles for England is bewildering. Capello is right in dropping him and selecting players based on current form. Its the only way to take the England team forward. Spain did it with Raul. Defoe-Agbonlahor-Rooney-Bent-Young should be given their chance. Given a chance these players can stand up and be counted. Owen must now retire from international football and concentrate on paying back Newastle for the astronomical wages he is earning for being injured most of the time.

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  • 239. At 2:22pm on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    HumanBruise

    ' How can you honestly expect a bunch of overpaid prima donnas, lacking in the basic skills to get hungry enough to actually qualify for a major tournament? '

    Can you explain this a bit for me, in particular:-

    1) Overpaid - by what definition?
    2) What is a prima donna?
    3) Lacking in basic skills?
    4) Qualify for a major tournament. Managed in 2004 and 2006 didn't they?

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  • 240. At 2:23pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    Mido_9
    no this is wot i h8 it does not matter how bad a goal is weather u scored from 50yards or 0.5 yards at the end of the day that goal counts and helps the team

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  • 241. At 2:24pm on 01 Sep 2008, sportsdebate wrote:

    Despite disagreeing with Capello I do think the slating is unjustified.

    Personally I would have Green as my number one keeper, Woodgate as my central defender along with Rio and Crouch would always be in my squad. Young would definitely be one of my wide men and my midfield would be likely to have two holding midfielders that will not give the ball away easily. My players would all be comfortable on the ball and the team would not have more than two "explosive" players in it because those are the most likely to lose the ball. For that reason I would probably pick Lampard over Gerrard. These are likely to be controversial decisions especially as I would be more likely to go for someone like Danny Sturridge in the squad up front despite his being only 18 and possibly play Barry and Huddlestone for their ability to hold onto the ball and knit the team together.

    Capello is paid to make his own decisions and it appears that he will not pick injury prone players for his squad. If that is the case then I can understand it. When you have a squad disrupted from your original choice the last thing you want is players pulling out after they have got together because of injury. Let them all prove themselves to be physically capable again over a number of weeks and the situation may change.

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  • 242. At 2:24pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    # 236. At 2:20pm on 01 Sep 2008, Mido_9 wrote:

    if owen was picked, people would be moaning that you can just get in the squad on your name, form doesn't matter. thats what people did not like about mclaren, and now you want to put a striker who scored scrappy goals, cant play 90min in the squad?

    _________________

    Who cares what type of goal he scores?
    All goals count the same, i could care less how they go in at the end of the day.

    The fact is that he scores goals, and no one else in the sqaud has the record that he has.

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  • 243. At 2:24pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    walcock 8 goals in 84 games is better than ashton, young and michael owen???????????????????????

















    hello?????????? you get paid near 7 million pounds a year to tell me as an england fan this????????
    get out.

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  • 244. At 2:26pm on 01 Sep 2008, goodnandop wrote:

    Fair enough the 'match fit' shout may be boring but to play international football very important.

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  • 245. At 2:27pm on 01 Sep 2008, The Professor wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 246. At 2:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, Ranbir wrote:

    "The fact is that he scores goals, and no one else in the sqaud has the record that he has.
    "

    That's because Owen always gets picked. Maybe if we weren't always putting down our new youngsters and instead do what we're supposed to do and support them to do well.

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  • 247. At 2:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    seriously vinny could you grow up?

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  • 248. At 2:30pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 249. At 2:30pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    Football is a team sport - the winners play as a team, over and above individual players and their egos (see Raul in Spain, as someone mentioned before).

    Capello, who has succeeded in creating great sides in all his other jobs, is trying make a team that can play together automatically - if someone is injured, out of form or just excess to the system in place, then it is the manager's prerogative to decide to leave him out.

    Capello has earned the right to manage England through the World Cup qualifying stage and should be fully supported until the end of that period.

    Everything else is just an effort to sell television space and newspapers at the expense of the national side.

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  • 250. At 2:31pm on 01 Sep 2008, Mutara_Nebula wrote:

    This is risible, Phil. have you not been awake in the last 2 years? Talk about media hype and over-expectation - which I bet you are the first to criticise!
    Expecting 4 points from England's two game - we are poor at the moment! A very poor side with under-achieving average players.
    Michael Own has never really produced. Other than the famous goal agains the Argies, name one seriously decent performance with "vital" goals that this "proven" goalscorer has put in in an England shirt. He has promised much, scored a few I grant you - but little that you would not have expected him to produce. Nowhere near the Lineker category.
    What on earth are these "compelling football reasons" for including him?

    And all that aside, for goodness sake you cannot partner Rooney with Owen!! That misunderstands completely the strengths of both men and what each needs in terms of service. Owen has played and scored well with Heskey or Crouch - not alone or otherwise. Rooney is best used behind the striker(s).

    Why do you think Madrid let Owen go after just one year, if he is so dangerous? Because he got found out.

    And please - at international level, you do not pick "for the future". International sport is all about the here and now - you are only as good as your next game, not even your last.

    Come on, Phil!

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  • 251. At 2:31pm on 01 Sep 2008, StJohn_Red_Legend wrote:

    A couple of peculiar omissions from the England squad in the form of Owen and Crouch.

    Owen is the name everyone is talking about and for obvious reasons. He is the proven finisher at International level that England need, given the paucity of chances they have created in the previous competitive games.

    The absence of Crouch from the squad is a concern. He may not have set the world alight for Pompey so far, but he has some natural advantages:

    1. He is extremely awkard to play against, and even if he doesn't win every high ball, will win a sufficiency to supply is partner and holds the ball up very well, bringing in the advancing midfield players, like Lampard and new boy Bullard.

    2. If played with Dafoe, they are club colleagues, and have practiced playing together. He should know Dafoe's runs and Dafoe should know where the knock downs are going.

    3. As a striker, he has an excellent International record of around 1 in 2. Only Owen has a similar strike rate.

    I can only assume that Fabio Capello is valuing perspiration above inspiration, choosing rapid workers for the front two positions to close down the opposition from the front.

    This may be sufficient against Andorra, but against Croatia, we may see the front men fail to take their chances AND the cleared ball coming back at us far too quickly for comfort...

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  • 252. At 2:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, MidasTouch66 wrote:

    Lets give him the benefit of the doubt, jump on his back if those players he has picked dont perform! Though it does look likely he wont get the results we want with the likes of owen, crouch and woodgate missing - even ashton in my eyes is better than walcot and heskey! lescott and upson are not good enough, and fair play on bullard getting the call but is he the future?

    Lets wait and see, then say i told you so or be pleasently surprised!

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  • 253. At 2:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, Lions fan in The Great White North wrote:

    An England squad containing Upson, Downing and, now, Bullard, is a complete joke. These are just not world class players.

    One of the problem the squad has is that they are not together enough. Capello has the opportunity to play a regular striking tandem, Defoe and Crouch, and passes on the opportunity. These guys are now training and playing together every week but the man thinks Heskey is a better alternative.

    It really is quite sad!

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  • 254. At 2:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    how please can noone else see crouch should not be in the england squad anyone

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  • 255. At 2:34pm on 01 Sep 2008, beautifulgamer wrote:

    England manager Fabio Capello has raised eye-brows and perhaps stirred up a bit of controversy by omitting Michael Owen and others from the England for their first two World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia.

    But the man means business. I love this guy. I argued for this when Sexy Becksy was captain. And back then I had nothing against Beckham. I thought he was a great pro - but I didn't think he should be guaranteed a spot in the England eleven just because he was captain.

    That's why I love the statement Capello has made:

    "No-one is untouchable, not the captain, the vice-captain, no-one."

    Be on guard John Terry.

    Michael Owen looked invisible against Arsenal in Newcastle's 3-Nil loss on the weekend - and he's out.

    Not in form? Not playing for a winner? No spot on the England team.

    This type of thinking has so many great ramifications. It means that you not only have to have ability but you have to be striving in so many ways to be a winner - which is precisely what England needs.

    Therefore this decision could cause Owen to either play better, or cause him to push his team to play better, or cause him to push for a transfer - and the ripple effect is that all the other England wanna-be-s around the league will see too that they need to be proven winners, constantly striving to win - however possible - in order to play for Capello and England.

    I think therefore one of the reasons Capello picked Terry ahead of Ferdinand as captain is because Terry is always striving and - more important - he was placing his bet on Terry's team, Chelsea, striving to win and winning - ahead of Ferdinand's United - this year.

    This is going to be great for England - and for Michael Owen too.

    People like Alan Shearer and Phil McNulty can be as perplexed as they want by the omission of Michael Owen - but the facts are the facts - (What have you done for me lately?) - What have you ever done ? Owen did nothing against Arsenal at the weekend - and you could argue he has done nothing with his career.

    He is an underachiever and Capello is correctly pointing out that England needs better than that. England needs winners. Now.

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  • 256. At 2:37pm on 01 Sep 2008, redhotbed wrote:

    capello is going to fail as england manager, he should have picked owen in favour of walcott, and crouch in favour of heskey, AND WE HAVE ALSO GOT BULLARD,JENAS,UPSON ETC., HES PATHETIC

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  • 257. At 2:38pm on 01 Sep 2008, mpowr78 wrote:

    The following team would be worth a go (assuming "Match fitness")

    GK: Greene
    LB: Cole (reluctantley)
    CB: Ferdinand
    CB: Woodgate
    RB: Richards
    DM: Barry
    DM: Carrick
    AM: Gerrard (Captain)
    LF: Young
    RF: Agbonglahor
    CF: Ashton

    Subs:
    Foster
    Terry
    Johnson
    Hargreaves
    Bentley
    Wright Phillips
    Defoe

    For me this injects a bit of youth and pace and sends a message to the "automatic selections" of Lampard, Rooney etc etc

    Also flexible system
    4-5-1 defensive
    4-3-3 neutral
    4-2-4 attacking

    and definately no Owen

    People cannot critise capello / mcclaren for selecting on reputation but then wonder why own is left out.

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  • 258. At 2:39pm on 01 Sep 2008, HumanBruise wrote:

    MrBlueBurns

    1) Overpaid - by what definition?
    Year on year since the explosion of the Sky Cash cow, the standards of the English national side has been in decline. Are you telling me that Rooney, Lampard etc are all that bothered about taking pride in the 3 lions that they wear?

    2) What is a prima donna?
    Look it up

    3) Lacking in basic skills?
    What genuinely World Class players are currently English?

    4) Qualify for a major tournament. Managed in 2004 and 2006 didn't they?
    True but do you seriously think that this side are good enough this time around?

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  • 259. At 2:40pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    beautifulgamer

    owen underachiever do u know how to see
    look at the facts matey hes been at 3 big clubs the top scorer for his counrty earns alot of money (shouldent earn that much) has a family has every thing he wants and U say hes wasted his life done nothing with his career WHICH PLANET R U FROM cos if thats wasting u life am going to waste away!

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  • 260. At 2:41pm on 01 Sep 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    Providing a link to a BBC TV show featuring the words of the much-derided analysis of Alan Shearer makes your argument immediately suspect even if it is right.

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  • 261. At 2:42pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    mpowr78

    i like that team but i would have owen and james on the bench at least

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  • 262. At 2:42pm on 01 Sep 2008, A Moussa Have wrote:

    To be fair owen was shocking on saturday, whereas walcott came on for the last 20 minutes and looked far more exciting.

    This brings me back to 1998, where owen was picked in the world cup squad ahead of other experienced strikers.

    Owen, much like the experienced strikers in 1998, needs to let the younger talent come through and be the next generation of england strikers (walcott, agbonlahor)

    Capello is doing the right thing, he is allowing the evolution to take place, and owen has suffered from too many injuries, and too many limited years since 2004.

    Furthermore as a fulham fan i am delighted to see Bullard get a call up to the england squad. I predicted that Bullard may have been called up for friendlys next summer, as im guessing he will have a good season, but this is a great surprise.

    I hope we don't play lampard.

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  • 263. At 2:44pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    yes owen was bad but then wouldent u be if u got paired with a donkey who got in the way of ur shots and for some reason got that donkey got more service

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  • 264. At 2:45pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    sorry that donk got more service

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  • 265. At 2:45pm on 01 Sep 2008, ccfcjayjay wrote:

    The case for is a simple one. Who is best equipped to take what might only be one chance to give England a vital goal in Croatia?

    ........

    He may be the best at taking one chance, but how about lets try something crazy and play players who might create more than one chance?!

    To be fair, the strike force is the last of our worries, with the midfield as static and un-creative as it is, we'll have to resort to punting long balls up to heskey to fick on. Its an emabaresment to beautiful game.

    I think fair play for dropping Owen, who lets be honest, is no where near match fit, and only played the minuted he has for Newcastle as they have no other striker fit.

    Its this sort of reaction to players being dropped that its no suprise no manager ever has the bottle to drop Beckham/Lampard/Owen etc. If anyone else comes in, people expect them to be amazing instantly, and if there not, everyone cries for the old has been players to come back in.

    I still think Owen is good enough to be in the squad, but only if he is fit. Its a real shame Capello didn't look at some of the up and coming talent in the last 5 freindlies, rather than just playing the same old rubbish that failed to qualify for Euro2008. Now we're kinda screwed. Either we stick to the same crap and probably struggle to qualify again, or we risk playing in-experienced players, and risk the back lash of not playing the so called 'superstars'

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  • 266. At 2:45pm on 01 Sep 2008, confounder wrote:

    The eternal excuse is being rolled out for Michael Owen - he is short of match sharpness.

    Owen never has 'match sharpness'. May be he is a mediocre striker who has scored goals for England because they have no one else. Michael Owen is not a quality striker. He is average but I agree he should be in the England squad, a team full of average players.

    Most of them have the first touch of a goat.

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  • 267. At 2:46pm on 01 Sep 2008, marc750 wrote:

    I think Capello is right to leave Owen out. There are others who are part of the old guard in the England set up that he should leave out as well like Beckham, Lampard and James. Capello has so far made the same team selections as his predecessors and I think it is a positive step that he is willing to drop a big name and give someone else a try.

    Jimmy Bullard is a work horse at club level who constantly delivers. If he can reproduce that work rate at international level that is exactly what England needs. What have Lampard or Gerrard or Hargreaves done for England recently?

    Capello has been criticized in the media for not making enough changes and doing the same things Eriksson and McLaren did before him. Now he finally tries to do something different and gets lambasted by the media. I don't understand Mr. McNulty's viewpoint. Do you want change or not?

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  • 268. At 2:47pm on 01 Sep 2008, johnedgar wrote:

    Can someone please give JKDUK1 (and the rest) their bottle and stop them whinging on about a player who has simply lost it at international level. Well done Capello I say, especially calling up Bullard.

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  • 269. At 2:49pm on 01 Sep 2008, marvin wrote:

    johnedgar
    quiet fool

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  • 270. At 2:52pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    johnedgar there is no need to point your mis guided finger at me sir!

    you are no further closer than I sir to the truth and fact otherwise the FA would be asking you to manage England!

    Just to help you along the way, they wont be making the call either sir im afraid!

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  • 271. At 2:54pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    walcock has scored how many premiership or international goals?

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  • 272. At 2:55pm on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Humanbruise

    As I suspected, you can't. Just another bunch of meaningless sound bites that get thrown around in the pub.

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  • 273. At 2:56pm on 01 Sep 2008, richard crisford wrote:

    can't see how theo gets into the arsenal squad on current form, let alone england. the one thing i would say about capello, though, is he has watched all the players, knows what he wants to achieve and has no preconceptions on players.

    no one will get in on reputation alone, and owen does possess the 1st touch of a r#pist.

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  • 274. At 2:56pm on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Phil

    Can you stop the spamming by designbyvinny please?

    Thanks

    Mr Blue Burns

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  • 275. At 2:57pm on 01 Sep 2008, Trickinho wrote:

    I can't think of a single player who has performed well enough in the past to "deserve" to be in the England squad.

    So for those who post that player X should be dropped because he hasn't been performing, so that player Y can be picked, is missing the point.

    No one has performed. And arguing over players who under-perform at differing levels is pointless.

    Capello needed to pick a squad and he's picked one. Whether it is based on reputation or current club form, it's his squad. He won't be able to please everyone before a ball is kicked. So save the slagging off for the post-match conference.

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  • 276. At 2:57pm on 01 Sep 2008, ccfcjayjay wrote:

    mpowr78

    Couldn't agree more with how we should play!
    I would probably go with Agbonlahor upfront, with either Bentley or SWP on the right, but other than that the team looks a hell of a lot better than how we play at the moment. Still think Ashton is a bit slow to play up top on his own, but at least he can hold the ball up. So maybe start with him then bring on Walcott to scare the pants out of them at the end of the game. Either way it would beat beckham 'crossing' the ball up from his own half with the aim of heskey knocking it back to lampard to try and score from 30 yards away.

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  • 277. At 2:58pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    Phil

    Can you stop the spamming by MrBlueBurns please?

    Thanks

    designbyvinny

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  • 278. At 2:59pm on 01 Sep 2008, sportsdebate wrote:

    I still long for the Hoddle years back. I loved the way England played football then. He chose players on the basis of football ability and game intelligence and obviously demanded the best from his players in terms of their conduct and technical play. The fact that he had players having to prove their fitness before going to a World Cup is something that others should take heed of. It may well be that it is the same principle that Capello is working on.

    The media and the FA got their teeth into Hoddle about his personal opinions and we have had nothing but mediocrity in our style of football since. Hoddle was decisive, unafraid of making bold decisions, demanded the best from his players and was able to change tactics entirely at the drop of a hat. That is something that I have not seen other managers do since.

    Maybe we will eventually find that like Hoddle, Capello is right in his choice of players and tactics. I hope that everyone will be quick to eat humble pie if we are wrong.

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  • 279. At 3:03pm on 01 Sep 2008, John Fisher wrote:

    And if Owen is so good how come non of the big four were remotely interested when he became available?

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  • 280. At 3:04pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    So for those who post that player X should be dropped because he hasn't been performing, so that player Y can be picked, is missing the point.

    ----

    Yep, are we still talking about football here or the American open? Lampard and/or Gerrard, Owen, Beckham, etc. - what a load of old cobblers.

    What counts is the team, their attitude and their organisation on the pitch - not a couple of film stars/footballers.

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  • 281. At 3:06pm on 01 Sep 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    jeanlepoisson

    'And if Owen is so good how come non of the big four were remotely interested when he became available?'

    That may be as much to do with his overall fitness and the commercial commitment that such a decision would bring.

    Anyway, I wonder if Owen looks back at the time he sat on that bench during Liverpool's Champions League qualifier in August 2004, when he wouldn't sign a new contract, and thinks, 'Bugger!'.

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  • 282. At 3:08pm on 01 Sep 2008, AY wrote:

    Defoe instead of Owen.....?
    Bullard instead of Reo-Coker, Noble or Huddlestone.............dear oh dear !!

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  • 283. At 3:09pm on 01 Sep 2008, rndbit wrote:

    I can not really comment on the story as it is just yet another example yet another badly written piece of journalism. I can not believe this journalist (very loosely used), Phil McNulty, is being paid from our license fees by BBC, let alone to call him the "chief football writer". I have read more insightful and well thought put together comments than I ever have on a any single article this guy has ever written. Please BBC there are a lot of people who would love this job and do far better research and fact finding to write a decent, balanced and intelligible article like I would expect from a journalist - Please do insult our intelligence and longer. (I can only assume this comment won't actually get displayed on the Phil McNutly blog, but had to try after reading so many bad articles on it)

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  • 284. At 3:10pm on 01 Sep 2008, HumanBruise wrote:

    MrBlueBurns. says:-

    "As I suspected, you can't. Just another bunch of meaningless sound bites that get thrown around in the pub."

    What does that mean?
    Are you just another Master of the I am right - You are wrong dismissive society?

    What happened to good old fashioned debate?

    Feel free to pick holes in my points but really is that all that you can offer.

    You must try harder

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  • 285. At 3:11pm on 01 Sep 2008, Dazz wrote:


    Phil McNulty's comment here and indeed most of the other comments indicate that most English people do not understand football as much as they think they do.

    This explains why English managers are often out thought on the continent and why none of the top four clubs have an English coach.

    Michael Owen is clearly past it. People should understand this and move on!

    This seeming reluctance to be dynamic and accept that in football, things always change is the bane of English football. Many still cling to the belief that 4-4-2 is the best fomation in football! The simple answer is that it might be or it might not. It all depends on who you are playing and what players you have.

    I watched with puzzlement yesterday how the MOTD commentators berated Capello for excluding Owen. Beneath this is the fundamental arrogance and belief that the know better than the man.

    Truth is they don't. In every field there are experts and Capello is certainly one in football. For my money, he probably know better than most.

    Why not leave him to get on with the job?

    ___________

    Obviously the formation that you play should be dependant on the players available to you. For example, you couldnt play with wing backs if you don't have players that can play those positions.

    As for you comments that Owen is past it, have you looked at his goal record at all? Or are you just blind?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Owen

    Go look there. Look at the facts.
    The facts say CONSISTENT GOALSCORER.
    Let me repeat that,CONSISTENT GOALSCORER. Even over the past 3 years at NUFC he has scored at 1 in 2 games.

    So tell me again why he is past it?
    If Owen is past it scoring 1 in 2, then what is Wayne Rooney with his 1 in 3 record?

    -------------------------

    Obviously you are one of the people who learn your football from Alan Shearer or worse from a text book.

    I accept that Owen WAS a great player. I also accept that he IS still a good player. Owen may yet it make it into the national squad, however he does not MERIT to be called up based on CURRENT FORM.

    In my assessment of Owen, he does not possess the pace, strength or committment being shown by the likes of Defoe, Walcott etc. and that is exactly what we need most right now.

    It has been proven time and again that the best players do not make the best team. Capello is an expert in forging a winning team, is it too much to ask to allow him do what he has done all his life.

    Why should I take the judgment of people who have won nothing over that of a man who has virtually made winning a habit and who is acknowledged worldwide as a model professional?

    McLaren always picked the stars (Owen especially) and where did it get us? A Big, Fat NOWHERE!

    I know Owen has a good goals ratio. No one is disputing that. Is he therefore an automatic choice? NO.

    It would be nice to see journalists like yourself get behind the team for once rather than crucify, crucify and crucify. How come you people never see the good in England or it's teams?

    I put it to you Mr McNulty that Capello is more competent to select this team than you are, perhaps you might consider accepting this humbly and getting behind the team. If and when he does not deliver the expected results, I'd gladly join you in criticizing him. For now, let's give him the benefit of doubt and offer him the maximum support!

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  • 286. At 3:14pm on 01 Sep 2008, Estesark wrote:

    Much like the author of this blog is an unashamed Michael Owen fan, I am an unashamed Jimmy Bullard fan. He is one of the most exciting players I have ever watched, such is his enthusiasm and determination, not to mention quality. He's a marvellous passer of the ball.

    In my opinion, One of England's biggest problems of late - in fact, since I started watching them - is that they don't play with enough energy and passion for the game. Jimmy has got that in abundance, and I can easily imagine him coming on for the last half an hour of the game and spurring the team on to victory, just as he has done for Fulham on countless occasions.

    I'll also add that I feel Owen should be in the squad.

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  • 287. At 3:15pm on 01 Sep 2008, rndbit wrote:

    I can not really comment on the story as it is just yet another example of a badly written piece of journalism. I can not believe this journalist (very loosely used), Phil McNulty, is being paid from our license fees by BBC, let alone to call him the "chief football writer". I have read more insightful and well put together comments than I ever have on a any single article this guy has ever written. Please BBC there are a lot of people who would love this job and provide far better research and fact finding to write a decent, balanced and intelligible article like I would expect from a journalist - Please do insult our intelligence any longer. (I can only assume this comment won't actually get displayed on the Phil McNulty blog, but had to try after reading so many bad articles on it)

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  • 288. At 3:15pm on 01 Sep 2008, showUsYerHands wrote:

    Emile Heskey??? He is a terrible footballer. I'm sick of the sight of him. He has had his chance, he is not good enough. Where is Ashton or Crouch??? The latter of whom boasts a significantly better record for England than that of Heskey.

    And I do not know what Capello will do if Barry gets injured - there are no defensive midfielders in that selection apart form him.

    Lastly, I fear if we do get 4 points, Lampard will get a foothold in the team when it has been proved time and time again he is a shambles for England and should be permanently on the bench.

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  • 289. At 3:15pm on 01 Sep 2008, tarquin wrote:

    I'm beginning to hate Capello's reign already - and no it's not inevitable because that's what the english always do - but just look at what he's done - nothing! he's refused to bring in some real young talent like agbonlahor and ashley young, instead only opting for walcott, who sven was also obsessed with, he sticks lampard in the middle, retains beckham and heskey - as i said when he was appointed: this is sven mark 2! which is better than mcclaren mark 2 but still...

    Questionable call-ups: bridge and lescott - bridge hasn't even played and altho lescott has had a few caps, woodgate has been far better this season

    according to my reckoning he's got 5 wingers - walcott is not a striker!

    heskey is a veteran who admittedly showed a great touch on sat, but rooney has hardly done anything this season, so that seems a bit unfair on owen, defoe isn't top quality i feel - he's great at knocking them past poor defences, so maybe he's a good choice for Andorra

    it seems obvious to me he's planning to play 4-5-1 (or 4-1-1-2-1-1 or something) - considering the weakness of strikers he has - probably rooney (yay....) - this is definitely not needed against andorra

    a 5 man midfield is a complete waste in Andorra - they are a joke, no defence required - stick two up front, send the ball down the wings, crouch and defoe or owen will hammer them in - even long ball will work with two strikers! but oh no, watch as we play a 5 man midfield who pass it around themselves with an isolated striker having a sit down by the box

    oh and i bet lampard scores - this proves nothing!!

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  • 290. At 3:17pm on 01 Sep 2008, rndbit wrote:

    I can not really comment on the story as it is just yet another example of a badly written piece of journalism. I can not believe this journalist (very loosely used), Phil McNulty, is being paid from our license fees by BBC, let alone to call him the "chief football writer". I have read more insightful and well put together comments than I ever have on any single article this guy has ever written. Please BBC there are a lot of people who would love this job and provide far better research and fact finding to write a decent, balanced and intelligible article like I would expect from a journalist - Please do insult our intelligence any longer. (I can only assume this comment won't actually get displayed on the Phil McNulty blog, but had to try after reading so many bad articles on it)

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  • 291. At 3:17pm on 01 Sep 2008, tarquin wrote:

    oh and jimmy bullard is a legend - stick him in the middle with barry, and let him take some free kicks

    one good decision capello - means nothing, especially as you won't start him

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  • 292. At 3:21pm on 01 Sep 2008, fulham1985 wrote:

    erm.... where is all this rubbish about Bullard not being match fit come from? He has been playing since January and has come through all of pre-season, he is 100% match fit.

    In my opinion, as a fulham fan, he actually has been a little off form so far this season compared to last season and pre-injury. However he has still set up all our goals in the league this season and scored possibly our goal of the season already against leicester in the cup. So if that what he can do when he is out of form watch out for him when he is in form.

    He is an excellent set piece taker, both crossing and shooting. I feel that Capello picked him maybe so he could play someone faster and younger on the wing instead of Beckham. He then plays Bullard in the middle with Lampard or Barry and provides all of the set pieces. He also runs around like a mad man. This movement off the ball will give more space to Lampard and should mean that we see more from him. This scenario will probably only be seen in the last 20 minutes of the andorra game but hopefully for jimmy he shows capello enough to merit a place in future squads. I certainly feel he can offer a lot more to england than Jenas.

    Oh and the walcott bashers, yes i agree he should not be in the england squad yet. But saying he hasnt scored enough is beside the point. Wenger plays him as a winger more often than not and many of his appearances have been as a sub, not as a starter. So give him a break so he isnt broken from abuse in 2 years time when he is a genuine contender to start for england.

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  • 293. At 3:24pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    a 5 man midfield is a complete waste in Andorra - they are a joke, no defence required - stick two up front, send the ball down the wings, crouch and defoe or owen will hammer them in - even long ball will work with two strikers! but oh no, watch as we play a 5 man midfield who pass it around themselves with an isolated striker having a sit down by the box

    -----------

    Maybe - just a thought - a match against a supposedly greatly inferioer team might be an excellent opportunity to hold the ball and pass it all the way to the net, for once?

    That's how the top teams play, and although I find it hard to imagine England playing in the same style as Brazil or Spain. perhaps that's what we should at least be aspiring to.

    The English game, with its total dependency on long ball and wings, is obselete.


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  • 294. At 3:24pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    'Wenger plays him as a winger more often than not and many of his appearances have been as a sub, not as a starter. '

    so in 44 starts he has scored 3 goals and 6 assists.

    now what have you to say to that?

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  • 295. At 3:25pm on 01 Sep 2008, fulham1985 wrote:

    oh and bullard is known as a bit of a joker and fulhams team spirit improved ten fold when he came back. And teams spirit is something that england most definitely need right now. Maybe he can dump some yoghurt on lampard like he did to mark crossley. Maybe it will wake lampard up a bit even??!?

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  • 296. At 3:26pm on 01 Sep 2008, captainmacca10 wrote:

    i have read most the comments quite alot of people are suggesting agbanlahor but as a villa fan i do not think he is ready yes he got a hat trick against man city but he goes missing in far to many villa games for me but on his day can be good, id like to see rooney and owen upfront.

    The midfield is where most of englands problems come from we persist in putting square pegs in round holes playing gerrard on the left is a joke which i thing most agree especially when we have a fine left winger called ashley young who cant even get in the squad i find it ridiculous he had 19 assists last year and 10 goals what does he have to do. as for the centre gerrard is a must so that means lampard cant play although he is quality for chelsea i dont see that when he wheres a england shirt, so i would play barry of hargreaves in there with gerrard.

    My team: james, richards, terry , ferdinand, a cole, j cole(right wing), barry, gerrard, young, owen, rooney.

    Surely thats better then the rubbish capello is going to serve up, anyone else agree?

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  • 297. At 3:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, fulham1985 wrote:

    'Wenger plays him as a winger more often than not and many of his appearances have been as a sub, not as a starter. '

    so in 44 starts he has scored 3 goals and 6 assists.

    now what have you to say to that?

    -----------------

    I have to say what i said before, he is young and is a winger. He is only good enough for the U21's right now. I agree with you that he isnt intl quality yet but people should lay off him because his return for a player of his age being played as a winger isnt awful at all. Not great but not awful.

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  • 298. At 3:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, tarquin wrote:

    re285 : DazzlinDapsy
    McLaren always picked the stars (Owen especially) and where did it get us? A Big, Fat NOWHERE!

    ----

    sorry mate, but check which games owen was in - remember those 3-0 wins against russia and israel? - 3 goals right there, he played in 4 games and scored 4, we won 3 and lost 1 (away to russia) of those 4 he played in

    the only criticism you can make of him in that campaign was he was unavailable for most of it

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  • 299. At 3:29pm on 01 Sep 2008, Dan wrote:

    When Capello was appointed people cheer for such a good choice by the FA - now they are questioning his ability of selecting his own squad.

    Owen is not fit and should not be given a place, period. It has to be fair to all other players because someone should not be chosen because he was (or used to be) good.

    My surprise was the omission of Agbonlahor rather than Owen. I was hoping he will be given a chance against Andorra and perhaps Croatia. Why Heskey? Is he a long term plan rather than Crouch? Rooney - ok we know he was good but he is not in any sort of form just like Owen so why him? Perhaps Capello thinks he has place for ONE out of form striker but not two.

    I can see a very negative game against Croatia with Rooney up front on his own and Joe Cole supporting him. But without Gerrard I am already fearing the worst.....

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  • 300. At 3:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, savvo5 wrote:

    15 minutes to go, 1 nil down against Croatia. Who would you rather bring on Heskey or Owen. If England don't score goals in these qualifiers Capello is going to get slaughtered and rightly so. Owen's record is second to none at international level.

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  • 301. At 3:35pm on 01 Sep 2008, auntchristmas wrote:

    When is somebody gonna admit the England Squad is thin at best??? It doesn't matter who is in charge if the same poor quality of player are availalbe.

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  • 302. At 3:36pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    15 minutes to go, 1 nil down against Croatia. Who would you rather bring on Heskey or Owen. If England don't score goals in these qualifiers Capello is going to get slaughtered and rightly so. Owen's record is second to none at international level.

    ----------------------------------------

    bring on walcott. well he's there as an attacker in the england squad? like when rooney got sent off against portugal and we desperately needed a striker. walcott was on the bench. what happened?
    lennon had to go up front and ended up being our man of the match. what is the point of taking walcott who is extremely poor statistically and in performance over young and ashton and bent???

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  • 303. At 3:36pm on 01 Sep 2008, auntchristmas wrote:

    PS resting Owen is an good idea, otherwise he might only get about 10 club games this season.

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  • 304. At 3:41pm on 01 Sep 2008, redstar889 wrote:

    As a Scotsman I always find it funny how the media always try to pick the England team. I thought it was two fingers up to them when Sven took Theo Walcott to the world cup as they were telling him to pick Jermain Defoe who is now, apparently not good enough.

    People like Phil will then write angry blogs about why the England manager should do exactly the opposite and then if it doesn't work out come he can use the science of hindsight to try prove he is a genius.

    If it does work out he will keep quiet and then call for Jamie Bullard or another gamble to be included in every England squad for the future.

    Let the manager pick the team and THEN moan about the selection after you have seen them in action.

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  • 305. At 3:41pm on 01 Sep 2008, tarquin wrote:

    293. At 3:24pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin:

    Maybe - just a thought - a match against a supposedly greatly inferioer team might be an excellent opportunity to hold the ball and pass it all the way to the net, for once?

    That's how the top teams play, and although I find it hard to imagine England playing in the same style as Brazil or Spain. perhaps that's what we should at least be aspiring to.

    The English game, with its total dependency on long ball and wings, is obselete.

    ---

    holding the ball will result in the striker being isolated, because our midfielders will not get forward enough - especially without gerrard

    i didn't recommend long ball, but as it's andorra if we had *2* strikers it would easily overcome andorra - as the last time we played them we actually struggled to score for nearly an hour, which was demoralising

    i don't have an issue with the 5-man midfield per se, just with the (english) players available it doesn't work - plenty of them work in a 5 for their club, but put them into a complicated system with players they aren't used to and they'll struggle - we have some very good wingers

    if hargreaves and gerrard were fit i would favour them and barry in the middle, but if you can find a 5 man midfield that might work in that current squad please ring the FA

    oh and remind me how spain do it?

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  • 306. At 3:42pm on 01 Sep 2008, Topper66 wrote:

    People ask why Beckham is consistantly picked, and also complain that England don't score enough goals. Ever since Beckham returned to the England set up, he's had something like an assist almost every game. (one of) England's problem is that they lack creativity. Beckham creates chances and goals. He gave Crouch a goal against Croatia, Terry against Brazil, and Brown against Czech, and there are more, I can't remember without looking it up though.

    Frank Lampard is another problem. Michael Carrick should be starting every match, preferably with Gerrard in front of him.

    I think leaving out Owen altogether could prove to be a mistake, as he is what they call a 'safety net', but if he's not fit then he's no good to anyone.

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  • 307. At 3:43pm on 01 Sep 2008, Hughton is my brother - my captain - my king wrote:

    Oh this whole escapade has made me laugh. Capello was supposed to be a saviour but instead looks to be McLaren in disguise.

    Capello is trying to prove some sort of arrogant point by not picking Owen, something he tried at the start of his reign with Becks. But he quickly changed his opinion there, and after England struggle to beat Andorra 2-0 and fail miserably in Zagreb, you will see Capello change his mind in his next squad selection.

    But as a Toon fan, I don't mind Owen not being picked, at least he wont get injured for England...

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  • 308. At 3:43pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    15 minutes to go, 1 nil down against Croatia. Who would you rather bring on Heskey or Owen. If England don't score goals in these qualifiers Capello is going to get slaughtered and rightly so. Owen's record is second to none at international level.

    ----------

    I kind of see what you're getting at there, savvo5, but isn't that a strange type of argument for the inclusion of Owen?

    You're harking back to the familiar scenario of an England team, having completely mis-managed a match, bringing on a saviour, out of sheer desperation, in order to recuperate what they have lost during the previous 75 minutes.

    Good teams rarely find themselves in that situation, and when they do, it's in quarters or semis.

    You start winning a match from the kick off.

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  • 309. At 3:44pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Topper66 im in total agreement!

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  • 310. At 3:45pm on 01 Sep 2008, Tartansparkle wrote:

    I'm sure Andorra will be a walk-over for England no matter who plays so that argument is null and void.

    Croatia in Zagreb however, as yous have already learned, is one in which you can get your fingers burnt! As a Scotland fan even I am bewildered by the decision to let Owen sit on the sidelines for this squad but come the Wednesday night you will realise why (for those of you who don't get it).

    Like it or not, you will be under some pretty heavy pressure in Zagreb and Capello knows this all to well. Hence why he will probably do better for you as a manager than a typical English manager who thinks you can take everyone on in their own backyards because you are England. Capello knows that if you are to steal anything in Croatia it will be down to a quick break and sheer pace. THIS is why Walcott is in the squad despite his lack of goal scoring ability right now.

    It's quite conceivable that you's are under the cosh for 70% of the game and yet with 30% of pacey breaks into the Croatian's half you might get a positive result. Owen doesn't have that pace, neither has Ashton or Crouch. Defoe, Walcott and I'd say Rooney do have the potential pace to exploit the back line.

    As a Scotland fan, we have to learn to make-do with what we've got. English fans don't ever really have that mentality but in Kenny Miller and McFadden we have the potential to split any team on the break and often do. We're better away from home than we are at Hampden because we use this to our advantage. Don't be quick to forget just how close we were to getting to Euro 2008 as well.

    I think with a strong defense and a pacey attack you could actually come back with some spoils from Zagreb. I'm no expert in football management but it seems to me that in the Croatia game you will be by-passing the crowded midfield and looking to hit on the break. Bullard is in the squad because when the ball IS in midfield he will get down to the gritty side of trying to win the ball and put determination on the face of your team.

    However, on the debate of Owen, stick him in the strikers role at Wembley when you guys are doing 70% of the attacking and I'm sure he'll go back to banging them in, even if he himself is only 70% fit because that's what he's best at.

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  • 311. At 3:47pm on 01 Sep 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    To beautifulgamer...on Owen "you could argue he has done nothing with his career."

    Sorry, but that is total nonsense.

    A player who won the Uefa Cup, FA Cup (and let's face it he did it single-handedly against Arsenal in 2001), the League Cup twice, played for Liverpool and Real Madrid and is one of his country's highest scorers has certainly done something with his career.

    If he has regrets, I suspect it would be that he was not around when Liverpool won the Champions League in Istabul in 2005.

    Then again, he could hardly have predicted that when he left for Real Madrid in the previous summer - it was not as if anyone expected it.

    I also get the sense he would have liked to return to Liverpool, but to suggest he has done nothing with his career is not only wrong, it is an insult to Owen.


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  • 312. At 3:47pm on 01 Sep 2008, shanefish wrote:

    Capello is right on this one - Owen needs to play more games before he can be recalled. I don't think he would contribute in Croatia unless someone lays a chance on a plate for him. Goals against Bolton and Coventry (!?) don't prove a thing.

    I like the Bullard selection because it shows that performances count.

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  • 313. At 3:47pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    15 minutes to go, 1 nil down against Croatia. Who would you rather bring on Heskey or Owen. If England don't score goals in these qualifiers Capello is going to get slaughtered and rightly so. Owen's record is second to none at international level.

    ----------------------------------------

    bring on walcott. well he's there as an attacker in the england squad? like when rooney got sent off against portugal and we desperately needed a striker. walcott was on the bench. what happened?
    lennon had to go up front and ended up being our man of the match. what is the point of taking walcott who is extremely poor statistically and in performance over young and ashton and bent???

    -------------------------------------

    real test will be if walcott who has struggled severely against premiership defences can score against andorra.
    what faith must we have when we have strikers like young and ashton and bent overlooked for the novelty english bloke at arsenal who doesn't even score or play that much.
    this either underline's capello's lack of international tact, his loyalty to italy or how terrible the english game is.

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  • 314. At 3:50pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    i don't have an issue with the 5-man midfield per se, just with the (english) players available it doesn't work - plenty of them work in a 5 for their club, but put them into a complicated system with players they aren't used to and they'll struggle - we have some very good wingers

    -------------

    histon, I think you've put your finger on one of our great problems, IMO - English players are often too thick and/or lazy to understand more sophisticated systems.

    But you can't blame a world class manager for that.

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  • 315. At 3:50pm on 01 Sep 2008, JackMcMac wrote:

    If the players were integers, and the England team was a math equation, you'd see something like this:

    Beckham + Heskey = Long ball tactics...
    Owen = international goals.

    England x (Beckham+Heskey) - Owen = fail.

    Conclusion:

    Maths is the real winner!

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  • 316. At 3:54pm on 01 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Like it JackMcMac like it alot!

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  • 317. At 4:00pm on 01 Sep 2008, Dazz wrote:




    298. At 3:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, histon4europe wrote:
    re285 : DazzlinDapsy
    McLaren always picked the stars (Owen especially) and where did it get us? A Big, Fat NOWHERE!

    ----

    sorry mate, but check which games owen was in - remember those 3-0 wins against russia and israel? - 3 goals right there, he played in 4 games and scored 4, we won 3 and lost 1 (away to russia) of those 4 he played in

    the only criticism you can make of him in that campaign was he was unavailable for most of it

    -------

    You are still taking a narrow view of things. The bigger issue here is, did we qualify for the Euros or not?

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  • 318. At 4:01pm on 01 Sep 2008, maldiniforzamilano wrote:

    his name and reputation alone still makes the best international defenders take a step back.
    ================================
    i know mcnulty likes owen but that is a pathetic statement. owen was overhyped beyond belief (he can score goals) but was never in the league of ronaldo, henry, shevchenko, trezeguet, crespo, van nistelrooy, inzaghi, kluivert, totti who could all score and offer something more.
    he deserves a place in the squad because england have nobody else (start him against andorra where he might score 1.) but against croatia if you give him the last 20 minutes or the full match he will be invisible. england will not create chances for him and he does not have the ability to do anything else.

    as for the likes of young and agbonlahor, they should play because they are young and it can only benefit them and englands future but they are not going to light up the international stage and people do not have the patience and capello does not have the time as 2010 is all he is focused on.

    capello has made it clear (from his selections) if england dont get the results then he will take the blame and if they do he will take the plaudits. i think they will take 4 points but struggle to play 10 passes against andorra (yet score from set peices) against croatia there defense will see them through. the points about lescotyt against woodgate might just be academic as terry and rio at CB cole at LB (definitely)and brown at RB (maybe).

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  • 319. At 4:02pm on 01 Sep 2008, maybe_this_season wrote:

    I have thought for a long while now that the real problem with England is they try too hard and don't use their heads enough.

    Take, for example, the last game against Czech Republic - players running all over the place, not sticking to positions and not taking their time, defending as a unit or playing counter-attacking football..?!

    This is why I believe Capello was brought in...he has a superb (club) record in getting teams to play properly as...teams!

    Re Owen, he is probably Englands best goal scorer but probably not match fit and I definitely dont think this is a sort of McClaren/Beckham dropping - Owen will be back.

    I just think if the players we're less worried about being individually criticised over commitment to the England cause they would put in a much better team performance and maybe, just maybe do quite well.

    It remains to be seen but I think above all Capello will attempt to build a team here - a team playing well together can beat any group of 11 players (world class or otherwise) that are not playing like a team.

    So, I say lets all get behind England, Capello is paid to pick the squad/team - it's our duty to back that team and cheer them on - let's only be negative after the event if things don't go how they should...

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  • 320. At 4:03pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    Michael Owen has been a fantastic player who, when fit, has performed excellently in two of the best leagues in Europe. At Madrid, he wasn't given a fair chance, and when he played, he was decisive.

    However, that says nothing about where he's at right now.

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  • 321. At 4:05pm on 01 Sep 2008, Straeh wrote:

    to 311 - Phil.

    Owen has had a great career, but l;ets be honest the highlights of his career were founded on performances 7-8 years ago.

    You talk of a possible regret, in 2005, that perhaps highlighted how much he stifled Liverpools ability, he became the talisman and the only option for Liverpool to score.

    His career since leaving Liverpool has been plauged by injury and your posting reeks of the fan within you, not the objectivity that people expect from The Chief Football writer on the BBC.

    Owen has not played a full season in the last 3, he seems more intent on completing contracts and moving on a Bosman that he does seem focused on getting him bac to full fitness and playing week in week out.

    He was a great player, fantastic even but that was 6-7 years ago.

    As a chief football writer and being close the players, I thought you would have been aware of the rumours/issues with Ownes physicality and hamstrings?

    Capello was brought in to do a job, and it is well known that he only picks players who are fit, comitted and willing to die for the cause. Woodgate, and Owen are not what you would call fit players comsidering the amount of time they consistently spend in the physio room.

    These are Capello's first qualification games, the first games of any real importance and people who influence the public thoughts are alreqady second guessing him without a ball being kicked.

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  • 322. At 4:06pm on 01 Sep 2008, uchegodfrey wrote:

    This is exactly the reason why English national teams cannot excel. The all knowing press and the fans are stumbling
    block to national team coaches. Phil you are a sports writer and not a coach. If Capello don't make changes in your national team that is yet to find a winning strategy, how can he succeed. You show me a team that never fail and I will show you a team that never succeeded. The English press is too critical for my liking. They over praise a good team and bury those that couldn't make it. The press buried France for their failure in European championship. My point is that team played with ambition to win but things did not go their way. Injuries and not being able to take their chances made them fail. Even Spain found theirselves in this situation several time in the past. A player need not score every week in Premier league to excel in the national team. if that was the case, England would have done better. Gerald and Lampard have not produced their club form in the national team. If current players selected because of their past and present form in the premiership could not win and qualify England to major tornaments, why do we play them all the time. I believe that most players with little premiership experience can excel more than the super stars. About 50% of the positions in that team need changes. Capello gets it but Phil and most English fans don't. Capello knows that good players without superstar pedigree can take England to the World Cup. Capello knows it but the rest of Critical press and fans don't realize it.

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  • 323. At 4:08pm on 01 Sep 2008, bigcurlygav wrote:

    Why not play to your strengths and have Defoe, who is a natural goalscorer who benefits from playing off a big target man, partnering Heskey, who can play as said target man, with Beckham playing to whip crosses in and do nothing else.

    Then if its not going well stick on Rooney, who is undoubtedly one of Englands best players, but is he part of the best team?

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  • 324. At 4:09pm on 01 Sep 2008, saintmike7 wrote:

    Mr Capello did, in fairness, attend Newcastle's latest offering specifically to watch Michael Owen. It's hardly Capello's fault that what he saw was an aging injury magnet miss a sitter. That does rend any talk of 'one chance, one goal' as a bit of nonsense. Fair cop on the no owen policy.

    That wasn't a 'he's ex-liverpool' pun. If you thought it was then shame on you.

    The other big question is Beckham. I can only assume the plan is to continue picking him until he's essentially an ancient withered husk with a only a right boot remaining propped up by a zimmer frame when the only dribbling he'll manage is from his poorly fitted catheter and we can still watch him hit long floating diagonal balls to nobody in particular from 2 yards inside the opposition half which they clear effortlessly again and again until the Queen cries.

    Or he'll score a free kick, we win and i look stupid. Again.

    Who knows...

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  • 325. At 4:12pm on 01 Sep 2008, telemonster wrote:

    We have relied on Owen for far too long and it is about time for a change.

    I would go further and cull a few more, James (will be too old by the time the WC comes around),*it's about qualifying at the minute* Neville (there must be a better RB in the country),*and his name is?* Beckham (won't be playing to a high standard by the time the WC comes round),*it's about qualifying at the minute* Terry (better CBs wherever you look), *agreed!*Lampard (cannot play with Gerrard, *lampard cannot play in an england shirt* and Gerrard is a better player)*agreed*

    Honestly, the same players for the last umpteen years, it is time to say enough is enough, let a new breed take up the challenge*i sort of agree=we need to qualify, though, and a good mix of youth and experience is probably the way to go. unless we just throw all the hungry young 'uns in and hope for the best! maybe we'll qualify for the next euro's?

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  • 326. At 4:15pm on 01 Sep 2008, Topper66 wrote:

    Owen is not dropped just for Capello to make a point, in the way that McClown dropped Beckham. Owen simply isn't fit enough at this point in time, I'm sure he'll be picked for the next set of qualifiers, he just has to prove himself each week in the Premier League.

    I wonder if Gary Neville will ever get another game...

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  • 327. At 4:17pm on 01 Sep 2008, designbyvinny wrote:

    NEWSFLASH!!!! URGENT!!!! NEWSFLASH!!!!!

    16:14
    I just saw Chimbonda at Kings Cross, on his way back to Spurs to pick up his last pay cheque. Have been reliably informed by him that now Roy Keane has joined in on the act and is trying to buy another Spurs reject, Dimitar Berbatov.

    Who's next to get egg on Fergie's face, another of his old boys? Steve Bruce at Wigan?

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  • 328. At 4:23pm on 01 Sep 2008, tarquin wrote:

    298. At 3:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, histon4europe wrote:
    re285 : DazzlinDapsy
    McLaren always picked the stars (Owen especially) and where did it get us? A Big, Fat NOWHERE!

    ----

    sorry mate, but check which games owen was in - remember those 3-0 wins against russia and israel? - 3 goals right there, he played in 4 games and scored 4, we won 3 and lost 1 (away to russia) of those 4 he played in

    the only criticism you can make of him in that campaign was he was unavailable for most of it

    -------

    You are still taking a narrow view of things. The bigger issue here is, did we qualify for the Euros or not?

    ---

    no we didn't - but you said mcclaren picked big stars - "owen especially" - when in fact owen was one of the best performers when he was available

    likewise beckham - dropped by mcclaren and then returned in glory when we got absolutely screwed without him

    you should've been less narrow yourself - what you really mean is mcclaren's insistence on playing the dream duo of gerrard and lampard, which after barry proved he could play with gerrard ended up with the logical decision of all 3 of em

    or rooney, because he's really good, playing as a lone striker

    those were mcclaren's pickings based on big names, not owen

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  • 329. At 4:31pm on 01 Sep 2008, mr_kreosote wrote:

    Hang on !

    I agree totally Owen should be in the squad, maybe not the team (as should Kirkland, Ashton and Woodgate).

    But to say Defoe has had no defining international moment is a little rich - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QndZ_rX25SI - this was a World Cup qualifier, against good opposition, away from home.

    Apparently Walcott can do this, thought Sven......

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  • 330. At 4:35pm on 01 Sep 2008, Grinnell wrote:

    Of course fans and journalists have the right to criticise England, a good example of this is the fact that everyone knows Gerrard and Lampard should never play together and have done for some years now and yet England managers seem to be only just coming round to this idea. If they do the job they are payed to do - or even maybe perhaps looked interested or strung a few decent results together then they would get the praise they deserved, England are a joke and deserve to be treated as such.

    This recent squad simply demonstrates the continueing problem. Im not particuarly fond of the choice to leave out Owen but that should not be the main talking point in my opinion. Lampard has NEVER had a good game for us so why not drop him and give someone else a go (Johnson at Man City?, Heskey - proven to be average at every level, including championship gets in ahead of gabby whos 3 goals on the opening day will already be hard for emile to overtake this season, no ashley young - most assists in prem last season. Just because players have big reputations it doesnt mean theyre that good as we will again see when various eastern european teams with unheard of midfielders cope with the likes of lampard and heskey easily, and we shall again be surprised by this. The problem with England is half the squad dont want to be there as theyre passion and sense of identity have been nullified by the incredible wages and over the top adoration received at club level.

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  • 331. At 4:37pm on 01 Sep 2008, Dazz wrote:




    328. At 4:23pm on 01 Sep 2008, histon4europe wrote:
    298. At 3:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, histon4europe wrote:
    re285 : DazzlinDapsy
    McLaren always picked the stars (Owen especially) and where did it get us? A Big, Fat NOWHERE!

    ----

    sorry mate, but check which games owen was in - remember those 3-0 wins against russia and israel? - 3 goals right there, he played in 4 games and scored 4, we won 3 and lost 1 (away to russia) of those 4 he played in

    the only criticism you can make of him in that campaign was he was unavailable for most of it

    -------

    You are still taking a narrow view of things. The bigger issue here is, did we qualify for the Euros or not?

    ---

    no we didn't - but you said mcclaren picked big stars - "owen especially" - when in fact owen was one of the best performers when he was available

    likewise beckham - dropped by mcclaren and then returned in glory when we got absolutely screwed without him

    you should've been less narrow yourself - what you really mean is mcclaren's insistence on playing the dream duo of gerrard and lampard, which after barry proved he could play with gerrard ended up with the logical decision of all 3 of em

    or rooney, because he's really good, playing as a lone striker

    those were mcclaren's pickings based on big names, not owen

    ------

    Sorry mate but I'm not one of those narrow minded people who think Gerrard and Lampard cannot play together. Chelsea fields a midfield quartet of Ballack, Lampard, Deco and Joe Cole and they play fantatsically well. Why can't Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney and Joe Cole play together?

    Rooney in my own reckoning is more of an attcking midfielder than a striker...and yes I'm a united fan and one of those who do not believe Gerrard is better than Lampard.

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  • 332. At 4:42pm on 01 Sep 2008, Dazz wrote:

    Why I don't believe Gerrard is better than Lampard.

    How many goals (Club)
    How many assists (Club)

    How many goals (England)
    How many goals (Country)

    How many trophies (Club)

    Lampard is superior to Gerrard in all these indices, so how on earth is Gerrard better?

    As a coach, I want to see value delivered. I'm not interested in where you come from or what club you play for.

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  • 333. At 4:48pm on 01 Sep 2008, James wrote:

    What is the point of Heskey without Owen? They combine brilliantly, and appear to be England's best strike partnership. In my opinion, England have to change their game to accommodate Rooney, and it doesn't work. Rooney is world class, but to be frank, hasn't played well for England for over four years. England played their best football in recent times in the 3-0 wins over Israel and Russia; when Rooney, Lampard and Beckham did not play. Capello continues to baffle me with his continuing inclusion of Beckham, which surely must come to an end. If we lose in Zagreb, I will seriously question Capello's credentials as England manager. I would back this side to get us to the World Cup:

    GK: Ben Foster
    RB: Micah Richards
    CB: John Terry
    CB: Rio Ferdinand
    LB: Ashley Cole
    RM: Shaun Wright-Phillips
    DM: Gareth Barry
    AM: Steven Gerrard
    LM: Joe Cole
    ST: Michael Owen
    ST: Emile Heskey

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  • 334. At 5:00pm on 01 Sep 2008, tarquin wrote:

    DazzlinDapsy wrote:

    Sorry mate but I'm not one of those narrow minded people who think Gerrard and Lampard cannot play together. Chelsea fields a midfield quartet of Ballack, Lampard, Deco and Joe Cole and they play fantatsically well. Why can't Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney and Joe Cole play together?

    Rooney in my own reckoning is more of an attcking midfielder than a striker...and yes I'm a united fan and one of those who do not believe Gerrard is better than Lampard.

    ---

    blimey, you could be england manager...

    i think it's a little unfair to compare the two on club performance - Gerrard has won the Champions League which chelsea haven't, lampard has a few premier leagues and league cups - it's not fair to compare the two on club performance, as there's 11 players on a pitch

    also lampard is a few years older - so looking at the premier league for one year (07/08) - gerrard got 11 goals, 11 assists, frank got 10 of each - lampard has scored one more for england

    but frankly number is meaningless, it's how much better the team performs, i can show you a host of recent games without lampard where we were better

    i doubt there's much i can say to convince you except that you are in a minority, all i can say is most england fans have the umpteen examples of the two not being able to play together and that most pundits and experts who will talk about it agree gerrard is a better player

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  • 335. At 5:09pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    How much does anyone want to bet that Michael Owen will be out with injury in a couple of weeks?

    As for the silly Lampard and Gerrard comparisons/supposed incompatibility, you really have to be a mug to believe that media-invented tosh.

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  • 336. At 5:11pm on 01 Sep 2008, thewelshboycott wrote:

    Please, BBC Governors, can we have someone sensible to comment on football here, instead of McNulty?

    Nothing but Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool.

    The only reason for him supporting Owen's inclusion for England is that he is an ex-Liverpool player.

    Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 337. At 5:17pm on 01 Sep 2008, Skewwhiffin' wrote:

    The only reason for him supporting Owen's inclusion for England is that he is an ex-Liverpool player.

    ----------

    Yeah, it's all about allegiances, corporatism and looking after your mates (Shearer), rather than football.

    Embarrassing.

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  • 338. At 5:23pm on 01 Sep 2008, Grinnell wrote:

    Why can't Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney and Joe Cole play together?
    I apologise as I dont have the exact stats but Gerrard and lampard have played together in about 30 matches? and have never clicked, never even looked half decent, I donr know why exactly its just the way football is, not all combinations work, that is your answer.

    Also i do agree that Lampard used to be a great player, didnt he used to rifle in 25 yarders every week, not any more, most of his goals which are in the stats you have been looking at have been deflected free kicks or penaltys.

    There have been hardly any great england performances in the last decade but if you cast your mond back to any of them then you will find that Lampard was not in the team.

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  • 339. At 5:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, bertuk wrote:

    Both fans and journalists need to take a dispassionate look at decisions like this.

    Capello has picked his squad for the next 2 games based on what he's seen when travelling up and down the country. He's used his undoubted experience and knowledge of the game to asses how different players are performing and how they'd integrate into an England team.

    If he has omitted Owen, it's because he believes that Owen's form and fitness don't merit his inclusion. It doesn't mark the end of Owen's international career, and its not part of any plan to clear out the old guard and "usher in a new breed" (as dax47988 puts it).

    It's only right that Capello should base his decisions on the current Premiership/MLS/European form of the players he has to choose from.

    Anyway - why are you doubters so gloomy? Rooney, Walcott, Defoe and Heskey are a fine set of players.

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  • 340. At 5:30pm on 01 Sep 2008, sportsdebate wrote:

    This thing about Heskey is silly. The man is a good player despite not banging in the goals. He is quicker and much better aerially than Crouch. He is also stronger and just as adept at keeping the ball. In his first season at Liverpool he was fantastic but then he was made to play as a fetch and carrier for Michael Owen and he has never recovered. Maybe if he gets picked without Owen then he may prove that he is a very capable international in his own right.

    Capello has obviously been watching him recently and decided that he fits into the team ethic and can offer that little bit more and that is despite me admitting that I would have preferred Crouch. Maybe Heskey is preferred because he is more versatile than Crouch and can fit better into the team ethic. It may be that he is thinking that Heskey's style is better for playing a team like Croatia because Heskey is better defensively and is less likely to lose it when he has it. There is also the point that at one point Crouch was being targeted by referees to have free kicks being awarded against him for innocuous incidents that helps the opposition get the ball back quickly.

    I hope that the controversial picks do Capello proud.

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  • 341. At 5:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, donegalcat wrote:

    I can understand why Capello didnt pick Owen. Owen hasnt put in a decent consistent run of form since he left Liverpool. He has missed too many matches through injury and i doubt whether he can ever really recover his true ability. Its a shame because he was a fantastic talent.
    What i cant understand is Capello's choice of strikers. I cant understand why Ashton is constantly overlooked. He works hard, he's strong, he's got skill and he scores goals. he is a far better player than Heskey ever was. I think Rooney and Ashton should be the new strike pairing with Defoe, Crouch and Agbonlahor as alternatives.
    In midfield, both McLaren and Eriksson realised (eventually) that Lampard and Gerrard cant play together so why Capello continues to pick Lampard i dont know. In saying that though, what England really need in midfield is someone who can keep the ball and play it simply. keep the game moving. Most international teams have one. Spain even have 6(Fabregas, Xavi, Alonso, Iniesta, Cazorla, DeLaPena).
    Lescott ahead of Woodgate is a strange choice although in fairness they have both made bad starts to the season.
    The England team i would pick to face Andorra would be:
    James

    Brown
    Ferdinand
    Terry
    Cole

    Bentley
    Barry
    Gerrard
    Cole

    Ashton
    Rooney
    Subs: Green, Kirkland, Woodgate, Lescott, Young, Shorey, Downing, Carrick, Johnson, Young, Defoe, Crouch

    If Hargreaves was fit i would put him in against Croatia in place of Joe Cole to stiffen up the midfield. Barry would move to the left wing.

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  • 342. At 5:49pm on 01 Sep 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    Owen has been finished for some time. Yes he's got the best record for a striker in England, but he did that 4 years ago

    If you think Owen would make any difference, you're more hopeful than expectant. He is not as dangerous as he used to be.

    It's a classic blog, it's win-win. Slag him off about Owen, then if it all goes wrong write another blog about how much he was missed

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  • 343. At 6:08pm on 01 Sep 2008, telemonster wrote:

    i love it when you guys pick your starting 11. i wonder if capello's reading this forum, and thinking, 'oh no-i should be playing barry here, and dropping lampard, ashton and rooney up front, beckham out-bentley in, foster in goal...'..etc...
    'when will i get the hang of this coaching palaver?'

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  • 344. At 6:25pm on 01 Sep 2008, superirons93 wrote:

    capello doesn't want england to fail, he's just useless.

    there's little point in planning for the future when the players for the future won't get us qualified.

    dropping hart for robinson is unwise, he's the youngest of our 3 decent keepers (green and james are the others)

    keep owen, keep walcott but drop heskey and put ashton and crouch in- ashton can play with owen or rooney

    lescott is a walking mistake, one good season and now he's the new titus bramble!

    play barry and lampard, or gerrard if he's in better form which he isn't.

    get the two villa wingers plus cole and bentley and possibly downing, but PLEASE DROP BECKHAM!!!!!!!!

    rant over

    ps. terry should be captain and play him with ferdinand evry possible game along with cashley and johnson

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  • 345. At 6:32pm on 01 Sep 2008, stevoskywalker wrote:

    I think a fully fit Michael Owen will score a lot of goals this season. Dropping him from the England squad will motivate him leaving him chomping at the bit.

    His goalscoring record is fantastic for clubs and country and an in form Owen with a point to prove represents a serious goal threat for England.

    I'm still not sure about Cappello, I hope he's got the guts to sort the eternal Gerrard/Lampard problem as I believe it will be where we stand or fall as a team.

    The team pretty much picks itself, thats the easy part for Cappello. Motivating millionaires to fight blood sweat and tears for the shirt of their country is a different matter.

    I somehow imagine the Jimmy Bullards of the Premier may also have points to prove and chances to take. Good luck Cappelo, I hope your inspiration is divine and not misguided

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  • 346. At 6:39pm on 01 Sep 2008, MattyGaston23 wrote:

    I dont see what the big problem is.

    Having watched most premiership games this season, i wouldnt have picked owen either.

    I keep hearing people talk about its about time we start picking players, not reputation, but as soon as a big named player is left out, people kick up a stink. Owen is unfit, looks overweight and lacks alot of match fitness. that will not cut it against a well drilled a physical croatian defence.

    Heskey is a good inclusion. He will add some physical presence upfront against simunic and co and bring others into the game. Defoe is getting used to the international scene, but atleast hes taking goals and form into the qualifiers.

    The biggest problem england face is not who or who is not being selected, but finding a role for Wayne Rooney. He is not a striker, his work rate and energy needs to be used in a deeper position.

    The reason Beckham is still being picked is because he is a work horse. He will still get up and down that line all day every day and is good to have on dead ball situations. He provides strength and stability and allows Walcott to replace him later on as an impact player.

    England dont have the "flair" to play sexy football. people have to understand that england dont compare to holland, brazil, spain, portugal and argentina in "total football" style play. You need to start learning to accept wins and wins alone, it dosent matter how they are acheived, just aslong as the points are on the board.

    My Line for both matches is simple (4-3-2-1

    James

    Brown - Terry - Rio - Cole

    Beckham - Barry - Bentley

    Lampard - Rooney

    Defoe

    -- Walcott to replace Beckham
    -- Heskey to play as Target man instead of Defoe possibly


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  • 347. At 6:39pm on 01 Sep 2008, England1957 wrote:

    I can see both sides on the Owen exclusion...wasnt it Sven that said Owen is a great player but you have to wrap him in cotton wool?...In other words he was prone to injury...so as a footballing decesion I think its best to leave him out and get him back a month later for the next two qualifiers when he has had more matches under his belt.

    David Beckham said after the first friendly against Switzerland(when he was left out for not being match fit) that Capello only made footballing desicions...

    Im sure Owen will be back to face the 3rd and 4th qualifiers along with the other injured absentees.

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  • 348. At 6:47pm on 01 Sep 2008, alexinnorfolk wrote:

    We all go on about the best positions for players and formations. We all kick every ball and score with every chance.

    Capello is a proven manager. His record is second to none. What has never had to deal with is a group of over payed charlies that have little interest for international football.

    The F.A are on the gravy chain. They want the Beckhams, Lampards and Rooneys in the team every time. It put names to shirts and cash in the bank.

    What we need is a manager with the will to do the right thing and pick players who want to play. A captain who wants to captain and team that wants to play.

    Look at the cricket, new captain and the team are playing for their places and playing at their best. We are just the same old boring team that tries to play like Italy, brazil and the rest when we are best playing our high tempo game.

    We are never going to break through until a manager of Robsons class is back in charge. Look what happened to him sacked for getting to the semi finals of the world cup!!

    There is little point talking about this as nothing will change. Maclaren must be laughing his head off. Capello is doing much the same as its a win win situation.

    The players are a brilliant but not for their country. Maybe its time to stop going to wembley?

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  • 349. At 7:00pm on 01 Sep 2008, memofo wrote:

    wheres Ashley Young, wheres Agbonlohor?... This is why English Internation football is so battered... the old boys club rules again!

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  • 350. At 7:05pm on 01 Sep 2008, grifster wrote:

    Fair enough Jimmy Bullard is a bit of a weird inclusion, but as for Michael Owen, I don't think his recent form has deserved a place in the England squad. His form for England is patchy at best, although you can never really write him off, I think his best years are behind him and England need to look to the future, picking Owen because of who he is will not win us World Cups and may not even get us qualified, we need to stop picking players for sentimental reasons, this has been a problem for England for many years, (look at Gazza) its never got us any real success.

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  • 351. At 7:06pm on 01 Sep 2008, themilkybarkidfromliverpool wrote:

    Well done Capello for omitting Michael 'the mercenary' Owen.

    Owen only ever plays for Owen, never the club, the country or for his team.

    He was once a superb striker but that was over 5 years ago. So let's stop buying into the spin and media machine.

    He is a mediocre striker - who would not get a game in any of the top 4 clubs.

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  • 352. At 7:09pm on 01 Sep 2008, grifster wrote:

    .....As for Capello, his record speaks for itself, he knows what he is doing no-one will complain about Owen's absense if we go on to qualify well

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  • 353. At 7:09pm on 01 Sep 2008, Wardy257 wrote:

    Why do the FA bother changing managers when they just order the new manager to pick the same team and play in the same way.

    This is beyond the joke now.

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  • 354. At 7:19pm on 01 Sep 2008, BarbarianFootball wrote:

    Capello has made the correct decisions:
    1. Owen is not 100% fit and should not risk further injury this early in the season. It will be far more important to have a fit Owen later in the WC campaign.

    2. Without Owen and Gerrard, goals from open play are going to be hard to come by. Therefore we need to take advantage of every dead ball situation. Hence, Beckham's selection.

    As the campaign develops, Capello will have more time to develop the younger players and mould them into his system. At this point it is too risky to use unproven players.

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  • 355. At 7:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, CultofHandsome wrote:

    Firstly, Michael Owen is a great player and a sore loss to an England team if Defoe/Heskey/Rooney etc. don't perform, far too often do they miss chances that we need to score. Saying this, Defoe's two goals at the weekend were brillant and if confidence is what he needs to succeed then we should be supporting him. Whoever plays upfront out of the four of them deserves their chance, judgements can be reserved to after the two games.

    Secondly, in response to those of you who are reputing Gerrard to be a more useful player than Lampard, look at this:

    Lampard
    2003-8
    All comps appearances 266
    All comps goals 95
    Goal Ratio 0.36
    Since Career Start
    Goals in premiership 96 (=15th)
    Assists in premiership 51 (3rd)
    Goals for England 14 (in 62 games) (including 6 in 2004)
    International Goal Ratio 0.23

    Gerrard
    2003-8
    All comps appearances 237
    All comps goals 74
    Goal Ratio 0.31
    Since Career Start
    Goals in premiership 56 (=47th)
    Assists in premiership 47 (4th)
    Goals for England 13 (in 68 games) (including 4 in 2006)
    International Goal Ratio 0.19

    I'm glad Lampard is getting a shot without Gerrard involvement, if he can return to his 2004 form for England then we have a very handy player. (Goals and assists aren't everything but they are a sound basis to judge usefulness)

    I'm happy that Bullard has got a place, the move makes sense and I'm glad to see someone else getting a shot in the England shirt. Bullard has been fantastic since his return from injury, whoever said Bullard won't be match fit, because of his injury, is deeply confused considering he's been back since last season. Match fitness is not a year long plus process.

    I hope to see England employing a system with width, ideally with the 4-2-3-1. This will be an interesting week.

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  • 356. At 7:32pm on 01 Sep 2008, deepen2008 wrote:

    I have followed various soccer websites and magazines for well over 17 years and have finally concluded that there have a handful of football journalists in the whole world that are worth wasting your time on. Phil McCullty is not of of them.
    Tim Vickery is by far writes more objective columns. Tostao in Brazil is another great football writer. Comparing the content, I think www.soccernet.com has articles of superior quality than the beeb site.

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  • 357. At 7:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, chrislovesbuffy wrote:

    Maybe we should wait and see how the results pan out over the next week and a half before trying to hand Capello his P45? Personally I would have gone for Bent ahead of Heskey, but other than that I don't see any issues at all.

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  • 358. At 7:35pm on 01 Sep 2008, Cheesymunky wrote:

    Quote:

    "We have relied on Owen for far too long and it is about time for a change."

    What kind of a quote is that? That tends to suggest we rely on Owen to provide the goals, therefore we should change?!

    If the team is relying on such a person to provide the goals, in this case Owen, then the team needs to include them.

    The only other time you would leave him out is when you have better players at the same proven level available and on form.

    Defeo's on form but not proven at international level and thats about it.

    No one touches Owen when hes fit up front for England.

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  • 359. At 7:39pm on 01 Sep 2008, KennyGy2k2 wrote:

    Since when is anyone got a guaranteed england place???I see it as frankley unfair and disheartening that he should just walk into the team without proving his form that just takes the biscuit.
    I agree with copello and its the main reason why England are underperforming its the heavy reliance on huge players that have no skill and hunder to play at international level.

    I say make him earn his england call up just as beckham had to again

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  • 360. At 7:43pm on 01 Sep 2008, bergkamp69 wrote:

    this is criminal!

    what the hell is Capello thinking!?

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  • 361. At 7:52pm on 01 Sep 2008, GreatFeetForABigMan wrote:

    Im not sure if anybody else has mentioned this but why do we need eight defenders in an international squad?
    Why throw in matthew upson as the cursory, ultra-safe-experienced-backup-backup central defender when we could have Owen, or indeed another striker..Ashton, Bent spring to mind immediately.
    Same situation as the World Cup 2006. Too few strikers cost us. Could happen again.

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  • 362. At 8:08pm on 01 Sep 2008, jazza0707 wrote:

    Cant believe theres a whole article dedicated to THIS. Whats baffling is david James's continued selected for the last 10 years, Paul Robinson being the worst keeper in the prem yet continues to be picked and Ashley Young getting overlooked time and time again despite being the best English left winger in the country.

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  • 363. At 8:33pm on 01 Sep 2008, ELA wrote:

    I have to ask, in this age, do we really need to take 3 (THREE) Keepers? Really?
    When was the last time, statistically, that we ever needed to have 3 Keepers in the squad and actually used them all in a 2-game span like this?

    So, in light of seeing Owen not included this time, I totally agree that he should've been included and one of the Keepers dropped.

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  • 364. At 8:38pm on 01 Sep 2008, Rob wrote:

    The only reason we didn't qualify last time was because we couldn't put the ball in the net and we kept changing keepers.

    David James is the best keeper at the moment and still nobody has surpassed Owen as the best goalscorer.

    Croatia are going to be up for it again next week and I don't think Rooney and/or Defoe can deliver. (I suspect we will play with one up front again).

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  • 365. At 9:08pm on 01 Sep 2008, Tea Time At Harrods wrote:

    Owen continues to run around like a cocker spaniel just unleashed into a park-frothy yet aimless.His talent has long deserted him(i made the same impact as Owen against Arsenal and i live hundreds of mies away) and i think Capello is right in showing him the door now. What worries me more is the lunacy of Dafoes inclusion-England are short of strikers for sure but why dig up such inadequacy.Dafoe has consistently proved he cannot cut it internationally.Darren Bent will be next in line for a cap and Lord knows we will truly have scraped the barrel when that happens.As for Bullard , at last Capello picks someone due to his form not reputation.He is playing delightful football presently and should get the nod on that alone.

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  • 366. At 9:15pm on 01 Sep 2008, Pointagemerchant wrote:

    If England succeed they will do so despite Capello rather than because of him, as with Eriksson and to an extent McLaren. The reason is straightforward-he is paid far to much money. I always felt Eriksson was simply paralysed by the money that appeared in his bank account each month and this totally distracted him from the football team. I imagined him waking up every morning, logging in to his online account, glazing over and muttering, "I just can't bloody believe it." Same with Capello. He has just won the lottery and his football brain has short circuited. England do have enough to qualify despite this, but it won't be easy.

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  • 367. At 9:23pm on 01 Sep 2008, RobVilla wrote:

    This is a very lazily written article.
    Owen achieved little of note over the last 4 years due to injury. Phil all his achievements you quote are a long time ago.
    I was a massive Owen fan until he go injured 2003/4 time and he has never been the same player.

    If he deserves a place in the team it is due to the complete dearth of attacking options England have.

    Owen is typical of so many of the current crop of England players - over rated and over hyped with people like Phil leading the 'crusade'. The list is endless Terry, Ferdinand, Lampard, Gerrard, Beckham (LMAO the fact he is still playing) - none of these are world class - if they were we would have done better in the last 5 years.



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  • 368. At 9:35pm on 01 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @250
    "Owen has never really produced"

    yeah i mean scoring at a rate of 1 goal every 2 games in the English and Spanish top flights is nothing.
    40 goals in 89 games for England is nothing special either i guess?

    He practically won LFC the 2001 FA Cup, his goal against Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Portugal. These are Englands biggest games and he produced the goods. Who has Rooney scored against? Nobody special at all.


    "Why do you think Madrid let Owen go after just one year, if he is so dangerous? Because he got found out."

    No he left madrid because he believed his first team would be reduced even further due to the signings of Robinho and Baptista.

    And for your information in the season he was at Real he had the highest Goals/90mins ratio. He scored 18 in 41 games with a mere 15 of them being starts.


    @255
    "Owen did nothing against Arsenal at the weekend - and you could argue he has done nothing with his career"

    You say he did nothing against Arsenal, yet if the donkey that is Ameobi did not get in his way then he would have scored. As long as a striker scores, thats all he needs to do.

    As for questioning what he has achieved, just take a look above, read it and tell me again that owen has achieved nothing.

    @285

    Owen is still a great striker as he still bangs in the goals at the rate of 1 every 2 games. He still has it even though he has been on off for the past 3 years.

    @332

    Lampard has won 7 trophies
    Gerrard has won 10 trophies

    But this is totally irrelevant, Traore won a Champs League and Kleberson won a WC - does this make them good? No it doesn't.


    As for those saying that Owen is not what he used to be that may well be true, but the point is that he is still getting the goals at an excellent rate.

    And i too think that Heskey in the squad without Owen is pointless.

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  • 369. At 10:38pm on 01 Sep 2008, kpagvakn wrote:

    Fabio Capello was indeed a very successful club manager -- mind you, he did have the cash available to go and buy the best players in the world for his club teams.

    Perhaps the FA would have done better to choose a coach with a record of acheivement using less starry personnel?

    Having said that, I am old enough to remember the defeats suffered in the early sixties when Alf Ramsey first took over. He took his time to build up a great team, and he played the best TEAM, not necessarily the best individual players.

    Mabe we should wait at least until the weekend before we condemn him........

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  • 370. At 11:19pm on 01 Sep 2008, finnharpsman wrote:

    I disagree that capello made a mistake by not including owen in the squad even if it was to be as a substitute only. I would think that this was shrewd work by Capello. When you see Owen interviewed, he is dour. he never strikes me as a squad man. i would think that he would ruin the atmosphere of any squad if he was not picked in the starting eleven. How many years is it since he left Liverpool? i think that it is five. That is the number of years since Owen was a good player worthy of a starting position in a fine team like England.

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  • 371. At 11:45pm on 01 Sep 2008, gracook wrote:

    When will England fans realise we are not the best team in the world, not by a long shot, neither have we the right to beat teams like andorra or croatia.
    For the first time in ages we are really struggling for certain postions in the team - goalkeeper and strikers being the obvious to highlight. We no longer possess a goalkeeper wiht the quality of shilton, clemence or seaman to occupy the void between the sticks. Up front we know longer have a lineker or a shearer (or an owen it would seem) to provide us with a natural goal threat.
    Capello can only work with what he has got and unfortunately that appears to be not much. Whilst our club teams produce outstanding performances in europe and the league the england team continues to dissappoint.
    I know its a well worn discussion but i firmly believe the foreign influx has damaged the production or quality england players and whilst i am sure many of you will now harp on about gerrard, cole, lampard etc but perhaps its not so much them being outstanding talents but the foreigners intheir team making them look better than they are?
    When these so called 'top' players play for england they find themselves surrounded by players of lesser quality than at club level and as is there for all to see, struggle.
    Personally i would rather see players desperate to play for their country, chomping at the bit than thee top stars who seem to think automatic selection is thier divine right. England need to install a better work and team ethic if we are ever going to get anywhere and if that means upsetting the so called 'big' players then so be it. How many poeple can honestly say Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham on current (and recent in an england shirt) form actually deserve a berth in the england team? Lets forget about these fancy foreign influenced systems and get back to what england do best, 442 big man small man up front, two wingers, one holding and one attacking midfielder, its how we have had success inthe past and is how we will have it again inthe future.

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  • 372. At 11:49pm on 01 Sep 2008, theonlygilks wrote:

    "a fine team like england" thats really funny nice one!

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  • 373. At 11:59pm on 01 Sep 2008, Tmthyhrl wrote:

    Owen simply isn't match fit right now but he will have his time again especially as it looks like he is returning to Liverpool tonight. I think Bullard's inclusion is well deserved and good on him. He has come through the ranks the hard way and I hope he gets his chance and takes it too and a great shot in the arm for all the journeymen players. Put in the effort the way Bullard has done the last two years and you will have your reward.

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  • 374. At 00:08am on 02 Sep 2008, glitterandtrauma57 wrote:

    Crouch - 14 goals in 28 games at international level. That's a goal every other game.

    Defoe - 5 in 29

    Surely this tells us something

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  • 375. At 00:34am on 02 Sep 2008, darubio wrote:

    you know what they should do? get all the U21s squad and get them to play andora, they av more chances to progress through and actually winning the world cup than capellos teams at the moment.

    vote - Stuart Pearce to replaced capello! :D

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  • 376. At 00:36am on 02 Sep 2008, NishiOgiSamurai wrote:

    As most people have already acknowledged, Owen would only get about 20mins max from the game anyway. Is it really worth all this fuss.

    Based on the past few years, Owen's leg is likely to snap in two climbing the stairs any minute now. Giving him a break from international duty is surely a good idea for him to recover some form.

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  • 377. At 01:21am on 02 Sep 2008, Joey wrote:

    Owen's scored 2 goals in his last 3 games and only played 2 in time on pitch. He would have scored against Arsenal but Shola got in his way. Walcott is a winger, Rooney plays as a winger, heskey is nearly retired and defoe has never impressed in an England shirt.

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  • 378. At 01:32am on 02 Sep 2008, G_K___ wrote:

    Hilarious that so many England fans want Capello to select a player whose only claim to fame is that he has contributed to England's constant failure and humiliation of the past.

    Now half of them seem to be calling for the head of Capello - who is the only remotely good thing about the England setup.

    In short, the same thing is happening which always happens - decade after decade. English fans and media are not willing to accept that they know infinitely less about the matter than the man in charge. They insist in trumpeting their tuppenceworth in the most shrill and pointless manner. This results in continued pressure on the coach and players.

    Result? Yet more failure and humiliation.

    And don't the rest of the footballing world love it!

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  • 379. At 02:00am on 02 Sep 2008, Joey wrote:

    Beautiful Gamer:

    his career has been better than heskeys by a mile and his form is good even though he's not match fit what does that tell ya. i'd check your stats and watch some football m8. he obviously gets much respect from the money we pay him at the toon. king kev would pay owen what we sold milner for. he's a proven worldclass player. he's got more goals for england than the whole team playing in the next two matches i bet.

    my idea for the england team when it's fully fit;

    James
    Richards
    Ferdinand
    Terry
    Woodgate
    Cole
    Hargreaves
    Gerrad
    Rooney
    J.Cole
    Crouch

    Subs
    Green
    Brown
    Bridge
    Lampard
    Barry
    Young
    Bentley
    Bullard
    Beckham
    Owen
    Ashton

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  • 380. At 02:11am on 02 Sep 2008, Joey wrote:

    Oi hand of hidden forces, the whole point of this blog is for england fans to put their tuppenceworth in. Im sure capello knows more than me but the opinion of the common man still matters. Its fun to debate football i don't trumpet and i don't shrill. just an opinion!!!!! Im sure the players can handle their fans having their say paying their money for massive wages from exstorsient season ticket prices.

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  • 381. At 02:32am on 02 Sep 2008, tarquin wrote:

    339. At 5:28pm on 01 Sep 2008, bertuk wrote:

    Both fans and journalists need to take a dispassionate look at decisions like this.

    Capello has picked his squad for the next 2 games based on what he's seen when travelling up and down the country. He's used his undoubted experience and knowledge of the game to asses how different players are performing and how they'd integrate into an England team.

    If he has omitted Owen, it's because he believes that Owen's form and fitness don't merit his inclusion. It doesn't mark the end of Owen's international career, and its not part of any plan to clear out the old guard and "usher in a new breed" (as dax47988 puts it).

    It's only right that Capello should base his decisions on the current Premiership/MLS/European form of the players he has to choose from.

    Anyway - why are you doubters so gloomy? Rooney, Walcott, Defoe and Heskey are a fine set of players.

    ---

    I try - but frankly that is what i want Capello to do! - i want him to pick people like bullard and performers from wigan or stoke - i don't have a massive problem with the absence of owen, he's barely played

    but in the same vein - what does ashley young have to do?! - he's already provided a clutch of goals at villa this season, brilliant last year, no injuries (i'm not a villa fan btw) and yet downing and bentley seem to walk in - ashton is fit, he only got cramp and seems fine, he's done more than rooney lately

    i honestly don't think capello is taking in all those games he goes to - he's at villa constantly and never picks young or gabby, despite their performances - and he's picked wayne bridge, who hasnt even played! over nicky shorey

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  • 382. At 04:11am on 02 Sep 2008, eurotour07 wrote:

    He has profited from injuries to Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves, as well as from any emerging youngsters stating an irressistible case for inclusion.
    -------------------------------------
    I'm sorry McNumpty but I seriously have no idea what this means. At no point does this resemble anything like a rational human thought. You may as well have put a clip of a loud screeching noise in the article to make your point more clearly.

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  • 383. At 07:37am on 02 Sep 2008, oldskoolmacboy wrote:

    Already the knives are being drawn ready to stab Capello in the back and he hasn't even had one competitive game under his belt. The same thing has happened with every single manager for the least 20 years. You should give him a chance, look at his track record. At least one league title with every club he has managed not to mention the champions league (european cup). Back a manager for once and you might get somewhere.

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  • 384. At 07:53am on 02 Sep 2008, oldskoolmacboy wrote:

    367 "over rated and over hyped with people like Owen, Terry, Ferdinand, Lampard, Gerrard, Beckham "

    Michael Owen - a goal every other game. Won Spanish league title and other cups.

    Terry - League titles, cups and Champions league runner up

    Ferdinand - League titles, cups and Champions league

    Gerrard - League titles, cups and Champions league

    Beckham - League titles here and abroad, cups and Champions League

    Each one of them has been a success and it never seems to transpire at international level. Why is that? On occasion using players out of position, bad management and an undue amount of pressure on managers. It's not going to change either until your attitude towards the England manager and team changes.

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  • 385. At 08:51am on 02 Sep 2008, AndyrobertbradleyGerrard wrote:

    Mark, we've been down this route far too many times before. We took a bunch of crocked forwards to the last world cup (not for the first time). There seems to be in this country a 'if he's fit, he must play' mindset (he being whatever 'star' we're talking about)

    Too many times selection is based purely on reputation, rather than current form, a strategy that invariably fails.

    Players should play their way back to form with their clubs, 'prove' they merit an England shirt and then they can be selected.

    I seem to recall that you were one of those who thought the appointment of Capello was sliced bread and all that....are you already a hungry vulcher looking for some stale bread :-)

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  • 386. At 10:13am on 02 Sep 2008, Cuddycuddydumdum wrote:

    come on andorra turn the clowns over you have a great chance,can someone explain to me why the players like Beckham,Ferdinand,Gerrard,Rooney and ashley Cole are world class,because I'm a dumdum and I just go off the results and performances and for the last ten years at least these world class clowns have let you all down again and again?
    Anyway if andorra don't beat this circus I know croatia will and please don't mention the win against that crap german side they've sorted thier team out now

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  • 387. At 11:02am on 02 Sep 2008, TheFootyTipster wrote:

    I am personally not a fan of Michael Owen and I'm sick to death of hearing this "goal every other game ratio" he's got. That being relevant with today is like saying Liverpool are favourites to win the league because they had a great amount of success in the 70's when it came to winning the league. Michael Owen certainly was a good goalscorer, was a good striker, was a good finisher and so on. He is no longer and I full applaud Capello's guts in dropping him. Owen hasn't performed to his best in years, be it because of transfers or injuries or whatever and I think he's lost the majority of what made him a name in the world. I don't think he's worthy of a place in the England squad anymore - hats off to Capello I say - it's about time we dropped the names and brought in the workers.

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  • 388. At 11:08am on 02 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @386

    Yeah i mean there is no way that Gerrard is world class.

    I mean he only won the FA Cup single handedly, the Champions League pretty much single handedly, and this season the League!

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  • 389. At 11:09am on 02 Sep 2008, EspanasNo1 wrote:

    With the exception of McLaren, every England manager has thought they can do without Michael Owen and everyone has been proved wrong. Fair enough the injuries have taken their toll and he isn't the player he used to be, but with five minutes to go in a game with the score 0-0 and England have a one on one with the keeper, he is the only English striker I would feel confident of scoring.

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  • 390. At 11:30am on 02 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @387

    Yes Owen has not been at his best over the past 3 years due to constant injuries. Yet look at his goal record for Newcastle. 19 goals in 45 games. A fair number of these will be sub appearances as well.

    "I don't think he's worthy of a place in the England squad anymore - hats off to Capello I say - it's about time we dropped the names and brought in the workers."

    You don't think he is worthy anymore?
    What makes Rooney, Heskey, Defoe and Walcott worthy of being in the team.

    Rooney - a shadow of his 2004 self, does not score enough
    Heskey - without Owen alongside him this seems abit pointless. The game with Russia showed just how well Heskey and Owen combine.
    Defoe - yes he does score a few goals in the prem and does look a decent player. In all the internationals he has played it is pretty clear that he just cannot cut it and that level.
    Walcott - not being played as a striker for Arsenal, and doesnt have an impressive goal record.

    They have the fantastic combined record of 24 goals in 121 games.
    Now lets compare that to Owen - 40 in 89 games.

    Now does that tell you something? Cos is should do.

    The whole point about football is winning, you can get people who try their best but sometimes its just not good enough. The facts show that England need Owen.

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  • 391. At 11:53am on 02 Sep 2008, citizenmbanje wrote:

    for me england currently has one near world class striker that is wayne rooney. then there is the rest. so for capello whether he includes owen or not he will not regret it. owen at the moment is just of the same quality as heskey,defoe,crouch,bent et al.

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  • 392. At 12:00pm on 02 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @391

    Are you on crack?

    In what world is Owen on the same level as Heskey, Defoe, Crouch, Bent?
    It sure as hell isn't this one.

    What does a world class striker do?
    Score goals, and lost of them.

    What does Owen do?
    Score goals, lots of them.

    What does Rooney do?
    Not much really, Crouch has a much better goal/game ratio than him.

    Rooney, World Class? Potentially yes. Currently no.

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  • 393. At 12:05pm on 02 Sep 2008, ILoveTheNHS wrote:

    I can't agree with you on this one Phil!

    Owen does have a goal scoring record for England no one can argue with. However, he's a player who doesn't contribute a great deal over 90 minutes. I know his game is based on goals and the argument will be he can pop up and get a goal at any time, but as a player who can go missing for much of the game, a lot of managers will look for more from their striker, even coming on from the subs bench.

    I think Owen's the type of player a manager either loves because of his ability to nick a goal or doesn't admire so much because of his lack of contribution in general play.

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  • 394. At 12:21pm on 02 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @393

    The whole point of a striker is to score goals

    Owen scores goals, the other strikers don't. It's as simple as that. It doesn't matter if he goes missing for parts of the game, as long as he takes his chances.

    What more do you want from a striker than scoring goals. Fair enough if it is someone like Heskey who is contributing to the team in a different way.

    But Rooney practically plays in midfield most of the time, Walcott plays on the wing, and Defoe is crap at international level.

    Winning is about scoring goals, Owen is the only one who does this and should be first on the teamsheet. No other striker comes close to him.

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  • 395. At 2:22pm on 02 Sep 2008, paddo44 wrote:

    why dont we just face the facts. its going to be a long time before england win a trophy and until we find a decent mix between experience and young talent. before owen and bullard should be included even if owen is just to come off the bench when we need a goal.

    As for defoe, walcott and heskey they should not be in the squad. The likes of Ashton, Agbonlahor, Ashley Young or maybe Darren Bent should get picked. Games like the one in Andorra should be used to give new players experience in competive internationals.

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  • 396. At 2:28pm on 02 Sep 2008, unitedfan1990 wrote:

    I think placing bullard in the england squad is a risk, but at the minute i would rather have a manager prepared to take risks, i mean bullard might just surprise a lot of people after all he was a big part in the fulham squad that stayed up last season.

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  • 397. At 2:35pm on 02 Sep 2008, tarquin wrote:

    383. At 07:37am on 02 Sep 2008, oldskoolmacboy wrote:

    Already the knives are being drawn ready to stab Capello in the back and he hasn't even had one competitive game under his belt. The same thing has happened with every single manager for the least 20 years. You should give him a chance, look at his track record. At least one league title with every club he has managed not to mention the champions league (european cup). Back a manager for once and you might get somewhere.

    ---

    maybe, he's had a handful of dull friendlies and that game against the czech republic was a complete fiasco - nothing new, nothing that worked - the fans have a right to do question it - this is football, the same thing happens at liverpool, west ham and tottenham

    you think Germans don't put a lot of pressure on their manager? Italians may waltz into games thinking theyre god's gift but not every successful side does it

    the fans will question, when we see a game where the performance and tactics were poor why shouldn't we? - it's frustrating - i think the press can go too far, way too far, sven was especially bad - and capello has to deal with that, and i think he will because he's put up a pretty good defence against them so far - i am giving him a fair go, but i'm also expressing an opinion, it's half the fun of football

    but if the results don't come i regard it as every england fan's right to suggest their own line-up and tactics - what we don't need is a hate campaign, but that doesn't mean we should be silent

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  • 398. At 4:02pm on 02 Sep 2008, Trigga04 wrote:

    Capello r u mad?? Leaving out our best striker since Shearer. FACT
    Owen should be in that squad no doubt about it! FACT
    As for Walcott he doesnt get a regular slot in the Arsenal team and when he does play he plays on the wing! He'd be better off playin for the under 21's to gain more experience then when hes playin regulary then put him in some friendlies! FACT
    Best combination up front is Rooney and Owen (even if Rooneys been poor for a while now) FACT
    Young exciting talent like Hart,Richards,Agbonlahor, Young and Bentley don't even get a chance at full level. Young and Bentley r to old for the under 21's now so they should be given a chance at senior level?? Am i right??

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  • 399. At 4:32pm on 02 Sep 2008, Chamakattack wrote:

    I cant believe the slating Capello id getting for this. Fair enough it's Phil's job to make contentious statements to attract debate, but the amount of posters blindly defending Owen without good reason is shocking.

    My personnal opinion is that Michael Owen was a world class goal scorer and for two years a magnificent striker, but has since lost his best asset and is no longer anywhere near as effective as before. Christian Vieri, like Owen was one of the best forwards in the world in 2002. Because of his exploits around that time he also currently has a very impressive international and club goals record and is still active. But so what, he doesnt get anywhere near the Italy squad, and rightly so, because it is today that matters and today hes simply not that great, just like Owen. But when its Michael Owen our coach gets lambasted. Would any Italian journalist or fan complain about Vieiri? No, and look how much better theyve done.

    Why should Owen be judged ahead of players who are performing better for there clubs, are less injury prone and add far more to their teams? His positioning is still great and hes a decent finisher (although he does miss an awful lot of sitters), but teams require more than just poaching from their strikers, particularly when like Englands they struggle to create chances and control possesion. They need players who can hold up the ball, run at players, create chances for themselves and others out of nothing, and run themselves ragged to bring others into play. Look at all the best teams and what their strikers contribute in terms of these things, and then look at Owen......... he doesnt do any of them even remotely well, which is why in many of the games he plays (such as the one against Arsenal RIGHT IN FRONT OF CAPELLO), he's useless, and its pretty much ten against 11.

    Against Croatia will Englands team be much more effective than Newcastle were against Arsenal? Probably not much. So will Owen play well and get alot of chances put on a plate for him? No. So logically what should Capello opt for? Someone who will help the team have a fairer share of the play and make them collectively better over 90 minutes (Rooney/Heskey/Defoe) or go for the passenger who mite bang one in if the teams lucky but will also ensure that the other team control the play. I know what most sane people would, and I havent even won multiple league titles and the champions league.

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  • 400. At 8:16pm on 02 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @399

    Comparing Vieri with Owen achieves nothing.
    Owen is 28 and Vieri is 35. You just cannot compare the 2 at all.

    The chances of Owen scoring are much more likely than Rooney Heskey and Defoe scoring. Most sane people would chose the player who scores, you know seeing that is what winning is about.

    As for saying that Owen is still living in the past, go look at his goal record he still has a great ratio. Yes his better moments may have come in the past, but that is in some part due to him being injured on off for the past 3 seasons.

    Still he has 19 goals in 44 games for NUFC.
    Incredible.





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  • 401. At 8:30pm on 02 Sep 2008, Trigga04 wrote:

    I agree with the last fella.. Spot on mate! As for that gooner fan he obviously aint got a clue about football (who cares about vieri)?? As for Heskey complete rubblish always has been always will be. He doesnt have the technical ability to play at international level. FACT
    Rooney - Wot has he done since Euro 2004 and hes not a prolific scorer so u cant compare him to Owen. FACT
    Defoe- decent prem player but just like Andy cole,wright,collymore,fowler he has never produced at international level! FACT
    Owen still number 1 end of!
    Future however looks bright with Walcott,Agbonlahor,Bentley,Young all of which r young attacking players!

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  • 402. At 9:07pm on 02 Sep 2008, Cuddycuddydumdum wrote:

    @388


    I'l have 30 quids worth of what youre smoking.

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  • 403. At 9:09pm on 02 Sep 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    @402
    lol i am a liverpool fan i have to be optimistic.

    but if you dont think that gerrard is a world class player then i will have 10£ of what you are smoking cos that shit must be strong.

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  • 404. At 10:20pm on 02 Sep 2008, Chamakattack wrote:

    I actually cant belive people on here. Gerrard LFC: I know Michael Owen may be your childhood hero and rightly so, but have you actually watched him play in the last three seasons? He has loads of games where he contributes nothing. And you say because the others dont score he should start. If he starts the team wouldnt create any chances so he wouldnt score either.
    I reckon you should watch more football other than match of the day.


    Oh and PS Gerrard isnt a world class centre midfielder because he wont ever win the premier league. FACT

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  • 405. At 10:23pm on 02 Sep 2008, collie21 wrote:

    What in gods name is the attraction with Owen. You might as well be demanding Luis Saha or even George Best god rest him. Where is the statistical basis for including Owen? He is not in the BBC's top scores of 15 named players this season ( I know it's early) I doubt he made the top 20 last season....Would you leave sentiment at home grow up and start analysing like someone with a football brain should. Who plays and scores for his club, should play and score for the National team. One or two goals in 15 matches doesn't add up.
    Owen is a has been. No wonder you guys change manager so often. Still living off the fumes of 66 I suppose? For those younger readers, yes, 42 years ago...........and Owen is not far from that age really is he?

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  • 406. At 10:27pm on 02 Sep 2008, collie21 wrote:

    Com'on Phil 11 goals last season. Really I tell you what, you come do my job and I will go do yours, surely I could come up with better than this utter drivel.....Regret dropping Owen? Only if he dropped him on his on foot...........11 goals a season top class player hahahahaha

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  • 407. At 11:22pm on 02 Sep 2008, Trigga04 wrote:

    Lets fan it lads... Our team these are clearly not good enough we miss the flair, skill and nouse that other top teams pocess!! Without a natural goal scorer for this campaign i see us struggling to qualify for the world cup!!
    There's only one solution folks bring back Gazza,Pearce,Butcher,Waddle,Platt,Beardsley,Lineker and Shearer at least they shed blood,sweat and tears not like these over paid, overated premadonnas!!!!!! FACT haha

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  • 408. At 08:45am on 03 Sep 2008, DrCajetanCoelho wrote:

    A fit Michael Owen and an inform Peter Crouch are capable of causing untold damage in the rival box.

    Loyal fans of the England Football team, neutral fence sitters and even stubborn fans of rival teams shudder at the thought of having to see two of the game's consistent goal-scoring machines operating against them.

    The World Cup qualifying campaign will be long. There is ample time for Owen and Crouch to get back to their sparkling best.

    Best wishes to the two strikers in their come back plans. Many among us would love to watch Owen and Crouch back in the playing eleven. These two proven goal-getters are the deadliest weapons in the armoury of Mr. Fabio Capello.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

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  • 409. At 1:14pm on 03 Sep 2008, JKD wrote:

    Trigga I cant agree more with you.

    Owen and Rooney best partnership.

    And the youngsters should be given a chance dependant on their league form.

    Owens record speaks for itself.

    ALL FACT!!!

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  • 410. At 2:06pm on 03 Sep 2008, Trigga04 wrote:

    Rite anyway lets talk about the under 21's as the full england team are doin my head in over paid overated pre madonna's!! FACT

    Think we have a good chance against Portugal!!
    Shame that Richards is out injured and Wheater is suspended... Walcott has obviously been called up to the full squad!

    This is my starting 11 against Portugal
    1. Hart
    2.Gardner
    3.S taylor
    4. Mancienne
    5.A taylor
    6.Noble
    7.Huddlestone
    8.M Johnson
    9.Lennon
    10.Agbonlahor
    11.Milner

    What r ur thoughts people????

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  • 411. At 5:03pm on 04 Sep 2008, gerbs17 wrote:

    Woodgate, King (injured, I dont think so) Owen, Wright- Phillips, Lennon, Richards etc...

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  • 412. At 10:09pm on 10 Sep 2008, bridlington bob wrote:

    "Capello may regret Owen exclusion"

    .........................there again, he might not !!

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  • 413. At 1:46pm on 11 Sep 2008, Tramp wrote:

    Just read this again for a laugh. We shouldn't just laugh at Phil's 'thoughts' though. Lots of other journos were writing similar garbage.

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