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Young strikers look to fill Rooney void

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Phil McNulty | 17:14 UK time, Monday, 27 February 2012

Wayne Rooney's sore throat is an inconvenience for himself, Manchester United and Stuart Pearce - but it also offers the caretaker manager the opportunity to find a remedy to a more pressing England ailment.

The absence of Rooney, compounded by the ankle injury which has ruled Aston Villa's Darren Bent out of the rest of the season, shines a harsh spotlight on the striking resources that may or may not be available to England at the start of Euro 2012 this summer.

As England's players gathered at their Hertfordshire headquarters to start serious preparations for Wednesday's Wembley friendly against the Netherlands, the list of orthodox strikers would almost read like a "who's that?" of attacking talent when presented to the world's elite group of defenders.

Pearce made 78 appearances for England between 1987 and 1999. Photo: Getty

Pearce, who will face the media at Wembley on Tuesday and will hopefully reveal the identity of the man who will take the captain's armband from deposed John Terry, now has just Manchester United's Danny Welbeck, Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge and the wild card call-up Fraizer Campbell at his disposal.

Four caps cover them all. No goals. And yet all three will hope for the sort of action against the Dutch that will make them candidates for the squad England's next manager will name to travel to Poland and Ukraine.

Sturridge has been one of the bright spots amid Chelsea's struggles this season, scoring 11 goals in 29 appearances after returning from a successful loan spell at Bolton - where he scored eight times in 12 games after moving to The Reebok in January last year.

He won his first England cap as a second-half subsitute for Theo Walcott in the 1-0 win against Sweden at Wembley in November, a game that turned out to be Capello's last in charge.

Welbeck, who has won three caps as an England substitute, also had a spell on loan at Sunderland last season where he was on target six times in 26 games. He has won the faith of Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford this season - something he has repaid with nine goals in 28 games.

Campbell's selection came out of the blue after a lengthy period on the sidelines with a knee injury. He has only played six times for Sunderland this season, scoring twice, but has impressed Pearce enough to warrant a call-up to his first squad.

Pearce could augment his attacking forces with the use of Manchester United's Ashley Young, who has operated with success in a fluid system under the departed Fabio Capello, while Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is no stranger to the more advanced role.

And yet a look at those names and statistics hints at, if not a complete dearth, a shortage of players capable of filling Rooney's role in his more significant absence, namely the two-match ban at the start of Euro 2012.

Stewart Downing spent an hour in the company of his Liverpool colleagues at Wembley following his man-of-the-match display in the Carling Cup Final win against Cardiff City before joining Gerrard and Glen Johnson on international duty.

As they cut short the celebrations, one of Downing's Liverpool team-mates may just study England's squad and reduced attacking resources to reflect on an opportunity that is currently being missed.

Even as strikers call in sick and injured - and with Stoke's Peter Crouch seemingly finally written off as a going international concern - England find no need to pick the phone and call Andy Carroll, a £35m striker overlooked in favour of, in the case of Sunderland's Campbell, a man still taking his first steps back into club football after almost 18 months out with injury.

Carroll's reviews have been slightly more generous recently but he has not come under consideration, even in what might be regarded as extreme circumstances. It is all a far cry from the promise shown on his debut in defeat against France at Wembley in November 2010.

The lift of the first major medal of his career and Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish's handling at Anfield may yet see Carroll move back into England consideration, but an examination of the evidence suggests time is running out.

So Sturridge, Welbeck and Campbell get their chance on the first night of what might be a beauty parade of players auditioning for their spot in Poland and Ukraine.

Chelsea's Sturridge is a player of rare promise while Welbeck has shown a confidence in personality and assurance playing for Manchester United - setting aside his wayward display at Norwich City - that provided encouragement for Capello before his split with the Football Association.

Campbell is the real surprise package and a call that created most attention in Pearce's first selection. Will he grasp the chance to be a serious contender or join Jay Bothroyd and Kevin Davies in having an England career placed firmly in the "blink and you'll miss it" category?

This is why this is no meaningless friendly, even as England prepare without a permanent manager, a permanent captain and without their best player.
The other main task for Pearce to tackle is naming a captain - and two touted contenders had differing shades of Sunday with their club.

As Gerrard was lifting the Carling Cup following his first appearance for Liverpool at Wembley, Tottenham's Scott Parker was pondering a sending off and a desperate day in the 5-2 north London derby defeat at Arsenal.

The smart money remains on Gerrard, although another contender has crept into view in the shape of Manchester City's mature James Milner, specifically name-checked by Pearce and known well from their time together with England's Under-21s.

Pearce said: "If ever I'm looking for an example in the U-21s of someone who has led unselfishly, it's James. He's got 46 U-21 caps and managed to step up on to the senior stage and made that transition comfortably while having tournament football experience.
"That is the model we are looking for. If you're asking me to put an example of a possible captain, an unselfish captain, that's why I'd use James."

Milner appeared unfazed by this possibility on Monday, suggesting it would be a shared responsibility irrespective of whoever is eventually selected.

He said: "We have got more than enough leaders in the squad and whoever is named as captain, they are not going to be there on their own.

"That's what every successful team needed, more than one leader. One player will wear the armband but you need six, seven, eight leaders to be vocal and lead with actions."
So the visit of the Dutch on Wednesday will present challenges for Pearce, his new captain and a trio of rookie strikers hoping to fill a Rooney-sized hole in England's plans.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    I wouldn't want to see Milner get the captaincy myself - I don't know anyone that would guarantee him a starting place, he seems to be more of a utility player that slots into defensive, attacking or wide midfield roles depending on which are is a bit thin on the ground. I'm sure he has the personality for it, but not the ability for me.

    As for the starting forwards, would like to see Young, Welbeck, Sturridge from right to left, or Welbeck on the left and Campbell through the centre if we were really experimenting.

    For me though, friendlies this close to major tournaments are about finding a fairly definitive starting XI and getting them to gel in time to perform well as a unit when the Euros come. Changing half the team or more after 45 mins neither gives players enough time to make an impact in a squad/system that's new to them, nor a chance for the first choice XI to work together. I'd pick the best eleven and try to win the match like it was a cup final.

  • Comment number 2.

    which area is* - don't even know what I was thinking with that typo

  • Comment number 3.

    Eugh, from left to right, not right to left, so Young plays left wing etc. I'm having a mare!

  • Comment number 4.

    I think it's time to turn back to Heskey. The man's a genius, everything you want in a footballer. He's never been given the chance to play the Rooney role, let him loose!

  • Comment number 5.

    2.
    At 20:02 27th Feb 2012, tappy wrote:

    which area is* - don't even know what I was thinking with that typo
    -----------------------
    Give us a clue, what is this about?

  • Comment number 6.

    Totally serious when I say we should have a look at Grant Holt.
    This friendly is an ideal opportunity to do it, and he could be a very useful player to have in the squad. Even now, after a very good season, he's still under rated. Link up play, creates space for his strike partner, can play the 'big man' role, assists and goals + work rate that's second to none. A physical handful for defenders and whilst not quick, he has a better turn of pace than most realise.

    If he were 5 years younger, or perhaps more importantly, played for a more fashionable club, he'd be in the squad already.

    Give him a call. What have we got to lose?

  • Comment number 7.

    Striking options for England in desperate times...

    Perhaps Phil should be reading the BBC fooball website where Grant Holt's name is at least mentioned in the same sentence as the national squad. (About as close as he's ever going to get, mind you. He doesn't play in London, Liverpool or Manchester so is off the radar as far as pundits and journalists are concerned)

    And while I'm at it, Green and Carson as gk choices?
    Sure, they're both performing at a much higher level than Ruddy at the moment...

  • Comment number 8.

    Based on performance level this season, I think that you'd have to go with Sturridge.

    Give Stuart Pearce the job FULL TIME as well. Bags of experience already with the England international set up (albeit with the U-21's), knows the players, English, had relatively good success with the U-21's. If we appointed Pearce then I reckon that he might be a another version of Jogi Low of Germany, coming off the back of a big name manager (Klinsmann and Capello), gradually getting rid of the dead wood (Ballack, Lampard, Terry), and bringing in the newer crop (Richardson, Richards, Cleverley). Give the job to Pearce!

  • Comment number 9.

    What about crouch, the best record of any england current striker in terms of goals per game. Defoe should be given a run, shame about Bent I rate him he scores where ever he plays. Grant Holt is a good call. Its about time we picked players on form regardless of the team they are in and those that have done it for us in the not too distant past. I can't even remember when Rooney had a good game from England and I got to nearly all of them home or away. Sure he gets marked tightly but so what, so do all international forwards. He has done well for united but then who wouldn't when playing with the players he does. I could grab a few given that sort of service. The blog is generally right the future is now and that means looking at some youngsters now, if we lose so what time to build for 2014. I am going to 2012 but I am not expect to see England in the semis and final, I suspect we will get to the quarters and hit up against Spain and then it will be goodnight Vienna. Forget the 1-0 at Wembley they weren't even trying they got beat again 2 days later. When it comes to the real thing I would fear for us in a Germany South Africa sort of way!

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    I would give it to Pearce too, Redknapp is not the man for England. He is tactically naive at times. Look at yesterday I am no Arsenal fan but the totally tore Spurs to shreds. Now for my crystal ball, Redknapp gets the job! France-England first game Ukraine, 3,4-0 later and well the rest you can read in the Sun under some headline Carrot top Knapp or something similar

  • Comment number 12.

    Soul your probably a little over estimating I would say 2-0 to them they will get a couple up and relax a bit and play Dutch keep ball like the old 1988 side did to us. If we manage 40-45% of possession then it may be close but I can't see that somehow

  • Comment number 13.

    Should I put money on that Soul_Patch?

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't care if he starts regularly starts for his club or not, but Jermain Defoe should be on the plane to the Euros. If you want someone to score a goal when you need one, Defoe's the man. I can't believe, Phil, that you haven't mentioned him in the article. At 29, he may not be 'young', but you've got to pick Defoe.

  • Comment number 15.

    no choc, when did the dutch last win 5-1 lol

  • Comment number 16.

    @Harry Disciple, the 3rd line of the comment directly above it...

  • Comment number 17.

    12. At 21:08 27th Feb 2012, paul wrote:

    Soul your probably a little over estimating I would say 2-0 to them they will get a couple up and relax a bit and play Dutch keep ball like the old 1988 side did to us. If we manage 40-45% of possession then it may be close but I can't see that somehow
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The only way that England will come close to 40% possession is if Gareth Barry puts in yet another resolute and steadfast performance in the middle of the park.

    Unfortunately for England, it looks like - once again - their team will be made to look like a pub side when they encounter half-decent opposition.

  • Comment number 18.

    unless you count the 11-0 against san marino

  • Comment number 19.

    Am i the only one who has found Gerard's form this season (even accounting for him coming back from injury) as alarming. Against United, who he usually steps up to the plate against, he was completely overawed by the ginger prince 7 years his senior.

    This does not bode well for giving him the captaincy at all - and i say that as someone who has advocated Gerard as the national captain for years (Terry should never have got it back!). Maybe Parker is the best choice - he is hardworking, gets stuck in (ask Vermaelan) and is not infected by the cult of celebrity which half of the other candidates are.

    I know it is trendy to say this now, but i really do think we should as a country do something revolutionary and just ditch all the old guard who delivered nothing and bring in some untried and untested young players, who are hungry for success.

    I sense a little bit of sniffiness in this blog about the fact that the England attacking line up only has a handful of caps. So what?! if they are good enough they are ready......

    I remember a player from Italy 90 called Schillachi, who noone had really heard of prior to the tournament, and he set that on fire. A young Michael Owen, terrorised the Argentine defence, before Beckham's petulance put us on the back foot. A young Rooney invigorated our 2004 campaign alight before the broken metatarsel thing.

    Lets give them all a go - how exciting would it be to see a line up like this -

    Hart

    Richards Smalling Jones Walker

    Walcott Parker Rodwell Young

    Rooney Sturridge/Welbeck


    Yes we might lose (we always lose anyway!!), but at least the youngster would get tournament experience and a chance to spend years playing together.....can only stand us in good stead...and who knows they might actually surprise us and win a couple of games!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    Soul I did say "if" I don't think they will either

  • Comment number 21.

    13. At 21:11 27th Feb 2012, chocolate_pigeon wrote:

    Should I put money on that Soul_Patch?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes.

  • Comment number 22.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 23.

    Sir mouse

    you are spot on,Geoff Hurst got the nod in 1966, I wouldn't even take Rooney. Wiltshire, Welbeck, Sturridge, Crouch, Defoe, Holt, Bent if he is fit. 4 from that lot, Rooney will do the usual sod all if we take him.

  • Comment number 24.

    I am seriously disappointed to not see Grant Holt's name on this blog, especially as it is focussed on the topic of possible replacements for England strikers. It seems that if you don't play in London, Manchester, or Liverpool, and are not paid over £100,000 a week, you will never be a likely selection for the National team...?

  • Comment number 25.

    The best thing for us to do is not rest any hopes on the game against Holland being some sort of turning point.

    We've got a good crop of youngsters, and that bodes well for the future. It doesn't guarantee any success immediately though, mainly because international games are too few and far between to form a real team gel. The most critical thing to do is start throwing the youngsters into the mix now, which leaves them in better stead for say, World Cup 2014.

    If you think about it, we've got some top young players who could all contribute to a successful team in a couple of years if we start experimenting now.

    WILSHERE, Cleverley, Hart, Walker, Holt, Welbeck, Sturridge, Richardson, Lennon, Rodwell, Nathan Redmond, Adam Johnson, Ashley Young, Jones, Smalling.

    The future looks bright, but we need to start giving these younger guys more responsibility now, and use the likes of Lampard and Gerrard more sparsely. Not because they are worse players than a couple of years back, but because England is our priority.

  • Comment number 26.

    Rory, I think you'll see his name mentioned by the people actually watching the football. I have twice this season and he was very impressive. Whenever I see Crouch he always plays well, funnily enough most of those times are for England. Most international teams do not have experience of dealing with someone of his height. I also hope Bent gets fit.

  • Comment number 27.

    Kit that looks like a half decent side I'd go with that!

  • Comment number 28.

    My best England XI (obviously not for Wednesday, as some of these players are injured for that game):

    ------------------------------Carson-------------------------------------

    Walker----------------Smalling--------King----(can't think of any decent LB)

    --------------- Barry---------------------Wilshere-------------------------

    Young--------------------------------------------------Oxlade-Chamberlain

    ------------------------Defoe---------------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------Bent-----------------------------------

    subs:

    (Can't think of any decent back-up goalie)
    Glen Johnson
    Lescott
    Muamba
    Dyer
    Adam Johnson
    Andrew Johnson

  • Comment number 29.

    So many of those being suggested to play for their country are hardly first choices for their clubs so how can they be expected to achieve any level of success in the summer? Of those that do play they are often played out of position. However, even if someone like Welbeck is picked I wouldn't be surprised to seem them shoved out on the wing.

    PS Defoe and Crouch - REALLY????????

  • Comment number 30.

    If Pearce wants to experiment with youth then why doesn't he give Burnley's Jay Rodriguez a call? He might be playing Championship football but he's been on fire this season and is playing week-in week-out, unlike some of the other young guns.

  • Comment number 31.

    @soul_patch

    Let's hope you never get anywhere near the England set-up! What a terrible squad!

  • Comment number 32.

    Soul_Patch

    I think the combo of Barry and Wilshere would be great. Barry could hold up the ball, and Wilshere is good at charging forward, plus an amazing work rate. Only reservation I would have there would be Defoe. I'd still go with Rooney, or maybe try one of the others. Not sure about Carson as I don't have Turkish tv, but why wouldn't you go for Hart? He has proved a really good goalkeeper.

  • Comment number 33.

    I agree with #1 that all friendlies from now on should be treated competitively. Obviously make 2 or 3 changes to the starting line-up in each game to try players, but wholesale changes will achieve nothing.

    I think Pearce should be given the job to the end of the Euros, with a new manager in place by the start of the tournament, so they can go watch the team in action and in training (without interfering obviously).

    England won't win the tournament, so they should try and field as many young players as they can, while still remaining competitive.

  • Comment number 34.

    what about hooper he is strong and knows were the net is his pin point passing to set other forwards is top class pearce is fool not to use him

  • Comment number 35.

    Mattress Maker.

    Agree 100% with the attitude that we should take to the tournament, but reckon that Pearce should get the job full time.

  • Comment number 36.

    31. At 21:35 27th Feb 2012, Steven wrote:
    @soul_patch

    Let's hope you never get anywhere near the England set-up! What a terrible squad!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Behave yourself.

    That's the best squad that England have to offer (sans left-back and back-up goalkeeper, but I'm sure I could pluck a couple out from ''obscurity'', which the average Sky Sports Basset Hound wouldn't even be aware of).

    If you think that Stuart ''pride, passion but no tactical awareness or footballing nous'' Pearce is going to do a better job, then prepare yourself for abject disappointment.

  • Comment number 37.

    @ Soul

    Could be worse, we might have a striker who's gone longer than Torres without scoring a goal, I believe it's around 1350 minutes now?

  • Comment number 38.

    34. At 21:37 27th Feb 2012, paddywac wrote:

    what about hooper he is strong and knows were the net is his pin point passing to set other forwards is top class pearce is fool not to use him
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I was going to say that Gary Hooper has only scored against pub-standard opposition, but then I remember that the likes of Wayne ''goes missing in the big games'' Rooney, Bobby ''shut your flippin' maaarths'' Zamora, Kevin ''Chesterfield's finest'' Davies, Gabby ''was I ever any good?'' Agbonlahor, Andy ''Red Lion'' Carroll and any other sub-standard English striker have only ''proved'' themselves against similar Sunday morning pub opposition.

  • Comment number 39.

    I agree with RoryGoldsmith, where the heck is Grant Holt? Joined second highest England striker in the PL this season, and not even getting a look in....especially with his amazing record for Norwich, with almost 1 goal every 2 games, despite the fact they may have been in lower leagues, take nothing away from his determination, strength and surprisingly accurate finishing. I dont think that it will be too long before he gets a look in.

  • Comment number 40.

    37. At 21:47 27th Feb 2012, conradk wrote:

    Could be worse, we might have a striker who's gone longer than Torres without scoring a goal, I believe it's around 1350 minutes now?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Torres isn't in the Spain squad anymore.

    His skill level and technical ability has markedly depreciated over the years after wasting away the theoretically best part of his career in the English £££miership.

    Iker Muniain ftw!!!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    Soul Patch.I seem to recall your "expert prediction" going terribly wrong for the England v Spain Friendly.You were adamant that the Sizzling Spanish pros (indeed they are) would destroy Englands "pub team" full of "Plodders" (far from the truth).You may be very aware of many footballing matters and be a great debater, but your bias against the EPL and all things English makes you appear silly, immature and unbalanced,which automatically excludes you from been took seriously by a significant percentage of readers.

  • Comment number 42.

    32. At 21:35 27th Feb 2012, Kit wrote:

    Only reservation I would have there would be Defoe. I'd still go with Rooney, or maybe try one of the others.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rooney has proved time and time again that he just doesn't turn up for big games. His ''reputation'' is built around his home form for Manchester United, where a large chunk of his performances are aided and abetted by the insalubrious mixture of ''favourable'' officiating and teams who are only too glad to keel over and let their tummies be tickled.

    ''Not sure about Carson as I don't have Turkish tv, but why wouldn't you go for Hart? He has proved a really good goalkeeper.''

    I've never heard of this Heart guy, but Scott is bound to have improved his skill level by playing in a technically superior league to the EPL.

  • Comment number 43.

    It would be ludicrous to think of Holt as some kind of ready made international, but he'd bring something England quite often lack, options. Many think of him as an old fashioned number 9 battering ram, it's a job he can do, but he's much better than just that.
    My biggest worry about him would be International defenders could make a lot of his physicality. They'd hate playing against it, but it would be something they could play on with the refs. That said, he's become a lot cuter as the season's gone on, no reason he why couldn't do the same at international level.

  • Comment number 44.

    * 'he why' ?
    Obviously should've read 'why he couldn't do the same...', sorry.

  • Comment number 45.

    How does Rooney not turn up in big games.He scored in the Champions League final against the best team in the world.I know they were beaten but he still scored,and will continue to score against the PROFESSIONAL players of Europes top leagues!.

  • Comment number 46.

    @ Soul

    Indeed he isn't, well spotted. But if he had gone back to a Spanish club and performed just as badly it would be interesting to see what excuse you would come up with. Anyway I'm not complaining, we got the best use out of him and sold him on for £50m when now he'd be lucky to fetch £20m.

  • Comment number 47.

    41. At 21:57 27th Feb 2012, rufc_dean wrote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well, thank you for some of your back-handed compliments. :expresseshock:

    However, the incidents and the nuances of the ''Great Spain Robbery'' at Wembley in November have been done to death on these blogs.

    Suffice to say that - but for unsportingly scheduling the game during the Spaniards' siesta, bitter Belgian officiating, Milner's audition for a Tchaikovsky ballet, stonewall Spanish penalties turned down and an offside English goal - it would have ended up as a 4-0 or 5-0 Spanish cruisefest in any kind of fair set of circumstances.

  • Comment number 48.

    Looking into Holland's unremarkable defensive and midfield lines I find they are a somewhat overrated team and their last 3 performances illustrate this - Robben RVP and their manager & coaching system are their main assets.



    .

  • Comment number 49.

    @ Soul

    Also, I much prefer watching the EPL to La Liga, much more interesting and varied. What's that? Barcelona and Real are in first and second spots again? Wow, never would have guessed that, nothing like a two team league to keep things exciting.......

  • Comment number 50.

    45. At 22:01 27th Feb 2012, rufc_dean wrote:

    How does Rooney not turn up in big games.He scored in the Champions League final against the best team in the world.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Giggs was blatantly offside, ergo the goal doesn't stand after objective and analytical consideration.

    I could score 5 against Barcelona, just so long as my team-mates flagrantly flouted the offside laws and handed me a sitter - quite literally - on a plate. :rollseyes:

  • Comment number 51.

    The trouble with successive England managers has been the ignoring of current form and picking on reputation.

    Whilst Sturridge has an excellent claim, Welbeck certainly hasn't. He was clearly outclassed by the in form Grant Holt who gives an in form Heskey like option, or dare I say MacDonald or Shearer option.

  • Comment number 52.

    49. At 22:08 27th Feb 2012, conradk wrote:

    Also, I much prefer watching the EPL to La Liga, much more interesting and varied. What's that? Barcelona and Real are in first and second spots again? Wow, never would have guessed that, nothing like a two team league to keep things exciting.......
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, behave yourself!

    What's that? A team whose spent about £1,000,000,000 buying the EPL? Who would have though it, eh? :rollsyes:

    At least they've got a title challenge involving the team who have bought 12 out of the last 20 league titles. :rollseyes: again

    Oh, but what's the big story of the season? After also spending nearly £1,000,000,000 in recent years, Chelsea are out of the bidding for this season's EPL title. :rollseyes: for the third and final time

    :appliessomeoptrex:

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm with BigD - get Heskey back in with a 4-4-2 alongside Defoe.

    The inspirational and team building figure of John Terry as Captain. Lampard, Barry and Parker as holding midfielders.

    Oh hang, on, Capello tried that.

    Hmmm.

  • Comment number 54.

    the withdrawl of bent is the big loss, but the fact we're in this mess is just further proof of the poor job capello did

    instead of trying out strikers and finding something that worked we're not far going off to a major tournament without a clue who's going to be going up front.

    yeah rooney will be there, but which role is he going to take? the target man or the one behind? and if he's the one behind, who's the target man?

    now we're without the only other striker who got games up front.

  • Comment number 55.

    Dixie, A good big one an a good little one will always do well. Holt has done well and surprised me. We need some pace as well. Rooney as was mentioned up there has done nowt for England since 2004. Time to move on me thinks the trouble is that will upset all the Man U supporters but then who gives a stuff about them since when did they ever support the England team.
    Some said Crouch really, well for that idiot here you go

    Crouch goals per cap 0.52
    Lineaker 0.60
    Shearer 0.48

    Oh and before the old he only scores against weak opposition Rooney has scored 2 goals against top 10 ranked opposition. Crouch has scored 3, not great returns but then Crouch played a hell of a lot less against teams.

  • Comment number 56.

    team for the friendly:

    Hart (c)
    Richards
    Smalling
    Ferdinand
    Baines
    A. Johnson
    Parker
    Gerrard
    Young
    Welbeck
    Sturridge

    Team for euros when full squad is avaliable:

    Hart (c) or Hart (c)
    Walker/ Richards Walker/Richards
    Smalling Smalling
    Ferdinand Ferdinand
    Baines Baines
    Parker Chamberlain
    Wilshere Parker
    Cleverly Wilshere
    strurridge Young
    Rooney Welbeck/Sturridge
    Welbeck Rooney

  • Comment number 57.

    46. At 22:03 27th Feb 2012, conradk wrote:

    Anyway I'm not complaining, we got the best use out of him and sold him on for £50m when now he'd be lucky to fetch £20m.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    By the same token, every neutral fan isn't complaining that Kenny ''Jurassic period'' Dalglish hilariously paid £35m for a Diplodocus, whose real value is somewhere around the £500k-1m mark!

  • Comment number 58.

    For those doubting the stats read this

    http://on goal sscored. wordpress.com /2011/08/07 /the-peter-crouch-myth /

    Remove the spaces

  • Comment number 59.

    Does seem like possible favouritism from Pearce picking Campbell, I mean sure go with what you know from the under 21 days, but he's only been back for 6 games?

    I don't think picking Defoe along with Welbeck and Sturridge could hurt as a more experienced option? Lets face it who at the end of the day is more likely to go to the Euros, Defoe or Campbell? (Especially with 'Arry most likely taking the job)

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    55. At 22:18 27th Feb 2012, paul wrote:

    Oh and before the old he only scores against weak opposition Rooney has scored 2 goals against top 10 ranked opposition. Crouch has scored 3, not great returns but then Crouch played a hell of a lot less against teams.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That only supports my independently verified argument that Rooney is a big-game bottler, not the hilarious suggestion that Crouch is any good for England.

    To even put Crouch in the same bracket of statistics as Shearer is laughable!

    Lineker was a bit of a donkey, so that is the sort of level of poor striker who you should reasonably be equating Peter Crouch with.

  • Comment number 62.

    Milner would be an ideal new captain,those who knock him must watch different matches than me as I have never seen him play a duff game for England,not like some of the other older "favorites".
    Also,this is an ideal time and opportunity for the English management to look further than the end of their noses to solve our striker problem,look closer at some of the so called unknowns,many could and would do a better job for England than both Rooney and Bent. Campbell ? well surely not after being out injured for so long and only played,what was it,eight games all season,don't these managers ever learn about picking unfit,half injured players?

  • Comment number 63.

    Oh, Soul Patch, you are a ludicrous troll. But entertaining for all that.

    "handed me a sitter - quite literally - on a plate."

    I believe that would constitute a foul, which might put your scoring 5 in some doubt. Best of luck for when you inevitably make it to the big leagues, though...

    A little note to all you guys bewailing the lot of anyone outside London, Manchester or Liverpool: Darren Bent plays for Villa, which many of you seem to have overlooked. Also, I do seem to recall many of you on these blogs just a couple of years ago complaining bitterly that no top English players were at the top English clubs. We do love a good gripe, don't we?

  • Comment number 64.

    @ Soul

    If it's any consolation I agree that the ammount of money being spent in the Premier League is obscene, especially Chelski and City, but then there are teams like Swansea which are promoted and play very good and attractive football, and the Championship is as exciting as the top flight. In contrast I watched a match on the internet last year, Barca v newly promoted Granada and it was one of the worst matches I've ever seen. I didn't think La Liga let amateur teams in, obviously I was wrong.

  • Comment number 65.

    48. At 22:07 27th Feb 2012, nibs wrote:

    Looking into Holland's unremarkable defensive and midfield lines I find they are a somewhat overrated team and their last 3 performances illustrate this - Robben RVP and their manager & coaching system are their main assets.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    They went over 3 years, and 40 games, undefeated inside 90 minutes.

    The only loss during that time-frame was in the World Cup final to the sizzlingly sensational Spanish Conquistadors.

  • Comment number 66.

    @ Soul

    I do also agree about Carroll, but on the other hand didn't Real break the world transfer record on a certain player named Kaka? That turned out well.....................

  • Comment number 67.

    Capello did not do a poor job sorry he won a higher % of games than any other england manager with players that to be honest are not really up to the job. Bent getting injured is not his fault. Sorry England fans the only way we win a Euro or World cup is to win it ugly like Greece won the Euros. We cannot hope to compete with the other teams on a technical basis. This is coming from an England fan of some 40 years who has been to every WC since 1986 that we have been part of. We need organisation if we try to play EPL football against the top sides then what will happen is we will get are backsides kicked.
    Sorry sod pretty football I will take 6 1-0 wins at the Euro champs any day!

    Is that gonna happen nah Rooney will get sent of in the quarters against Spain and we will limp out again on penalties, Soul you can have a bet on that! I got 150-1 at Ladbrookes Rooney red card at Euros but that was when they thought he was going to be banned for 3 games. I got a tenner on!

  • Comment number 68.

    65 Conradk: I thought the same when I watched Barca lose to Getafe. Best technical side in the world, are they? Nice of them to show it.

    Also, my choice for the team:
    Hart (c)
    Richards Smalling Jones Baines
    Parker Milner
    Johnson Gerrard Oxlade-Ch.
    Sturridge

    Give Campbell a go in the second half, could be interesting. And I'd be happy to see Grant Holt in the squad as well as a few of the lads from Swansea. Nathan Dyer, Leon Britton and Scott Sinclair could prove very handy if they could transfer their club form to the national team.

  • Comment number 69.

    I think Thomas Ince (currently at Blackpool) with a fine footballing pedigree is worth a go. Also alex oxlade-chamberlain is a man of the future. I would pick him over walcott!

  • Comment number 70.

    Soul now your are being stupid Shearer won what for England?? Nowt, Rooney won what for England Nowt, Crouch won nowt for England either. The stats don't lie you idiot 0.52 per cap is more than Shearer. Who I never forgave for the way he never wanted Owen in the team because Sheringham made him look better. Oh and Owen was a threat because he was a better international forward.
    If you want to argue do it on the basis of fact not on some whim. I have agreed with some of your comments but that one up there replying to mine is just plain stupidity. Shearer had the option of moving to a bigger club when he left Blackburn he chose the smaller pond of Newcastle. Shearer won the title with the first team to buy the EPL Blackburn but then he won sod all else. Those are the fact Soul you claim to know a lot but then you forget some of us may know more than you.

  • Comment number 71.

    @ Harry Hotspur

    It is isn't it? Seems that unless it's a Classico or Champions League then Barca and Real can't be bothered to turn up half the time. Now that's professionalism.

  • Comment number 72.

    64. At 22:27 27th Feb 2012, conradk wrote:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yet you're espousing the virtues of the EPL, even so the top 3 teams in the near future are Manchester United, who have bought (in more ways than one, shall we say) 12 of the last 20 league titles, a tin-pot team like Chelsea who have struck the Russian oligarch jackpot and a complete joke of a team like Manchester City who have, metaphorically, won the Euromillions in terms of their playboy owner.

    How can that possibly be an ''exciting'' league? :rollseyes:

    At least quality sides like Granada are only outclassed by Real and Barça (the two best teams in Europe), whereas the teams who get consistently thrashed by the two horses in the EPL title ''race'' are getting battered by teams who aren't even good enough to get out of the CL group stages. :strokeschinthoughtfully: :pausesforamoment: :carriesonstrokingchin:

  • Comment number 73.

    68. At 22:33 27th Feb 2012, Harry Hotspur wrote:

    I thought the same when I watched Barca lose to Getafe. Best technical side in the world, are they? Nice of them to show it.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    No. It shows why La Liga is the strongest and most competitive league in the world, when Barcelona can be more than matched by mid-table teams like Getafe.

  • Comment number 74.

    Change the record Soul. You show up at every blog to spout the same old nonsense. I am curious as to why you even follow the "English Pup-Premier league" or our sub-standard national team and are bothered to comment with such drivel time and time again.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    That's English Pub-premier league*. But I'm sure you understand.

  • Comment number 77.

    Everyone is talking about Grant Holt but doesn't realise he plays absolutely pants! People also talking about Defoe and Crouch but have you seen those over rated ex-has beens playing this season? BANG ON AVERAGE.

    This is England we are talking about, we want fresh young players out there like Sturridge, Walker, Chamberlain, Cleverly... Not these older players who have just brought us dissapointment after dissapointment each 2 years in some sort of event.
    Lets keep it simple with Parker as the captain, he's bloody brilliant, passionate and not an overpaid celebrity figure.

    First thing to do is drop Ferdinand, Terry, Lampard, Gerrard and dare I say it Rooney. They've become lazy because they think, 'oh its alright i don't have to try anymore cos i always get picked'. Lets do this

  • Comment number 78.

    He may not be pretty and he may not be the top scorer in the premier league but for some reason when mr crouch puts on an England team shirt he scores. I would take him to Euros but have the youngsters in there as well. Unfortunately as is always the case for some reason, the same reason we never win much we pick players based on who they play for and not what they have done in an England shirt. How else can you explain Lampard?

  • Comment number 79.

    71. At 22:38 27th Feb 2012, conradk wrote:

    It is isn't it? Seems that unless it's a Classico or Champions League then Barca and Real can't be bothered to turn up half the time. Now that's professionalism.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, behave yourself!

    Real, have, in fact, not dropped points in 18 matches, other than El Clásico. Now that's professionalism.

    You are clearly a typical Sky Sports Basset Hound, eagerly slurping from the propaganda milk.

    Has it not occurred to you that the reason why Barcelona and Real, at times, slip up in the best league in the world, is because it's jam-packed with scorching and searing sides who can more than match any side? :rollseyes:

    I must remember that one, though: Manchester City lose to Sunderland (poor professionalism, can only turn up for the big Manchester derbies); Manchester United lose to Blackburn (can only turn up for the big games against Liverpool, Arsenal and City).

    :palmsface:

  • Comment number 80.

    Well said NFFC53! English youngest have to be given a proper opportunity to develop at international level. Sturridge and Welbeck have already been given starting places with their respective teams, it's about time the England manager - whoever he is - follows suit. Stop giving Crouch, Defoe, etc opportunities to ruin our chances to develop promising youngests. They had their chance let it pass along.

  • Comment number 81.

    Soul-patch - stick to commenting on Spanish football as clearly you are so hopelessly prejudiced that you aren't actually adding anything to the debate.

    England on Wednesday:

    Hart

    Richards Jones Cahill cole

    Parker Barry

    Young gerrard Walcott

    Sturridge

    For the Euros, I'd play Ferdinand and jones, swap Wilshere for Barry if he's fit and back to his best and Rooney from game 3.

  • Comment number 82.

    NFFC53 "Everyone is talking about Grant Holt but doesn't realise he plays absolutely pants!"
    You not seen him much this season?

  • Comment number 83.

    75. At 22:43 27th Feb 2012, paul wrote:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, behave yourself!

    Crouch, international goals:

    Andorra (x3)
    Austria
    Belarus (x2)
    Croatia
    Egypt (x2)
    Estonia
    France
    Greece (x2)
    Hungary
    Jamaica (x3)
    Macedonia
    Mexico
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Ukraine
    Uruguay

    :shakeshead:

  • Comment number 84.

    Ahh another Forest supporter, I agree with most of that, I am only extolling the virtues of Crouch because of his record in an England shirt. If you look at form in the EPL then he has done nothing I completely agree. But then people tend to forget that international football is not the EPL its is a different beast. Form for England is what matters most lets face it defenders from Spain and Germany can deal with the physical side of the game, they dive to the floor on a regular basis (argue with that Soul if you dare).
    We do need to drop the deadwood and build for 2014. Defoe is not too bad for England he did score one of the few goals at the WC 2010. But I would not take him your right time for youth and pace. Parker is a good call but even though he's a scouser, Gerrard would be my first choice but if you want youth I agree Parker.

  • Comment number 85.

    England team for Wednesday should be:

    ------------------Hart----------------
    ---Richards---Jones---Cahill---Baines---
    -----------Parker-----Barry-----------
    Walcott---------Gerrard----------Young
    ----------------Welbeck--------------

    Subs:
    Carson
    Walker
    Smalling
    Milner
    Johnson
    Sturridge
    Campbell

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    74. At 22:42 27th Feb 2012, Ballacks_Ball_sack wrote:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Behave yourself.

    As an aficionado of the beautiful game, I am more than entitled to pass objective and impartial comments on the EPL and the English national team.

  • Comment number 88.

    @ Soul

    "Real, have, in fact, not dropped points in 18 matches, other than El Clásico. Now that's professionalism."

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

    Or, is it because there are two extremely good sides in La Liga, a couple of moderately good ones and then an absolute TON of boring provincial teams who I'm sure even you with your razorsharp knowledge could name without pause. Also, I find it amusing that you borrowed "don't bother to turn up" to describe Utd and City when they lose to lower teams but when it happens to :heavenly bells and choirs: Barc or Real it's because they "slip up". I enjoy your deluded extremely bias comments by the way, much more entertaining than watching La Liga and the mediocre football it contains.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Grant Holt deserve to be called in. It is clearly wrong to call in Frazier Campbell as he has played very few games.

  • Comment number 91.

    86. At 22:58 27th Feb 2012, paul wrote:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, have a word with yourself!

    You need to brush up on your logic.

    Crouch only scores in friendlies and/or against small European countries with small populations.

    Rooney is a mediocre pro, who falls even further down due to his big-game bottling.

    But, what the blazes do Rooney's abject performances have to do with Crouch's pub team performances?

    It's not exactly like I'm ''bigging up'' Wayne ''goes missing in big games'' Rooney. :rollseyes: and :slapsforehead:

  • Comment number 92.

    87.At 22:58 27th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

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

    *YAWN*

    This record seems to be skipping...

  • Comment number 93.

    @ Soul

    By the way, it may interest you to know that the whole throwing money at football thing started in Spain with one Florentino Pérez and his Galactico's at a certain club, slipped my memory for the moment, can't be that important, in 2001. Oh wait, and didn't he try it again in 2008? Surely no Spanish club could be accused of trying to buy a title? How on earth would trolls like you cope if that was the case?

  • Comment number 94.

    I'm always amused to read how XAVI, master or midfielders, ighly rates a certain "trafford trunderler"... Interesting that. Wouldn't you agree,Soul????

  • Comment number 95.

    I wish i could complain about some of the teams being put fwd especially number 28 which is just outrageous...

    4-4-2 is outdated. Cappello was finally beginning to see sense and move to a more universal 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. Lets hope Pearce sticks with it. Defence and midfield picks itself.

    Hart

    cole
    Cahill
    ferdinand
    richards

    parker (C)
    Gerrard
    Wilshere

    sturridge
    welbeck
    young

  • Comment number 96.

    France Greece small European countries? So one world cup winner two European champs. maybe your bias is blinkering you train of thought. Ok I now know officially your a fool who really knows nothing of football. Remember Greece won the Euros before country did, France well 1998 2000? Yep ok! please stick to trolling elsewhere

  • Comment number 97.

    From what i see that you do not fancy Campbell, as you repeated to remind us of his injury layoff in your article. This is exactly what is wrong with English football journalists playing experts in team selection. Finally England has a true football manager with the courage to think about the future of the national team, and frankly i thought it was a stroke of genius when the FA appointed Pearce as the assistant manager "understudy" to Capello. Back to your surprise inclusion Campbell vs your favorite Carroll; everyone knows what Carroll has to offer a one dimensional player.I think it is an intelligent choice as Campbell is the better footballer of the two and the better suited for international football having said that I believe Carroll should be included in the team because he gives you a different proposal height, physical presence, etc. In the absence of Wayne Rooney the best English player, I think Theo should get the nod to spearhead the attack in a 4-2-3-1 formation or play along side Welbeck in a traditional 4-4-2 formation; and believe me it is as a striker that Walcott is deadliest not as a winger which everyone seems to think. Some people are obsessed with Walcott's crosses rather than his predatory nature as a striker. I am excited about Wednesday's game because for the first time England look so fresh and with a great young manager that I so highly rate. Even if England loose this game I urge the FA to stick with Pearce and give him the chance to rebuild the team. Contrary to what many think this lads have enough international experience from under the 21 and the manager knows their strengths and weaknesses. I think at last the Dutch will meet their match on Wednesday, and watch out the rest of the world a new England is coming at you! About the captaincy I was never convinced about Gerard as a player at international level never mind being a captain he is what they call in football a "local player" not international material. As for Parker he is a hard working midfielder but would need a lot of good games in international football to convince, as captain I think someone has mentioned it he's too quiet of a person to be a captain. I know many will not agree with me, but we need Lampard in the middle of the park to pull the strings and for the kids to express themselves up-field and of course he is the ideal captain. The reason he never performed as was expected of him is because Gerard was crowding him all the time. Without Gerard I think Frank would be a great choice to add that required experience to a youthful squad.

    Pearce should get the Job full time.

  • Comment number 98.

    Sore throat.... Got a note from his mummy?

    Club before Country anyone?

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    95.At 23:09 27th Feb 2012, ugiagbe wrote:
    ---------------------------------------
    Sorry mate but I think you made a slight error in your line up. 'Jones' should be in for the 'well-past-it' Ferdinand.

 

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