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Lescott is worth McClaren gamble

Euro 2008 England
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Everton's Joleon Lescott made an England debut riddled with uncertainty against Estonia - and now seems set to undergo an even bigger test of nerve against Russia in Moscow.

And just to add to the pressure of playing in a crucial Euro 2008 qualifier, the 25-year-old defender is being tipped to play in an unfamiliar left-back role.

If selected he will replace Ashley Cole, ironic because it was Lescott's hestitation that directly led to the Chelsea defender's ankle injury.

So is England coach Steve McClaren backing a wild hunch in selecting Lescott instead of his more experienced Everton team-mate Phil Neville or Reading's established left-back Nicky Shorey?

There is undoubtedly an element of a throw of the dice about Lescott's selection, but McClaren has been a keen observer of the elegant defender for some time and has received glowing recommendations from Everton manager David Moyes.

One criticism that can be aimed at McClaren is that he has passed up opportunities to use Lescott with England before, but now seems willing to test him in Moscow's hostile surroundings.

Fair point - but clearly he has seen enough to at least be considering a commendable show of faith.

England fans, however, should not be fooled by Lescott's tentative first steps in international football.

Lescott has proved himself to be an outstanding success since his 5m move to Everton from Wolves in June 2006.

He has pace, power, a sound temperament and the total respect of his Everton colleagues, who voted him their players' player of the year last season.

And this season he has turned a previously constant but unfulfilled threat at set-pieces into goals, hitting the target five times to make him one of the top scorers in England's current squad.

Lescott has overcome plenty of obstacles to build towards a well-deserved England opportunity.

No-one should question his character or stomach for a battle.

He fought for his life at the age of five after a serious car accident left him scarred, and knee problems meant he did not play a single game in Wolves' season in the Premiership four years ago.

Lescott is a composed central defender, but he has also been highly-accomplished at left-back for Everton.

He occupied the position for much of the second half of last season and occasionally this term, although the arrival of Leighton Baines - who has also impressed McClaren - has eased Everton's need to utilise him there.

Lescott's strength clearly lies in the defensive areas, the weakness may be on the offensive side.

He can be relied upon to keep it simple but effective, supporting Joe Cole but leaving the creative stuff to the Chelsea star.

Does this make him suitable for the Moscow mission? Yes it does.

In truth, Phil Neville has been in wretched form for Everton this season and Shorey's selection would also have been laced with an element of chance.

Lescott will give England presence in both penalty areas, and if he can overcome the nerves he understandably demonstrated on Saturday, then McClaren may just be on to a winner.

The other big selection dilemma facing McClaren is, once again, whether to select Frank Lampard in midfield.

McClaren had been expected to utilise Lampard in a 4-3-3 system alongside Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry - but reports from the training ground suggest he will use the more traditional 4-4-2, which would mean the exclusion of the Chelsea midfield man.

It would be the more conservative option to go for Lampard in a three-man midfield - certainly Barry should not be sacrificed - but the temptation has to be to stick with a system that has brought success.

Is McClaren right to consider playing Lescott? And should Lampard be recalled?

What are your thoughts?

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comment by McK (U1817050)

posted Oct 17, 2007

comment by saintmuzza
posted 46 Minutes Ago

I am amazed at how football fans can doubt Lescotts ability. He has been an outstanding defender for Everton and will prove his worth for England. Manchester United fans should try and purchase a season ticket before commentating on Browns ability. The real manu fans know he is a liability


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

Browns record speaks for itself, i'm tired of dealing with people that speculate on things like the OT 'groanometer', whatever that is.

As for Sir Alex being the best club manager in the world. Are there many others out there that have won more? And all acheived with loyalty and honour at the same team? So I don't think only an idiot would argue he's the best club manager still in service in the world.

One more thing...

Rooooooooooooney.

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comment by McK (U1817050)

posted Oct 17, 2007

What happened to Lescott and Campbell on goal number 2 eh? Wouldn't have happened to Brown.

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comment by Izzyboy (U2233572)

posted Oct 17, 2007

I think the team england started with were more than capable of getting 3 points in russia.I personally would picked shorey left back and Lescott centre back with Rio but thats jus me cause i think Sol Campbell has the experience but lacks the pace for inmternational football now(reason carragher doesnt play on the international scene). Anyway no excuses going to Russia on a heavy watered plastic pitch is gonna be hard for any team to get a result. Guss Hiddink got his tactis right, in the end. Though i argue from a safety point is sabotaging the pitch (heavy watering) redeemed foul play?.As a welshman i hope we bulldoze the millennium stadium pitch at every games and make it unplayable so no team can score and atleast we cant get beat by teams like cyprus.

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posted Oct 17, 2007

"Brown's record speaks for itself."

Yes. You are right, it does. Brown's record, as neatly summed up by you:

"Brown hasn't had his chance as G.Neville has been playing in his favoured position and Garry is such a fixture that it would be impossible for Brown to oust him, until he retires that is."

So, Brown's record is as back up for whoever is injured. I'm not saying he isn't good, but give me a break.

Maldini is up there with the ALL TIME GREATS. In a Best 11 of all time, he would probably be the left back.

I'm sorry, but even 99% of Man U fans would rate Maldini above Neville, who in turn keeps Brown out of the side.

Incidentally, even I know that his 'preferred' position is CB. He only started playing RB through injuries.

WB = good? Yes.

WB = Underrated? Yes.

WB = Revalation this season, should be RB for Man U, maybe even England? Possibly.

WB = Potentially better than Maldini? No. Indeed, so badly no that I and quite a few others have been laughing long and hard about that comment all day, and I turn to it again to cheer me up after the England game.

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posted Oct 17, 2007

jam3sm

I'm sorry, i wasn't aware that you can see into the future, you must have one of those fancy screens like in the Minority Report.

What, did you get two funny wooden balls out of it saying "Wes Brown" and "Maldini" and filled in the blanks?

I like the biggot, comment. No really, makes you look like a mature, intelligent, rational kinda chap. Nice one.

You are right though, nobody but you watches a game of football properly.

They don't watch the ball going round the pitch and see which players have the better input into a game, it's only you that can do that. Everyone else is just looking at what colour their hair is and what brand of boots they wear.

... That's why no one else agrees with you about Wes Brown being better than the next Maldini.

<doh>

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comment by McK (U1817050)

posted Oct 17, 2007

comment by I'll be Des
posted 1 Hour Ago

jam3sm


You are right though, nobody but you watches a game of football properly.

They don't watch the ball going round the pitch and see which players have the better input into a game, it's only you that can do that. Everyone else is just looking at what colour their hair is and what brand of boots they wear.

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

Thanks Des, really, though I, kinda, don't need affirmation from you. I can just read your sweeping generalisations backed up with little or no example of what you're talking about. That leads me to believe your opinions are being fed to you by the red tops rather than watching games.

I've cited the reasons I believe Brown to be quality and why I think he should be starting for England, probably in place of Terry. When he plays for United the defence performs better, ditto for England.

Oh and I was joking about the Maldini thing, although never say never. Wes could just be about to undergo a rennaisance in his career...

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posted Oct 17, 2007

Alright Jam look i just can't be bothered to argue with you. Let's agree to disagree on it.

and mate - i don't even read red tops, but there's not ample time to dig out concrete stats and facts for your pleasure during a working day.

Too gutted that we didn't manage to keep hold of the lead when i thought we were going there for a draw anyway. Didn't see the match but that's poor.

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comment by McK (U1817050)

posted Oct 17, 2007

Agreed ;)

I watched it, we folded like a cheap suit after the penalty. The phrase chasing shadows comes to mind.

Ahh well, we've still got a chance, a slim one.

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posted Oct 17, 2007

Don't say that.


It gives me hope.

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comment by loansam (U540174)

posted Oct 19, 2007

Billydelines may have got his videos mixed up. His comment in response to my comment, wherein I was referring to the mistake by Robinson in the Estonia game, which almost cost a goal, included the following:
"I'm not sure how Cole's injury was Robinson's fault - the ball passed across Lescott outside of the area and the Russian player got on to it just inside the area." How did that Russian player get in there?
The ball was clearly a goalkeeper's ball but Robinson fluffed his action. Look at the rerun (Estonia game mind you). You'll see Cole getting twisted by the Estonian player while Lescott played the shepherd.

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