Who Capello should take to the World Cup: my view

May 29, 2010

Well, we’re less than two weeks away from the start of the World Cup, and just 48 hours away from Fabio Capello announcing his official squad. The easy thing to do would have been for me to wait for the official squad to be confirmed, and then criticise him for who he has left out. However, while there’s nothing much happening at Notts or Celtic, I’ve decided to step into Capello’s shoes and name my own squad, so here goes.


Anybody who proposes going to the World Cup with less than three ‘keepers is a sandwich short of a picnic, so this one is easy:

Rob Green, David James and Joe Hart


OK, now we get more difficult. The actual back four picks itself when everybody is fit, so Glen Johnson, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole are already on the plane. However, it is important to ensure there is plenty of defensive cover. Ledley King is a must as far as I’m concerned, and despite his dodgy knees I rate him as one of the two best central defenders in the country (alongside Jonathan Woodgate). There’s certainly a similarity to Paul McGrath there, so despite his lack of training, his quality puts him in the 23. I also think the experience and versatility of Jamie Carragher should also see him get on the plane, and Leighton Baines has had a good season for Everton. So who doesn’t go?

I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Dawson personally, although he has had a great season for Spurs. Nevertheless, he’d be the first to be cut from my squad. I’d also leave Matthew Upson out, not through any fault of his own, but simply because there is no room for a fifth central defender. Warnock is pretty much tied for me with Baines, but the Everton man edges it for experience, so Warnock is another to miss out.


Again, the midfield just about picks itself, although the fitness of Gareth Barry is paramount. Obviously, by picking my squad 48 hours earlier than the actual squad I have no idea if he will certainly make it. However, for the sake of this exercise I’m going to assume he is fit. So Barry, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard pick themselves. However, with Barry struggling, the choice of another holding midfielder is key, and that player for me is Scott Parker. A great deal of experience under his belt, Parker would be perfect to come in if Barry breaks down. Because Parker is going, for me that means Huddlestone is not. Capeelo has said all along that players will be picked on form rather than reputation, and for that reason I also feel Michael Carrick simply must be left out the squad. I don’t think I can remember a poorer season for him over his entire career, and I’d certainly feel more comfortable with Barry or Parker in there. So now we have just one midfield place left to go, so who is the unfortunate player?

Quite simply, James Milner has to go to the World Cup. Being able to play across the entire midfield certainly helps, but his form has been exceptional. Adam Johnson is the same, and has been a fabulous signing for Manchester City. An England squad without him seems incomplete in my humble opinion. Aaron Lennon has been terrorising defenders all season long, and his crossing has greatly improved so he goes. And despite a relatively poor year, Walcott offers versatility, so he is on the plane. Unfortunately, that means no place for SWP, but there are only so many wingers one squad can have!


And on to forwards. As Brian Clough once said, “a forward’s job is to put the ball in the net. If he’s not doing that, he’s not doing his job”. Perhaps that is a little unfair of Emile Heskey, but quite simply I cannot understand why Heskey should go. His club form has been terrible, and my good friend Ross Mantle is more of a goal threat than the big man. For that reason alone, Heskey is the unlucky seventh man to be left out. So my whole 23 man squad is below:

  1. Robert Green
  2. Joe Hart
  3. David James
  4. Leighton baines
  5. Jamie Carragher
  6. Ashley Cole
  7. Rio Ferdinand
  8. Glen Johnson
  9. Ledley King
  10. John Terry
  11. Gareth Barry
  12. Joe Cole
  13. Steven Gerrard
  14. Adam Johnson
  15. Frank Lampard
  16. Aaron Lennon
  17. James Milner
  18. Scott Parker
  19. Theo Walcott
  20. Darren Bent
  21. Peter Crouch
  22. Wayne Rooney
  23. Jermaine Defoe

As for my side for the opening match? Well, that’s another post altogether. As always, I’d appreciate your comments.


2 Responses to “Who Capello should take to the World Cup: my view”

  1. Stu Says:

    After today’s performance, the squad announcement could be quite the shocker. Have to wonder if Fabio is going to make an example of someone to show them he’ll pull the trigger on their place in the squad if he needs to.

    It’s obvious to all how important Gareth Barry is to the team after Monday and today’s games. If he’s ruled out, i fear for our chances.

    Today was a whole new level of bad. Were it not for Japan’s generosity who knows how today may have finished.

  2. Mike McKenna Says:

    Alright Stu

    I still don’t foresee too many surprises myself. I hope Capello picks my squad, but I can see him picking an extra defender and leaving A Johnson out. Damn shame if that happens.

    But you’re right about Barry, he is absolutely key to England’s chances. Fingers crossed, huh?

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