England face Holland in a friendly on the 29th of February and I for one would like to see some new faces added to the England team as I feel that their performances have warranted a place in the England squad. Now I don’t envy Fabio Capello when it comes to choosing the Squad as there is a pool of around 35 players that he can choose from, and for a squad that would consist of around 24 players that means a lot of players will miss out on a place.
Hope They Are Never Needed!
Joe Hart is the England no.1 and for good reason. Not only is he the best the country has, but it is almost like he is the only keeper the country has. The last England squad saw Scott Carson along with David Stockdale called up. Now if you went through a list of available England goalkeepers if Joe Hart was injured, touch wood that doesn’t happen anytime soon, the list wouldn’t be extensive. Ben Foster, Scott Carson, Chris Kirkland, Steve Harper, Paul Robinson, David Stockdale and maybe if you were really stuck Mark Bunn, John Ruddy, Ben Amos and Michael Pollitt.
I feel for Steve Harper who is a good ‘keeper but has never had a proper run for Newcastle, but has shown he is a good understudy I suppose. Scott Carson, Ben Foster or Chris Kirkland I would pick from for the 2nd and 3rd choice ‘keepers. Robinson just doesn’t command any really respect any more and with the high hopes for Carson, Foster and Kirkland pretty much deflated it really only leaves Joe Hart as a credible goalkeeper.
At right-back there is a much bigger dilemma for Capello to worry about. Micah Richards has been marvellous for City this season, even captaining the side when Kompany was out. Defensively he has is solid and going forward he is always threatening. He didn’t get a chance during the European qualifiers with Capello favouring Liverpool’s Glen Johnson instead. Johnson is a real threat going forward and although his defensive play has improved I would still choose Richards over Johnson. If both Johnson and Richards get picked for the squad that would be great but that would also mean leaving out Kyle Walker, whose performances definitely deserves recognition, but may well not receive it with another England call-up.
In the last England squad five central defenders were picked – John Terry, Joleon Lescott, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones and Phil Jagielka. Jagielka is currently out injured and is due back on the 25th of February four days before the Holland friendly, so I wouldn’t imagine he is going to be included in the squad while Phil Jones and Terry are also out at the moment but scheduled to be back on the 11th of February. With Capello coming out stating he was against the decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy I image he will be picking him for the Holland friendly along with Cahill.
If Capello does pick Terry and Cahill that would leave three places, Lescott would surely be picked leaving two other openings. They should go to the defensive duo at Tottenham, Dawson and King. King may not be able to play ever game there is, but in a tournament he should be able to make it through without much trouble. He and Dawson have a good understanding and are Harry’s first choice pairing, so it would make sense if they got into the England squad that they should play together. There is not a selection problem at left-back with Cole and Baines being the best of the bunch. In midfield though there is more for Capello to think about.
Stick or Twist
The last England squad saw Capello pick Frank Lampard, Jack Rodwell, Gareth Barry, Scott Parker and James Milner. Lampard and Rodwell at present are out with injury but are both due back around the same time as Terry and Jones. With both players coming back from injuries there is a chance that they won’t get picked and so there are spaces free, and I would like one of those to be Leon Britton and the other to be Danny Guthrie, although I am sure Steven Gerrard will be picked for one of those instead. Guthrie for me is similar to Milner in that he is a work horse and will drive the ball forward. He is always wanting the ball and can cross well, dribble and pass well.
Leon Britton finished the year with a 93.3 pass accuracy – .3% better than Xavi, if that doesn’t let you know what you are going to get from him I don’t know what will. He may not be the youngest player at the 30, but he would still bring in an exuberance to the England team, something I don’t feel Lampard or even Gerrard do anymore. If I had to choose out of Britton and Guthrie then I suppose I would go for Britton as Guthrie at 24 still has the years ahead of him, whereas Britton at 30 doesn’t. Scott Parker or Gareth Barry can hold the midfield well, but I would prefer Parker as he brings in some grit and determination and I would have him as captain as he has those natural leadership qualities you want for an England captain.
Choices Choices Choices
Capello is spoilt for choice at the moment when it comes to wingers. He has strikers that play as wingers, with the likes of Walcott and Sturridge, alongside more naturally gifted wingers such as Downing or Johnson. The last England squad saw Adam Johnson, Stewart Downing, Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge picked. Sturridge has come on leaps and bounds since then becoming a regular starter for Chelsea and for I would start Sturridge against Holland. I like Adam Johnson a lot, but he is not getting a regular start like Sturridge is at Chelsea, which is a huge shame because when he has played for England he has always impressed me. Stewart Downing has been playing well on the left hand side for Liverpool but I would like to see Oxlade-Chamberlain given the chance to show what he can do at the International level. I feel for Joe Cole who has been in great form for Lille because with so many good younger players coming through he doesn’t stand a chance of a call up. For players like Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair, who have been in great form for Swansea, it is also a shame that there is a plethora of player in that position, as they deserve recognition for their displays too.
Not So Spoilt For Choice
Capello does not have the same problem for strikers, if anything it is the opposite. His last squad had Darren Bent, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Bobby Zamora. Rooney will be available to be picked for the Holland friendly, but with him being suspended for the first two games of the European Championships it would make sense to not pick him for this friendly and try out some different options. Carroll has not impressed at Liverpool and with Capello not picking him last time I find it highly doubtful that he will be picked this time round either. That leaves Danny Welbeck, Jermaine Defoe and Bobby Zamora, although I would like to see either Grant Holt or Danny Graham given a call up, if Zamora can then why not Graham or Holt I doubt that either will get a call up.
Now I have mentioned a few players that I feel should get a call up and have said the reasons why I don’t think they will get one, but if it were down to me to pick the next England squad who would I pick well…
My squad for the Holland friendly
Hart Carson Amos; Cole Baines, Lescott, Cahill, Dawson, Richards, Walker, Johnson; Parker, Milner, Britton, Guthrie, Barry, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sturridge, Walcott, Young, Johnson, Downing; Bent, Defoe, Welbeck,
My starting XI against Holland
Hart; Baines, Lescott, Cahill, Richards; Parker, Britton; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Young, Sturridge; Bent.
And the second half I would bring on King for Cahill, Dawson for Lescott, Walker for Richards, Guthrie for Britton, Milner for Young, Defoe for Bent, Walcott for Sturridge and Downing for Oxlade-Chamberlain.