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Capello puts youth to the test

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Phil McNulty | 16:50 UK time, Tuesday, 16 November 2010

When Fabio Capello sat in a room in Rustenburg surrounded by the wreckage of England's World Cup campaign, the cry for youth to be given its chance reached a crescendo.

The established order had failed again - quite spectacularly even by their standards in South Africa - and Capello reeled off a hastily-assembled list of the younger generation who would now come into contention.

Some were not even young, such as Owen Hargreaves and Bobby Zamora, while two names not mentioned were Newcastle United striker Andy Carroll and Sunderland's Jordan Henderson, so it is a credit to the rapid development of these rising stars of the north-east that they will make their debuts against France on Wednesday.

The demand for youth to be given its head is the default response for any international team in trouble - but former England rugby union international turned columnist and commentator Brian Moore called it spot on when he said the advice was "trendy but useless."

Capello would gain no mileage by casting aside all England's experience and trusting entirely to youngsters. And then there is the small of matter of whether the emerging players are actually good enough. It is a cry that is easier said than done.

But there should be enough of a mix-and-match on show for England against France to give Capello some sort of signpost to the future.

Carroll and Henderson are at the starting point of the road to discovery against France, as is Arsenal's excellent young left-back Kieran Gibbs as he wins his second cap. It all adds intrigue to an international that will be played before a sell-out Wembley.

And there is further promise for Capello to explore too. Manchester City's Adam Johnson looks a natural at England level while Theo Walcott will develop under the watchful eye of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and hopefully see rich potential come to fruition.

There might have been further fresh-faced additions had Arsenal's Jack Wilshere been fit, although he looked jaded at Goodison Park on Sunday, while Everton's Jack Rodwell is back with England under-21s after recovering from knee surgery.

So while declining to announce this young brigade as the men, or boys, to take England to Euro 2012 and beyond, it seems there is plenty of talent worthy of Capello's further investigation.

If there is one personal carp with Capello's squad, it is the inexplicable (well inexplicable to me anyway) treatment of Bolton Wanderers striker Kevin Davies. What was it that the 33-year-old did in his brief cameo as substitute against Montenegro and on England duty that convinced Capello he was unworthy of reselection?

To select a 28-year-old Championship player in the shape of Cardiff City's Jay Bothroyd ahead of him, and then call up West Ham United's Carlton Cole when Carroll emerged as a doubt, added insult to injury. It is impossible not to feel sympathy for Davies.

But for now the attention will switch to the new young debutants, and particularly to the turbulent but talented figure of 21-year-old giant Carroll as he leads England's attack.

The selection of Bothroyd was bold, but also alarming in that it pointed to England's cupboard being bare when it came to attacking resources, with Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent out injured.

It also underlined what an opportunity Carroll has to cement a place in England's future should he carry his promising club form into the international arena. The raw materials are in place, but there is much to do and there should not be an excess of expectation placed on his shoulders.

The fact that Carroll's emergence has caused such excitement is not just a response to his performances, but an indicator of the lack of high-class options for England up front.

Carroll has the physical strength to trouble defences, and as Capello said his movement is intelligent, but is he a real England striker in the making? Wednesday will tell us more.

He has had well-chronicled off-field problems which Capello addressed forcefully at Wembley on Tuesday, and if he needed an incentive to focus solely on his football then surely the prospect of establishing himself as an England international should do the trick.

Alan Shearer, a great striker for Newcastle and England, applies simple logic to insist Carroll is the man for Capello, saying: "Who is playing better than him? Nobody. Who is scoring more goals than him? Nobody. He's not the finished article, but get him in there and let's have a look at him."

The second half of Shearer's statement also applies to Sunderland's Henderson, who has drawn rave reviews from boss Steve Bruce and attracted attention from Manchester United and Chelsea.

A good all-round talent who has flourished for Sunderland this season, he is also some distance from being the finished article but the opinion of many sound judges suggests Capello is right to test him against France.

The presence of Carroll and Henderson in particular transforms this routine friendly into a game of real interest. Capello's view is not exactly long-term - it stretches to less than two years hence - but he will be looking for new players to integrate into his plans and the Italian will be paying particular attention to the youngsters against Laurent Blanc's side.

France no longer present the stern test of old, but they will still deliver an examination of how Capello can combine his experienced players such as Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry with the new, young blood.

As talk turns to the future with Carroll and Henderson, what of a member of the old guard, John Terry?

Terry has struggled with injury since the World Cup and has missed all of England's Euro 2012 qualifiers - and now the fear is he faces months on the sidelines with a nerve problem in his right leg.

The Chelsea captain has been a fine servant for England, but is he a realistic option for 2012 in the light of his frail fitness and his now regular absences from the squad?

Everton's Phil Jagielka has done a fine job when he has deputised in the absence of Ferdinand and Terry, and it may be time to thank the latter for his services and move on.

England and Capello hope Carroll, Henderson and Gibbs will offer a glimpse into the future at Wembley on Wednesday. It is becoming increasingly difficult to see how Terry, stricken again, can be a reliable part of it.

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  • Comment number 1.

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  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

    what this squad shows is, arsenal asside, the dearth of young english talent under 28 available from the top 6 sides in england.

  • Comment number 4.

    Very happy for Henderson and Carroll. Well done boys, take the opportunity with both hands. Also what a boon for the North East two debutants from the two big clubs in the region. I wish them all the best in what looks like being an interesting contest between two national powerhouses in transition.

  • Comment number 5.

    There are some promising young players coming through but I don't think Carroll is one of them. He plays by default, there is no one else up front. I'm not being too judgemental I hope, when I say that I expect representatives for their national team to be of sound character. We shall see.
    Still humble and upstanding isn't a word we associate with many footballers these days

  • Comment number 6.

    Really, really happy to see the young guns given a chance.

    I thought players like Barry and SWP were surefire casualties from the WC and they're still here.

    I also think, post WC before Euro's is a really very good time to get into transition. Get them out to Euro's, see what they do - look at it very much as anything beyond 2nd round is a big bonus (anything beyond quarters is a massive bonus for the more senior players after all) and they should all have matured and grown into the next WC. Could then be a blinder.

  • Comment number 7.

    As glad as i am to see young players getting selected I am still bewildered by some of Fabio's selections.

    Why have both Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott been selected?

    Neither have been starting for city.

    This isnt an anti city thing by any stretch of the imagination, I just dont see how they warrant selection ahead of onuhua, simpson, shawcross or cahill to name a few.

    But back to the blog, like i said, im glad he is picking youth, as long as he continues to do so for competitive matches as well as friendlies

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry, bad grammar, should be aren't words

    Re no. 6 - Yes, why is Gareth Barry in the squad?

  • Comment number 9.

    Phil, several points:

    First you cite the need for old heads to bring the new guard through, which is precisely what Martin Johnson has sought in the rugby team, and then you seem to advocate the end of John Terry? " may be time to thank the latter for his services and move on."

    Clearly Terry and Ferdinand can no longer be relied upon to form the peerless partnership of yore, and will not play every game due to injury, but to suggest dropping him entirely is unhelpful. I can't support him as a man, but as a leader, and more importantly a defender, who better to have in the squad for the youngsters to look up to? If Ferdinand or Jagielka are injured, then the cupboard suddenly looks bare. Cahill, Shawcross and Phil Jones look like good prospects, and in a year or two Smalling could enter that category, but in a squad, I would much rather have John Terry either in the team, or ready to fill in.

    Terry's position, along with Lampard's, Glen Johnson's and Gareth Barry's no longer look set in stone, which can only be good news. Competition for places brings out the best in players.

    Secondly, I think you're being a little harsh on Carroll. I'd say the majority of newspaper articles, apart from Shearer's piece focus on the moral aspect of picking him, rather than trumpetting his excellence from the rooftop.

    However, Carroll is a reason to get excited, as an England fan. He's imperious in the air, runs the channels, is a good link man, and has a powerful left foot. He isn't scared to run at defenders, and he can take a battering from a defence and get up and return it.

    Part of the excitement is due to the fact that he would appear to be the type of forward to fit England's game-plan. The Heskey point of an attack, whose role is to distract, harass, and "put himself around a bit", to link up with, and create space for the the likes of Gerrard and Rooney in the holes.

    Fair points? I'm excited by the prospect of a refreshed England. Hart, Gibbs, Richards, Adam Johnson, Henderson, Wilshere when he comes back, Carroll - it's not all doom and gloom...

  • Comment number 10.

    "When Fabio Capello sat in a room in Rustenburg surrounded by the wreckage of England's World Cup campaign, the cry for youth to be given its chance reached a crescendo."

    Oh please, come off it. Everyone's injured! Nothing's changed and when the qualifiers come around, it'll be 'as you were'

  • Comment number 11.

    I think you've been unnecessarily harsh on Bothroyd by referring to him as a Championship striker. I know that factually he is, as Cardiff is a Championship club, but your implication seems to me to be that his status makes him inferior to Premiership strikers. Fair enough, he's not as good as Rooney et al but he's better than several strikers up there. Don't forget either that Steve Bull played for England when playing at a second tier club. Status isn't everything; talent should be. We'll just have to see if Bothroyd can deliver.

    As for the rest of the squad, I would have liked, like you, to see a sport for Kevin Davies. I genuinely sympathise. He's a brilliant professional whose form certainly merits selection. Further, I think Scott Parker, Leighton Baines and Stewart Downing could have been rewarded for their form. Perhaps even Nedum Onuoha and Marc Albrighton could have been in with a shout too?

    Certainly, it strikes me as silly to say that you will pick players on form and then pick Chris Smalling, Kieran Gibbs and Carlton Cole.

  • Comment number 12.

    Add another by the name of Danny Welbeck to that list after his last few matches he seems be showing some potential again. Be interesting to see whether he will be given a chance at Man Utd or let go

  • Comment number 13.

    its not just players like carroll and henderson in the squad that are good players. other players like albrighton from villa and kelly from liverpool are players that may have the ability to cut it on the international scene if given the chance. i was a bit surprised that jarvis from wolves wasnt called up as well, as he has looked very good so far this season. also think a player like muamba or nolan should have been called up ahead of barry. the u19s and u18s also have some good prospects so the future isnt that bleak i dont think

  • Comment number 14.

    Add Kevin Nolan, Danny Simpson, Matt Jarvis and Matt Etherington to my short list of form players at post 11.

    I feel friendlies are the perfect opportunity to give such players a chance/ They are very dull affairs at the best of time, especially with established players going through the motions, certain of their places in the "important" squads when the big games come around.

    Introducing fresh blood, players with a point to prove, can only be a good thing in my opinion.

  • Comment number 15.

    carroll seems to be a decent choice. I saw him playing against arsenal and he was full of energy the entire game. Definitely not the finished article, but we know that anyway. He will only improve!!

    Of course Capello should experiment. Otherwise how will he know if the players are good enough to cut it at international level. I think he should try new or less experienced players for every position in this meaningless friendly to get an idea. If he doesn't experiment now, when will he do it ( an actual qualifier for the Euro).

  • Comment number 16.

    Good to see young players getting a chance but also now more players will be members of the 1 cap club I reckon. Carroll no doubt has ability but too weak right side, first touch, and not quick enough really. He needs to sort himself out off pitch as it is unacceptable behaviour. We have enough bad role models with Ferdinand, Terry, Gerrard, Rooney, Cole etc etc etc.
    Good to see a geordie there however, and a mackem - Henderson looks a real talent. The overall picture however is the dearth of talent - where are the ball players and free spirits in the game?

  • Comment number 17.

    In a way I can understand why Capello didn't pick Kevin Davies because Carroll is a younger version although I think he could have learned from the "master" in training.

    However, for the life of me, I can't understand why Gary Cahill was dropped. Yes, I know he got called up when Terry dropped out but he's a far better player than Lescott or Smalling and will be an international fixture when his move to a "big" club finally happens.

    However, the upside is that both Wanderers will be fighting fit for Saturday and, hopefully, the big toon lad will be so drained from tomorrow's exertions he'll have to be rested at the weekend.

  • Comment number 18.

    3# what this squad shows is, arsenal asside, the dearth of young english talent under 28 available from the top 6 sides in england.

    That and just how many injuries Spurs have at the moment. Lennon, Defoe, Huddlestone, King, Woodgate, Dawson all might have a real claim for a place if fit. And yes, I realise that using the words "woodgate" and "fit" in the same sentence is pushing it.

  • Comment number 19.

    Really hope Carroll succeeds with England... but he better sort out his messed up private life - looks as if he has all the idiotic traits of the typical footballer. Heaven knows we don't want another John Terry on our hands.

  • Comment number 20.

    the old guard have not so much been thrown aside as taken off in an ambulance. thats ok because they weren't good enough either when good enough = winning something.

    youth and experience is needed. whoever said anything else? the calls for younger players was a reaction to their ill advised ommission by grandad capello. he's old enough to remember the italian risorgimento. time for an english version.

  • Comment number 21.

    Kevin Davies should have been picked over Bothroyd and Cole, and surely Roger Johnson and Scott Dann have got to have their chance soon?

  • Comment number 22.

    My only issue with your blog Phil is the following: "The established order had failed again - quite spectacularly even by their standards in South Africa". Surely failure to qualify for the previous Euro's was the nadir of the generation?

  • Comment number 23.

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

  • Comment number 24.

    Carroll needs a lot of work but could be a player for England... Henderson could well be a genius call-up
    Would have liked to see Onuoha called up, one of the few defenders to keep Gareth Bale quiet this season. Downing and Albrighton would have been a fair shout, Villa are bringing the boys through now

    Why is Barry in the team? Wright-Phillips has proved nothing for City this season... Same for Lescott, since leaving Everton, his ability seems to have decreased dramatically, why's he there?!

    Micah Richards may well become a decent defender for England, he's done the job before, I'm sure he'll step up

  • Comment number 25.

    carroll will answer any critics he has on the pitch tomorrow. he is a fantastic young talent, joint top scorer in the league and when not on the scoresheet he has been a constant menace and plays huge parts in team goals, how people can say he isnt what england needs is beyond me because the world cup set-up was a joke and this injection of young blood is just what england needs, make no mistake this isnt going to be a short term fix and we need to lower out expectations as this set-up is about the future! good luck guys!

  • Comment number 26.

    Definitely being too harsh on Bothroyd, and typical patronising attitude towards the Championship full-stop. Caroll was outstanding last season and probably deserved a call up then, but I suspect he didn't because he is a 'championship lad', 'inferior'. If Cardiff get promoted next season (and it's looking good), I have suspicions your usual fickle opinions will change.

    Bothroyd can seriously add towards the game of England and is definitely a gamble worth taking, especially as he's only 28 and entering into the best years of his career in time for the Euro's, notwithstanding that there is only dross remaining in the Premiership with injuries. Worth a chance I believe, we may be surprised.

  • Comment number 27.

    what this squad shows is, arsenal asside, the dearth of young english talent under 28 available from the top 6 sides in england.

    Yeah Villa are only packed with England players young and old but never mind them, eh

  • Comment number 28.

    If Carroll is the answer to our striking problems then we are asking the wrong question. Truly it is the end of days..

  • Comment number 29.

    a bit premature to call time on the england career or terry, loathe the player though i do.

    otherwise a good, if slightly obvious analysis. easy on the praise of adam johnson though, he's far from the finished article mcnulty and others seem to be indicating.

    said to be lazy in training, thinks he's a wonderful player (we've got enough of that in the team already, thank you)

    i would have liked to have seen downing in the team, and i'd like to see albrighton given a go fairly soon too.

    on the davies issue he has no long term future with england and is never going to be a credible attacking force for a team who will have ambitions to compete with europe's elite in 18 months or so. football's a ruthless business and i'm glad capello has so quickly rectified the mistake he made calling him up in the first place

  • Comment number 30.

    Before I start, I will admit now - I have never been a fan of Capello.

    Okay, he has gone with more inexperienced players and this friendly is more experimental then previous ones. Smalling, this season, has warmed the bench for Manchester United just incase the incredible Vidic or Ferdinand has to be broken because of injury - yes he has done his job when playing in the Carling Cup or Champions League but he isn't playing reguraly.

    Bothroyd's inclusion is a shambles! I believe Don Fabio is just trying to make it look like he picks players on form - I don't have anything against the lower tiers of English football but you shouldn't be able to play for England unless you are playing well consistently in one of the best divisions in the world, the Premier League.

    I could name probably six to eight players that could've made into that squad without argument. Kevin Nolan, Danny Simpson, Nedum Onuoha, Marc Albrighton, Scott Parker and Danny Welbeck. Also, the controversion Joey Barton who has been one of the best English midfielders in the league could've/should've added to his one cap in midweek.

    It is complete injustice to how Kevin Davies wasn't in the England squad again this time round and how Gabby Agbonlahor and Carlton Cole were. I like Gabby as a player but he's had injury trouble thus far and probably should have some time to prove himself before he can walk in. I'm not even going to get into Cole...

    Off the topic but am I the only person that thinks Lampard shouldn't get back into the England squad? For his club - one of the best players on the planet. For his country - he is poor. It's a shame because him and Gerrard could be superb but he just can't transfer his form.

    Moaning out of the way, this is what I would play:

    Foster; Richards, Jagielka, Cahill, Gibbs; Walcott, Gerrard, Barry, Milner, A.Johnson; Carroll.

  • Comment number 31.

    Thankfully at last, an article on England that doesn't hint at or suggest a resurrection for David Beckham. Glad to see Phil has seen it's time to move on England. No doubt though the call will start again if France win tomorrow night.

  • Comment number 32.

    kick out ferdinand, keep terry.

    we've seen what happens to teams when they lose hi, he give far, far more than you hasty journos think he does.

    shocking reporting.

  • Comment number 33.

    hope smalling gets on tomorrow.

    his incredible rise from non-league to Old Trafford is being virtually ignored.

    it shouldn't be. he's a tremendous prospect and already looks an assured player.

  • Comment number 34.

    I mean the old guard is actually old. They wont be spring chickens by the next euros and forget about the WC. I think England should bite the bullett and bring in a big group and simply through em to the sharks. In the end I think this will be better.

  • Comment number 35.

    Terry is clearly an option for 2012. He, like Ferdinand are quite clearly still options for both their clubs and country as they are by far and away the best two centre-backs in the country.

    2014 could be pushing it, but he'll still only be 31 at the time of Euro 2012, hardly ancient for a central defender.

    Also, whilst Jagielka is definitely deserving of his place in the England squad it's delusional to be looking at him, a player who is quite clearly not in the league of Terry / Ferdiand, as the future. At 28, he's one and a half years younger than Terry, hardly bringing through younger talent like playing Cahill would be.

  • Comment number 36.

    Have to admit I was a wee bit surprised that Martin Kelly wasn't included in the 23. I don't think he's quite ready enough to start but after keeping Malouda and Anelka (two of the most inform players this season) and the hulking brute that is Drogba not only quiet but making it seem like they weren't even on the pitch is an amazing feat - even more so on your first start in a must win game. He is the first choice right back at Liverpool in everybody's eyes except our deluded manager. It would have been nice for him to at least train with other "big names" and maybe even get on the bench. Maybe next time.

  • Comment number 37.

    And he kept the overrated money grabbing Chelsea left back quiet too!

  • Comment number 38.

    Here's my team made up of Young english players who didn't play in the world cup:

    Naughton Jones Mancienne Gibbs
    Wilshere Rodwell Henderson
    Walcot Carroll Johnson

    The position I found hardest to fill was right back. Glen Johnson is an awful defender but there aren't many young alternatives at his position. Naughton is eligable to play for the R.O.I - Capello should have given him a call up, before they snatch him off us.

  • Comment number 39.

    Carroll should get his chance but his overall play isnt up the scratch. Bad first touch, not great in the air for his height and an awful attitude. Brilliant!!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    Here is France's selection. A mixture of young and old. The 'Old' are very average players, but there are very rapidly improving youngsters eg Nasri, Loic Remy, Dimitri Payet and Yaan M'Vila. Look out for these youngsters, Especially M'Vila, as he wold make a great addition to Liverpool some day.

    Forwards: Gameiro (Lorient), Hoarau (Paris St Germain), Benzema (Real Madrid), Remy (Marseille), Payet (St Etienne), Valbuena (Marseille)

    Midfielders: A. Diarra (Bordeaux), M’Vila (Rennes), Malouda (Chelsea), Gourcuff (Lyon), Nasri (Arsenal), Cabaye (Lille)

    Defenders: Sagna (Arsenal), Clichy (Arsenal), Rami (Lille), Kaboul (Spurs), Sakho (Paris St Germain), Abidal (Barcelona), Reveillere (Lyon)

    Goalkeepers: Lloris (Lyon), Mandanda (Marseille), Carrosso (Bordeaux)

  • Comment number 41.

    Phil, I refer to your piece regarding the shortage of striking options.

    Whilst I am sure I'm going to provoke a whole host of replies stating that Premiership or even Championship experience is needed for an England Callup, is it not possible for a League 2 striker to be called up?

    After all, Adam Le Fondre is the countries top goal scorer. Guess which team he plays for?

    He's young, talented and quite frankly has more goals to his name than our best striker who's currently injured.

    To the die-hard England supporters out there, has a League 2 Striker ever been called up for England?

  • Comment number 42.

    To comments about Terry are not personal against him. He simply doesn't pitch up any more to play for England and he has had a long and sapping career, playing through pain until the point where even he admits he can't do it any longer.

    It may be that playing for Chelsea taxes him enough physically if and when he comes back. As I say in the blog a fine servant for his country, but hard to see him fit and well for England in 2012 given his recent track record and this latest problem sounds acute.

    To henry-porter...have to say the name of David Beckham never crosses my mind in connection with England these days. Surely his last serious injury effectively ended his international career. No offence intended to Beckham, because I know how any hint of criticism sparks a reaction, but his day is done with England.

    To Mikraphone13...sorry if you think I'm being harsh on Bothroyd. He has certainly proved himself to be a good Championship player at the age of 28. My big query is that Kevin Davies is a good Premier League player and has been outstanding for Bolton recently. I cannot fathom Capello's decision to drop him.

    If Bothroyd was a promising youngster then fine, but he should not be in the squad at the expense of Davies in my opinion.

    And to those unsure about Andy Carroll - this makes it a good idea from Capello to use him in a friendly to see how he shapes up, same with Henderson.

    Let me know who you think should also have been in the squad. Who are the young players Capello has missed?

    The inclusion of these young players certainly adds to the interest tomorrow.

  • Comment number 43.

    don't write off John Terry too soon, he's class

  • Comment number 44.

    Totally shocked by Matt Jarvis' exclusion from the squad.. Here's a guy with amazing pace who can play down either wing and cross the ball with either foot....

  • Comment number 45.

    i agree with premWolf Matt Jarvis has been in form all seasons switching flanks and causing havark to different right and left backs. His crossing ability is class and i personally belief he should move in January too a bigger club for champo league football.

  • Comment number 46.

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

  • Comment number 47.

    To connor for captaincy...Plenty of talk about Matt Jarvis and undoubtedly a real talent. The problem is there is plenty of competition in the wide positions, but if he keeps playing as he is then he sure to keep catching Capello's eye.

  • Comment number 48.

    The emergence of a striker with the raw talent and determination displayed by Andy Carroll is a relatively rare commodity. The stir aroused by his form this season has in the past been reserved only for the likes of Lawton, Linneker and Shearer. Let us all hope his beacon shines in world soccer as brightly as theirs once did.

  • Comment number 49.

    A boy called Carroll - no wonder he wants to beat everyone up to prove his manhood - reminds me of Johnny Cash 'a Boy called Sue'.

    We've had many miscreatants in football since the 1960's, but most have involved drinking, gambling and excessive late nights (you know who I mean), and random copulation, but until recently I can't recall any who were consistently involved in fighting (doh! - Gerrard, of course - the nations's hero - the ultimate role-model). Still, I expect he'll be captain.

    Never mind, Jordan seems a nice young boy, and Kieran Gibbs is everything your grandmother would want in a prospective husband (apart from the fact that he plays for Arsenal). Even grandmothers compromise sometimes.

  • Comment number 50.

    McNulty: "If Bothroyd was a promising youngster then fine", with utmost respect, this is laugable. Kevin Davis is 33, and whilst having a good season, is likely to be on the downer over the next few seasons for when it really matters (the competitions). Bothroyd is an admittedly late developer, but this is a friendly game, try him out, no harm in that. It is highly possible that Bothroyd could drive Cardiff into the premiership and prove himself. My point with Carroll is that he was awesome (excuse the superlative) last season, and has immediately proved himself the same this season, and I believe Bothroyd has the potential to prove the same assuming Cardiff get promoted. If anyone should be questioned about being in the squad to Davies then the emphasis should be on COLE who's been dreadful for a very long time in football years.

    Of course, I say all this whilst noting the many injuries to other strikers. One person I always think is overlooked is Bent, who has been a goal-scoring machine in every season for every team he's played at. It beggar's belief why so many England managers overlook him.

  • Comment number 51.

    Cant believe im about to say this but i am very impressed with Mr Capello. Good choice of emerging talent suplemented with the experiance of great players such as Gerrard. Its a friendly may as well give them ago attude is currently the right approach i feel. Afew other opinions i'd like to share..
    Barry.. what does he do well? Why is he rated so highly by many? Isnt it just because we have no other credable defensive midfeilders?!
    Bothroyd.. good luck to him hes been banging them in for Cardiff, although i must admit i didnt know he was that old not rele one for the future is it?!
    Davis.. Feel sorry for the guy but in my opinion Capello must just not appreciate his rugid but affective style of play hes been a great servant to Bolton but not for England at 33!
    Carrol.. could be the future, lets not jump the gun though!
    Oh and also good article Phil!

  • Comment number 52.

    @ 40

    Thanks for the heads up! Haven't seen the players you have mentioned but I have seen Gourcuff play a few times. His skill and technique are incredible (reminiscent to the great Zidane) but I have read that he isn't having a good season at Lyon. I hope he is in inspired mood tomorrow. Looking forward to the match.

  • Comment number 53.


    Agree entirely - Bent reminds me of Ian Wright who was poorly used by England despite his prolific success in the top flight. Fair enough, he cocked-up a couple of early opportunities for England, but to ignore his obvious talent for so long (under a succession of managers) was appalling, especially considering who they used instead - for example Alan Smith, David Hirst, Brian Deane - oh, and some idiot called Alan Shearer. The last one excepted, I don't consider any of them anywhere near the equal as a goal-scorer to Ian Wright.

  • Comment number 54.

    Carrol is a fantastic player, I just hope he doesn't get into anymore trouble and lets his football do the talking. He could be a real asset for England, and along with Wilshere, Hederson, Albrighton and co. I finally see some hope for England's future.

    Charles Darwin on Carroll:

    "Carroll is a fine physical specimen, brutally strong and surprisingly fast across the ground. His style is reliant on his instincts, and the very essence of instinct is that it's followed independently of reason, as proved by his ludicrous pony tail.”

  • Comment number 55.

    Hi Phil,

    Some players I would have liked to see called up for this friendly:

    Gary Cahill
    Nedum Onouha
    Leighton Baines
    Fabrice Muamba
    Marc Albrighton
    Jack Rodwell

    Real dirth of English strikers, which is the biggest worry.

    The above, all deserve a chance based on this seasons form.

  • Comment number 56.

    Thankfully at last, an article on England that doesn't hint at or suggest a resurrection for David Beckham.
    Ok then, ill say how utterly shameful it is that Beckham or "becks" as the true legend of football prefers to be addressed, hasnt been recalled to lead us from darkness into the light once again. And to compound this outrage, this is France, only the "MIGHTY BECKS" can lace them up and take a world level team like France apart-just as he did so memorably on all the previous occassions that total "warrior" has gone into battle Agincourt-style against our ancient foes. Who will forget the way Beckham kept his cool as an experienced "leader of men" and sublimely slotted that Rooney-won penalty away to bury the Frenchies 2-0 during Euro2004? Thats what happened wasnt it? And who can forget just 2 years back when our Hero adorned "Boots of Gold" in Paris in celebration of the century of 100 incredibly amazing all-conquering performances he had delivered for his adoring nation? England might have gone down that night but it still must be stated how completely TERRIFIED the French defence was for 90 minutes once again having to face up to the devastating "danger of becks". I, for one, will not be watching the England soccering XI until the maestro is back where he belongs, terrorising the major powers of world football, something which im absolutely convinced must have occured regulary during this all-time superstars simply incredible international career.

  • Comment number 57.

    The England squad should be about who is in form(.) I think the likes of Carroll and Boothroyd are a good thing for England (although would they have been called up without the injuries?) however Capello needs to do this for EVERY squad selection which he doesn't do enough for me. Barring injuries England in 2012 will have 70-80% of the same players as the 2010WC = epic failure II...hope he sticks to his "in form" promise and proves me wrong!

  • Comment number 58.

    Me and julio did you forget Danny Welbeck. He seems to be coming along nicely.

  • Comment number 59.

    Has there ever been a geordie local boy that hasn't become an England great?

  • Comment number 60.

    Agree with the shout about Albrighton, surely he has contributed more this season so far than Walcott.

    Phil - would appreciate your thoughts but I still cant believe that Barry gets anywhere near our national team - he was exposed in the world cup and has been awful everytime he has pulled on the shirt since. he is slow paced, has a poor touch and his pass completion rate is shocking.

  • Comment number 61.

    The psyche of some of the English fans baffles me. Bothroyd WILL be a Premiership player next season, whether it is with Cardiff or without. Why on earth should Capello wait until he is OFFICIALLY registered to a Premiership team in order to give the lad a chance. At that point all of your so called World Class players are likely to be fit and automatically chosen ahead of anyone else regardless of current form!!

    I see a lot say that Carroll deserves his call, and so he does, but he is no better or worse than he was in The Championship, same goes for Adam Johnson of Man City. If Bothroyd had absolutely NO CHANCE of ever becoming a Premiership player, then I could understand the uproar, but you all know that he WILL be next year.

    Why are you all so against giving new players a chance? This, with so many key injuries, is exactly the right time to change things up a little. For FAR too long now England have selected the same PREDICTABLE teams for Competitions and failed MISERABLY!! Capello is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't!

    If Bothroyd does get enough time on the pitch, I am sure that he will pleasantly surprise a lot of you. He is very much a late bloomer, not in terms of ability, but in terms of attitude and professional approach to the game.

    I agree that Kevin Davies can feel hard done by. Peter Crouch and Carlton Cole AKA Can't Control are far more worrying inclusions that Bothroyd. YES they are playing in the Prem but both are shockingly off form.

    Look past the fact that Bothroyd is not in the Prem and appreciate that he will be next season. Also appreciate the fact that Capello, due to injuries, is able to experiment in such a way that he would not be able to if all the Usual Suspects were available.

  • Comment number 62.

    While agree that Davies has been treated badly and is a top pro, I really don't see any place for him in the England squad. His age means he offers nothing for the future so unless he is going to make a big contribution to qualifying I think it's a pointless selection. Combine that with the fact that his playing style means that referees outside the EPL will give fouls against him constantly. He should not have been picked in the first place because his treatment by Capello just looks completely disrespectful now.

    The Bothroyd selection is a joke in my view. I know he's scored a lot of goals but surely players like Welbeck and Agbonlahor (admit he hasn't built on his promise) should be considered ahead of him. Albrighton looks like a great prospect, an out and out winger who can offer some consistency if Walcott is misfiring. Any offers of a quality defensive mid anyone? Parker should be picked instead of Barry in my view but who is the future in that position?

  • Comment number 63.

    now...i find myself here again between a rock and a hard place. Kevin Davies has got a proven track record in the prem and is having arguably one of his best seasons. He is a leader a i feel that is what England are missing. He can't start though but should make an impact from thge bench. However foreign ref's aren't used to his physical presence and his traditional striker play. He adds another dimension and is always likely too win the aerial battle

  • Comment number 64.

    i just dont understand why michael carrick has been overlooked for this friendly. i know he's 29 now and didnt have a great end to the season last year, but this year after shaking off an injury he's come back and played some really good games for united.

    i would much rather he took the place of gareth barry, who is constantly criticised and rarely plays well, but still gets into the england setup. carrick's vision and range of passing is far superior to barry's and he is the same age, so it wouldnt be a youth replacement, just a better replacement.

    i dont want it to sound biased as a united fan, just genuinely think he's a better player. also, cant wait to get welbeck back, he's been showing the kind of form that he showed when he first started for united.

  • Comment number 65.

    54. At 8:27pm on 16 Nov 2010, In Off The Ghost wrote:

    Charles Darwin on Carroll:

    "Carroll is a fine physical specimen, brutally strong and surprisingly fast across the ground. His style is reliant on his instincts, and the very essence of instinct is that it's followed independently of reason, as proved by his ludicrous pony tail.”

    Brilliant - wish I'd thought of that - still, I think his defence lawyer could do a lot worse than open with that argument. 'Delayed evolution' is, I think, still a valid defence in the English justice system.

    I come from a time when the Newcastle team had names that were reminiscient of their surroundings - they had names like Craggs, Sproggon, Hardcastle, Stubbins, Keeble, Scoular, Outcrop, Cliffhanger, ... well, I'm exaggerating a bit - but it was like that.

  • Comment number 66.

    The Dangle Formerly Known as Sir - (CCFC - Social Events Officer)

    Thank you for your common sense, and more eloquent than mine support for Bothroyd. Agree with the lot.


    Hardly a 'joke'. Do you watch the Championship, or confined to premiership myopia? Whilst I support the idea of Wellback inter alia, they are young (and before Arsenal are quoted, complete youth doesn't win you anything), still more to prove, Bothroyd has been in fine form for a few seasons, and is still progressing. Why don't you focus your attention on the woeful Cole, and Agbonlahor has been stagnated vis-a-vis improvement for a few seasons.

  • Comment number 67.

    Glad to see carroll getting a shot. He has steadily progressed since debut at newcastle and would like to see him do same for england. If he maintains current form crouch could be struggling to force his way back in.

  • Comment number 68.

    56 - marsman,

    Couldn't have put it better myself!

    Beckham is back once again and is regaining his fitness in the MLS. His season unfortunately ended last weekend when the Galaxy were knocked out of the MLS Cup (I fell asleep at half time - 2:15am kick-off!) so he now has a break up until January.
    I think he will go on loan again in January (despite what he said previously about not doing so) after two months of rest and fitness training.

    He'll be back in the England squad before next summer - I promise you all that. His range of passing at the moment is still the best in the world (and the best there ever has been) from open play and from set pieces (he set up two goals the week before last from two set pieces).

    I think his best position is still on the right although he can play as a deep playmaker. I remember the last friendly he had (for England) where he received the ball on the halfway line and time and time again sprayed balls out to the wingers (Ashley Young and Theo Walcott at the time if I remember correctly) high up the pitch with inch perfect precision. If we're going to unleash pace down the wings...let's bring in Beckham's passing range and allow him to unlock their ability.

    Or just play him on the right hand side and let him cross inch-perfect balls onto the head of Andy Carrol (although I would pick Michael Owen upfront).

  • Comment number 69.

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

  • Comment number 70.

    First of all, i find anyone questioning Carroll's heading ability to be on a different planet, he wins 90% of the headers he goes for, and having watched plenty of Newcastle matches this year, i can count the headers he's lost on one hand. He's not exactly slow either, and he can hold up play fantastically. Basically, i'd describe him as a 3 dimensional Heskey, with added goals.

    Otherwise, delighted to see Henderson picked, would have loved to have seen a Henderson-Wilshere midfield though... But i can't understand the selections of Micah Richards and especially Joleon Lescott. Neither are playing week in week out, and defensively we've got a few other options(Onouha/Simpson/Kelly, Cahill/Shawcross/Jones) who all deserve a chance. Cahill especially.

    Finally, Carlton Cole and Bothroyd ahead of Kevin Davies i don't get, why pick someone to give him 10 minutes then relegate him to about 10th choice...? Gutted for the bloke.

    My team (given the squad) would be something like: Hart, Richards, Cahill, Ferdinand, Gibbs. Ashley Young, Henderson, Gerrard, A Johnson. Walcott, Carroll.

    I think that'd scare the French a bit.

  • Comment number 71.

    Interesting article, although john terry is 29, this is his first ever long ish term injury (if it even is) that i can remember having, so asking the question, will he still serve england to the 2012 euro's seems a ridiculous one.

    Delighted to see Andy Carrol being selected and starting, tere has been no better english striker this season. Capello said when he first started that he would pick fit players only and ones who play regularly for their club (he was obviously lying as he took hesky to the world cup when he hardly ever started for villa last season), but if that is what he believes then you have to pick Carrol.

    As far as the rest of the team goes, gibbs is the perfect choice if cole is injured and he is the future. Richards is our best if johnson isn't fit, not sure why it has taken capello so long to pick him. I'm not sure capello knows what our first choice midfield is, for me it has to be walcott tight, johnson left, gerrard centre with either wilshire or milner. Barry is 1 dimensional, slow and to keen to pass the ball sideways. Wilshire has started week in week out for arsenal, he can defend, pick a pass, is comfortable on the ball and gets forward quickly into the box. A modern centre midfielder should do everything, like he can and gerrard and milner can, barry can not.

    Up front can't wait to see carrol start, him alongside defoe would be deadly, i'm not sure rooney would be on the bench the way he has played this season!

  • Comment number 72.

    53#- Agree entirely - Bent reminds me of Ian Wright who was poorly used by England despite his prolific success in the top flight. Fair enough, he cocked-up a couple of early opportunities for England, but to ignore his obvious talent for so long (under a succession of managers) was appalling, especially considering who they used instead - for example Alan Smith, David Hirst, Brian Deane - oh, and some idiot called Alan Shearer. The last one excepted, I don't consider any of them anywhere near the equal as a goal-scorer to Ian Wright

    Well, thats one way to look at it. The other way is to consider that for most of that time, Gary Lineker was the first name on the England teamsheet, and for good reason, and therefore Ian Wright wasnt a good partner for him. When Lineker retired, Shearer emerged, and Wright could have been a good foil except for injury and advancing years. Not to mention that Shearer and Sheringham was a devastating team.

    To drag this back on topic, the point is that certain players dont fit into the team make-up. While a month ago I was championing Kevin Davies, I have to accept that in the long run he isnt going to make the future of England. For that reason Andy Carroll is now a good call up front. He could potentially be very good alongside a rejuvenated Rooney.

    Individually Lampard and Gerrard are outstanding players, without doubt, but the facts of the last 10 years tell us that they just dont work together. For that reason picking people like Henderson (and I will admit, I wouldnt) is a good idea. We need to try out different combinations.

  • Comment number 73.

    Phil - we have heard alot about England 'building for the future' about 'golden generations' and 'giving youngsters their chance' etc for years - and where has it got us?
    The National team should be picked either from players who are currently on form and who can bring that club form to the international stage; or players who can be slotted into a pre-determined patterns/styles of play and whose capability relates to a specific/given role within that pattern.
    With the England team we seem to do neither.
    I was one of those who thought that when Capello arrived he would develop a pattern/style of play for the England team and then pick players who could play specific roles within such patterns - as Alf Ramsey did in the 60's. That Fabio would ignore demands for and would be impervious to the tempatations to find a way to include 'all our star players' (even if that meant playing them out of position on many occasions)- he would have always a 'first choice 11' in mind and only deviate when forced to through injury or significant loss of form by individuals. Capellos' continued selection of Heskey with Rooney seemed (initially) to bear that out belief.
    We all know what happened after that - now for a while we seemed to be reverting to the former model, i.e. select players on current form (and availability) only and add a sprinkling of 'youngsters' for 'succession planning' purposes. However even that is now questionable since one of the countries most in-form strikers, Kevin Davies, has been omitted - what on earth is going on?

  • Comment number 74.

    It's true, though. It's all very well picking youth players and looking to the future but surely there will come a time where the future is the present. Why not pick the best players we have available? I.e Established premiership players instead of reserves?

  • Comment number 75.

    If beckham had been picked it would have confirmed the inmates had taken over the asylum. He plays football for a team that is only league one standard at best. Quite clearly he knows that he's way past his best and that only money matters now.

  • Comment number 76.

    I wonder how may of these will also end up as 1 or 2 cap wonders, Capello is just going for quantity over quality now.

    This is going back to the era when we picked Gavin Mccann, Luke Young, Chris Powell, Seth Johnson etc.

  • Comment number 77.

    Mikraphone 13

    No I watch plenty of the Championship. In all honesty it's offered far more than the Premiership in terms of competitiveness and excitement in the closing stages in recent years. I have just seen nothing from Bothroyd that makes me believe he has much to offer on the international stage, although the same can be said of SWP, Heskey and a number of others who have been selected in recent years.

    I would like to be proved wrong but I worry that he may not be picked enough times to have that opportunity.

  • Comment number 78.

    Phil - I agree with #73 and #74.
    When are we going to stop kidding ourselves that England Managers can 'build for the future', when their TOR and tenure requires 'instant success' just to stay in the job. England Managers have absolutely no say whatsoever in the development of youngsters who are 'bought and paid for' by the clubs. Any England manager who tries to build for the future is doomed to failure, we cannot wait, we want success now, every game has to be won and convincingly! Impossible, of course it is, but thats never stopped us failing before, has it!
    My advice to Fabio is 'take every game as it comes' (where have we heard that before?) - pick the best players available, forget strategies and such like, toss them the ball and say to the team, "you are professionals at the top of your game, go out and prove it to your countrymen"; to the captain, tell him "you take decisions on the field as things happen, if you need a substitution, signal and you will get one". Football is a simple game - how often have we heard that as well and how often do we forget!

  • Comment number 79.

    Oh dear...looks like someone needs their daily dose of Beckham history!

    Let me take you back to Real Madrid, 2006 - managed by Capello at the time and owned by president Ramon Calderon (successing the previous "Galacticos-bearing president, Florentino Perez).

    Such was the rivalry between the new and old chairmen, Calderon was reported to have tried to rid Real Madrid of the "Galacticos" title and to end the era of his predecessor. As a result, Beckham was left out of the team and was reported to have been made to train alone on his own training ground while the rest of the team trained for the next game.

    Beckham had subsequently been left out of the England squad by McClaren, desperate to make a bold statement to the press and public.

    Beckham, no longer in the first team at Real Madrid (Calderon reported to have told the press that Beckham's Madrid contract will not be re-signed) and England for political reasons, decided to sign a contract with La Galaxy and build soccer in the USA.

    By the end of the season, Beckham had fought his way back into the team (by his work ethic in training and the public calls by players such as Ruud Van Nistelrooy to play him). Real Madrid went onto win La Liga, inspired by the goals and assists of David Beckham. Real Madrid's president subsequently denied reporting that Beckhams Madrid career was over and claimed he had been "mis-interpreted". Despite the best efforts of the Madrid negotiating and legal team, they were unable to negate the contract Beckham had signed with the Galaxy.

    So, he did not leave just for the money. He left because of a lot of factors regarding the first team football he had at the time. Also - let's not forget the massive increase in LA Galaxy crowds, the Beckham Soccer academies in America (and Brazil, I think? on top of England) and the huge interest in soccer across the States since his arrival.

  • Comment number 80.


    Fair enough. I guess I hope I'm not proved wrong, but from what I've seen of him he has pace, awareness, strength, some nifty moves, on form, scoring goals and providing assists (not selfish), overshadowing Bellamy to an extent, I think he's got a little something that England need, and if he continues he'll be in top form for the Euro's - whilst maybe not a long term project, he's potentially got something to offer now and the next two years. He's a menace off the ball too.

    Agbonlahor, Heskey (finally out!), Cole, Rooney (to an extent), Crouch (admittedly I'm a fan), and co. have had their chances and not produced, give some other guys a chance, and see what they can do. That said, I'm not suggesting a clear out. What do you think of Bent? I'd also like to see Wellbeck, and agree with most of what you say, just not the fact that Bothroyd selection is a joke.

  • Comment number 81.

    I was the biggest fan of Capello when he got the job and said he should get it. I also said that he shouldn't be sacked as he wouldn't fail twice but now I am not so sure.

    In fact I think he should go.

    To include Davies for one game and then dismiss him is garbage. Anyone who has watched the PL for a while knows that he has done it week in and week out. True he isn't everyone's cup of tea but you can't seriously tell me that he doesn't warrant a place in front of Bothroyd.

    Some posters say that Capello has stuck to his word and picked players on form...also another load of garbage. SWP and form are not words that go together very often and certainly not in the last few months. If players on form are picked how the hell can SWP get in front of Matt Jarvis?

    Capello is appeasing a few who want the old guard out...for now....but they will be back when the qualifiers come.

    Time to go Capello and as one who wanted you I have to hold my hands up and say it was a mistake.

  • Comment number 82.

    21. At 5:59pm on 16 Nov 2010, bluenosechris91 wrote:

    "...and surely Roger Johnson and Scott Dann have got to have their chance soon?"

    Hear, hear! I am an ITFC fan, but if I see quality, I have no problems saying so. Yeah, Birmingham haven't been too good going forward, but they have had a solid defense, again, and considering how well Hart, Johnson, & Dann, played together last year, I do not see why Capello couldn't try it again. Not just that, but Ridgewell is doing very well this year also.

  • Comment number 83.


    In hindsight calling his selection a joke was a bit strong and likely to rile those who rate him. I'm just have my doubts but I'm sure Capello and his team have watched play a lot more than I have.

    I think Bent can be seen as comfortably the third best English forward after Ronney and Defoe around at the moment and should be given the chance to prove himself for England. Sometimes players who score for fun in the EPL find it difficult to replicate that at international level and I think some people would put him in that category. Personally I think he should be given the opportunity particularly given Rooney's lack of form at the moment.

  • Comment number 84.

    Any intelligent player now, in a completely new setup, should be looking at his fellow players and seeing the strengths of their game and how he can fit it into this.

    They won't as they are too self obsessed, and they'll all be playing different games, and we'll get smashed by the hugely talented French youth.

  • Comment number 85.

    Good blog Phil... what I found interesting about the squad was that although Jay Bothroyd was the only player picked from the Championship a lot of the players have roots in the Championship...have a look at

    The Championship, the ‘wonder kids’ shop window!

  • Comment number 86.

    Personally i think that Capello is doing the right thing by fielding more young players i just hope that he changes the formation to something more competitive as 4-4-2 has not worked since 1966.

    I just wish that this england squad had more technical creative passers like Jack wilshere who i think will be missed.

    I just wonder will Capello be brave and play these England debutants a full 45 or will he give them a 20 to 15 min cameo.

  • Comment number 87.

    I didn't read the mood after the World Cup as "drop the old guard", I read it as "stop picking players on reputation". The (g)olden generation failed often enough for people to start finally questioning how good they were. When the players flopped people realised that John Terry et al could be replaced and we wouldn't be much worse off, as the 4-1 drubbing to Germany proved. Weeding out perpetual failures for new (not necessarily young) players should be the priority, which is why I am baffled as to Shaun Wright-Phillips' continued selection.

  • Comment number 88.

    Phil - for once I can agree with you on something, terry has seen better days, has been visibly deteriorating for years, is injury prone. From all the evidence he is not going to improve and england need to think of someone else as first choice. However Davies should never have been in the squad in the first place, it was a joke and perhaps he has seen this now.

    I've been saying for years that we should build for the next world cup (we didn't after 2006 and where did it get us?), choosing players who are in their 30s is not going to help us in 2014. Comment 78 said it quite well that, with the press and short sighted fans, unless a manager can show instant success he is a failure - this is not going to help england (I will add that 78s advice has actually been how england managers have worked for the last ten years!!).

    A few comments made me laugh. Comment 9 said that terry and ferdinand defensive partnership was peerless! what exactly do you mean by peerless? I can think of plenty of partnerships that matched those two and actually won things. We achieved nothing with that partnership so to call them peerless is overstating it a bit.

    I will say my bit again - if england don't start building for the future and keep on picking 'star' players who can't play together we are not going to win anything ever - we will carry on beating the kazakstans of the world but not any of the teams that matter at the big tournaments. We need to pick 11 players who can play in the same team together and who will be around in 2014, this gives the team 3 years to work each other out, if a player is too old or can not fit into the team in his position then he doesn't play. Spain (the perennial underachievers) did this five or six years ago and look what happened to them.

    Number 72 said it quite well, we need to choose players who can fit into a team together, not shoehorn players in just because they get quite a lot of column inches. There is precedent for this - some of the best players of previous generations were not always in the first team, john barnes, glen hoddle, matt le tissier - you could look back and say that these players would go straight into any team, but they didn't fit in with the style so they didn't start.

    But I've been saying this for 5 or 6 years now and nothing changes so who am I kidding!!

  • Comment number 89.

    Comment 86 demonic mike - the 1966 team played 4-3-3 - they were called the wingless wonders, a team should play the system to its strengths (alf ramsey saw that there was more quality (and I suppose he thought it would confuse the opposition) in the middle and played the team that way) - if the players fit into a 4-4-2 system play it - but do not shoehorn players into any system (3-5-2/4-5-1 whatever system) they can't play in. I would like to add that true world class players can excel in more than one position, the players that we've got at the moment can't (gerrard included) so pick a team that can play together and play to our strengths.

  • Comment number 90.

    @ BrianTopp comment 88

    Euro 2004 - Rio banned due to missing drugs test
    World Cup 2006 - England kept clean sheets in 4 of their 5 games (only conceeding to Sweden in the group stages)
    Euro 2008 - England didn't qualify
    World cup 2010 - Ferdinand was injured

    we achieved nothing with that partnership because they haven't played together in the major tournaments, not because of their ability! The one tournament they did play together the defence was sound, it was the attackers that let us down!

  • Comment number 91.

    After all these years, SWP has always had pace, and has not once learnt how to use it. Should be playing in the Championship and has never done anything in an England shirt (when it counts).

  • Comment number 92.

    Pablo - Ahhhh, I see - they would have been peerless if they had played together more.

    The world cup 2006 as you say is the only time they played together, which in my opinion is not enough to call them peerless. But if you want to have a look at john terry and this peerless partnership in its prime I suggest you watch the ecuador game again, it's right we didn't concede, but john terry was embarrassed, he fouled, dived and rode his luck all game, his lack of pace was shown for all the world to see - if you don't believe me watch the game again.

  • Comment number 93.

    Am I the only one who believes John Terry really isnt that good? England need to move on. As far as i can see,Terry just dives in to tackles headfirst because of poor reading of the game combined with a lack of pace. He is, essentially, good at covering his own numerous mistakes. At international level, this just won't cut it. A move to Serie A, for example, would be much more beneficial for him. But of course, this wont happen because he's "Mr Chelsea".Anyone disagree? I would like to see Rio and Jagielka form a solid defensive partnership in time for the Euros. And why is SWP in there? The man can't control a football to save his life!

  • Comment number 94.

    How about something radical like restructuring the leagues..? Reduce the Premier League from 20 to 18 clubs. Introduce a Premier League 2nd division comprising 20 clubs. Regionalise the remaining teams in League 1, League 2 and the Conference tier and allow Premier league1 clubs to play reserve teams in Leagues 1 and 2 so that our prospects aged 17-23 can get some meaningful league experience that will help them develop and compete to secure places in the Premier1 elite teams.

    In this way, we might help secure some players for the national teams, that can compete at EUROs and WC finals, perhaps..?

  • Comment number 95.

    Don't understand why Bothroyd is much more of a suspect choice then Carrol. Sure he's playing in the Championship right now, but so was Carrol last season and Bothroyd seems to be doing an even more succeful job there now. No one says it's crazy when Brazil call up players from there leagues or Holland and France from theres and considering the monetry advantages that the Championship has over those leagues and therefore the level of players from around the world it can attract I don't think it unreasonable to suppose that a player plying his trade there is incapable of being an international.

    Best example is Johnson last season, one minute a Championship player, the next an international, all he had to do was transfer to the prem first.

  • Comment number 96.

    Andy Carroll will go places if he can get his act together off the field because on the field he is as good any other center forward England has produced in a while.
    The other piece of advice I have for him is to lose the ponytail.

  • Comment number 97.

    Always enjoy your articles Phil. Keep up the good work.

    Firstly, I have always been a Fabio Capello fan. When he was appointed he immediately instilled that respect and discipline back into our national setup which seemed to be very much lacking in the Steve McLaren era. Then he picked players that were playing well for their respective clubs and not becuase they were perceived to be a 'big name.' For our world cup qualification this worked perfectly and I truly was a believer that we would do extremely well in South Africa. However at the finals we were playing Heskey, Wright-Phillips and King...were these guys on the absolute top of their game or in some cases fit enought to be playing. Obviously it's easy to say no now but why not have given a young guy with plenty of speed and technical ability such as Adam Johnson a go, surely he could have made an impression at that world cup and he was playing well before it. I'm in total agreement that the 'old guard' as it were have had enough chances at major tournaments and wasted them. I'm not saying none of them should ever play again but lets let people like Jamie Carragher retire and give someone like Gary Cahill a proper go. I also don't buy into the fact that Gerrard and Lampard can't play well together or that England don't have good enough players to win a world cup beacuse I'm confident we do.
    But, Mr Capello does need to give more of our young players a chance, they can't do any worse than the guys who have been playing. Johnson, Cahill, Wilshere, Gibbs are really positive steps. How are Davies, Bothroyd, Zamora positive steps? Yes, they are playing well at the moment but we should be looking at the next big tournament, are they the future? I'm sure Spain wouldn't be concerned.

  • Comment number 98.

    So, from which clubs will the future England team come?

    Not from Man.City because they are buying readymade players on the open market. No Moss Side kids need apply.

    Probably not Chelsea as they have operated like City, looking for readymades and the turnover of managers means the current manager will not risk his job giving the Chelsea youth (some of which are very good) much of a go in the short term.

    Arsenal give kids a chance but they attract youngsters from many foreign parts and when Wenger says that he doesn't look at a player's passport when taking them on, I feel that players like Wilshire and Gibbs are almost the odd ones out. No English conveyor belt here.

    Manchester United are a bit of a mixed bag and certainly the generation which produced Scholes, Giggs (Welsh, but English schools), Beckham, the Nevilles and Butt has served United well. However, that generation is almost gone and like Arsenal most of the next young generation is foreign.

    Young players from United, Arsenal and Chelsea have gone out on loan to get first team football experience and consequently raise their profile eg. Welbeck, Cleverly, Wilshire and Mancienne. Clearly Wilshire who has gone back to Arsenal is looking the goods. It remains to be seen whether other young players go back to their parent club and crack the first team or end up staying and signing for their loan club, in order to have a serious career.

    Another factor is the nationality of the manager. It appears to me that, generally speaking, English managers are more likely to give English players a go eg. Rednapp and Bruce.

    Of course when these young players reach the England ranks they will be bought up by the big guns.

    So perhaps in the future the England team will eventually resemble Man.City ,after all(see paragraph two).

  • Comment number 99.

    Extraordinary that you are writing off a 29 year old John Terry on the basis that he's out for the next couple of months; how many games has a 32 year old Rio Ferdinand played in the last three seasons for Manchester United? Absolutely baffled by that Phil. Jagielka is a good player but John Terry has demonstrated over the past six or seven years that he is one of the best defenders in the world. At 29, he is far from finished.

    Please can you explain Gareth Barry's inclusion? I know you're not his biggest fan but nor do you query Capello's decision to continually employ him as England's holding midfielder. By his own admission he is not a holding midfielder; where are Scott Parker and Lee Cattermole?

  • Comment number 100.

    If there is one personal carp with Capello's squad, it is the inexplicable (well inexplicable to me anyway) treatment of Bolton Wanderers striker Kevin Davies. What was it that the 33-year-old did in his brief cameo as substitute against Montenegro and on England duty that convinced Capello he was unworthy of reselection?
    You say it's inexplicable, then explain the reason to his omission yourself? Come on Phil. Note the words 33-year-old. He doesn't have a future with England nor is he going to play at the Euros so it makes a lot of sense to pick younger players, although I'm hardly convinced that Bothroyd who has never delivered at a higher level that the Championship is the answer. You might feel some sympathy for Davies who waited a long time for those 20 minutes but surely you can't argue that Capello is just being pragmatic, it's a no-brainer really. It's not like England desperately need him as a stopgap for the qualifiers either. Very explicable.


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