England

My England 2010 Squad…

With the England squad being named tomorrow morning by Fabio Capello, I figured I would give it a go and throw out my starting eleven and the formation I would use if I was the England manager.

Keep in mind that after posting this, Fabio will probably read it and decide to make me look ridiculous and still include players like Emile Heskey and Michael Carrick. However, I urge you to indeed read on…

Goalkeepers:  James, Green, Hart Not much to decide here as David James has been the consensus starter for Fabio Capello since he became the England boss. Robert Green will deputise for the World Cup and young Joe Hart will be brought along to gain valuable experience during the tournament.

StrikersRooney, Crouch, Defoe, Bent.

It’s pretty clear I have a huge hate-on for Emile Heskey and rightly so; he’s flat for his club and his outrageous missed header just feet from the net against Japan underlined the fact he’s lost his scoring touch. Fans who are in support of Heskey going to the World Cup argue he takes pressure off of Rooney; my argument is that he is absolutely useless.

Crouch stays in due to his fantastic goal scoring record and Defoe had another excellent seasonfor his club, we can only hope that translates into some goals on the World stage.

Out: Heskey

Midfielders – Gerrard, Barry, Lampard, Lennon, Walcott, Milner, Johnson, J. Cole

I really hope that Fabio decides to employ a 4-5-1 formation, as this would place Gerrard just behind Rooney up front, allowing Lampard and Barry to be deployed together in the middle. Line up Walcott/Lennon on one side with Johnson/J. Cole on the other wing and have a midfield that can rival the defensive awareness and offensive creativity of most sides in South Africa.

Losing out will be disappointments Michael Carrick and Shaun Wright-Phillips, two players who had unconvincing campaigns for their clubs and have failed to impress themselves upon the manager.

Out: Carrick, Huddlestone, Parker, Wright-Phillips

Defenders –  A. Cole, Ferdinand, Terry, Johnson, Baines, King, Upson, Carragher –

This is the toughest to choose because after England stalwarts Ferdinand, Cole and Terry there are a lot of questions in the defence. Can Glen Johnson play a solid defensive game to compliment his attacking nature? Can Upson, Dawson, Baines and Warnock transfer their club play to a national side? Does Carragher still have what it takes to play on the big stage after a dreadful season for Liverpool?

My money is on the backfour to look like this on game day: Cole, Ferdinand, Terry and Johnson, so then Johnson is in. There isn’t much room in center-back so we take King and Upson, with Carragher being able to fill in along the back. That leaves one spot open and that was a spot that was for the taking between Dawson, Upson and Baines. Baines played well for his club all season and has shown quite a scorers touch, so he’s in.

Out: Upson, Dawson, Parker

Missing out on the plane will be: Heskey, Carrick, Huddlestone, Parker, Wright-Phillips, Dawson and Warnock.

To add fuel to the fire, here’s what my starting 11 would look like against the USA in England first game on June 12th:

James

Johnson – Ferdinand – Terry – Cole

Johnson – Barry – Lampard – Lennon

Gerrard

Rooney


Let me know what you think and throw your thoughts, comments and

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Three Lions Fail To Roar In Pre-WC Warm-up…

With England in scintillating form leading up to the World Cup and dominating their group, a group that included rivals Croatia, then surely playing Mexico and Japan as their World Cup Warm up matches would be purely a chance for the likes of Joe Hart, Leighton Baines and a few others to try to bully their way into the squad.

180 minutes of football later and two depressing matches by the Three Lions and Fabio Capello will have his hands full convincing the English public that we won’t be pulling a France and dropping out in the group stage. The homeland of football has always piled the pressure on their national team, a team that has consistently underperformed since they crushed the Germans in the 1966 World Cup.

The new millennium has been a lesson in humility for the proud nation, and after being knocked out in back-to-back tournaments by Portugal and then failing to even make the 2008 European Championship, it is safe to say that the pressure upon this year’s squad traveling to South Africa is immense.

Here’s a breakdown of the last few weeks of action:

England 3 – 1 Mexico – Leading up to the match the England team was feeling bullish, by the end of the match they were humbled. The scoreline was more than generous to England and if not for some fantastic saves by both Robert Green and Joe Hart, the Three Lions would have been leaving Wembley with egg on their face. The only thing that England learned from this encounter is that they are a long way away from the form they need to the finals in South Africa. We must keep in mind that the team was missing first choice keeper David James and the three Chelsea players in the squad; Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole. That being said, Crouch showed why he should be included and Ledley King showed why he’s one of my favourite defenders in the game, returning after a 3 year absence from the National side.

Man Of The Match: Wayne Rooney, he may not have found the back of the net but he played hard and didn’t hurt himself, that in itself is worth MoM.

England 2 – 1 Japan – If we learned anything from the almost-upset by Mexico, well, it sure didn’t show in the game against Japan. The backline looked disorganized, the midfield was sloppy and the striking was beyond atrocious. Japan took the lead early, much like Mexico did, and showed flashes of brilliance with Brazilian born Marcus Tulio Tanaka causing chaos in the England end. The best players for England proved to be Japanese, as they scored two own goals to save England from embarrassment just a fortnight before the World Cup starts. Only positive in this one was the fact Emile Heskey played so badly that Fabio Capello may end his love affair with the Aston Villa striker and HOPEFULLY leave him on the tarmac as the plane takes off for Rustenburg.

Man Of The Match: Emile Heskey played himself out of the England squad with some woeful misses and terrible play, and for that I am thankful, I couldn’t handle watching him lose us the World Cup.

Other Thoughts…

  • Fabio Capello says he has settled on his final squad and if it were my choice; Heskey, Carrick, Warnock, Dawson, Upson, Parker and Wright-Phillips will be dropped from the squad…
  • A partnership of Rooney with Gerrard tucked in behind will work best for England, just wish the 4-5-1 had been deployed months ago…
  • Frank Lampard missed a penalty shot against Japan and lets hope that its the last one for another few years he misses…
  • Man City midfielder Adam Johnson looked great in both warm-up matches and should provide some much needed offensive creativity, something England squads are often criticised for lacking…
  • Speaking of offensive creativity, Joe Cole seemed to play himself into a spot in the final 23 with his strong outing against Japan…

Well, that’s it for now but starting June 5th, I will be previewing the rest of the teams in England’s group as well as breaking down the final England squad when Capello names it on Tuesday.

Henry Whitfield is an avid sports fan who covers everything and anything in the sports world, while focusing on hockey and football. Follow him on twitter @HenryWhitfield.

Top 5 World Cup Songs…

Singing Fan

 

The World Cup is fasting approaching for the Soccer Football world and for the most part Football Associations and fans like are ansy to get it started.

With most World Cup’s the host country will release a theme song for the tournament, however, some countries *cough* England *cough* release song’s for their campaign to win it all. With The FA announcing this year that there will be no official song for the WC, here’s a list of the Top 5 England World Cup Songs.

5. We’re on the BallAnt and Dec (2002) – One of the cheesiest song’s I have ever heard, but the Comedic Duo ‘s song is catchy and was certainly memorable for its witty lyrics. Check it here.

4. VindalooFat Les (1998) – The unofficial cult classic from the ’98 WC is one that you can’t get out of your head. Obviously any song named after a Curry dish must be a classic right? Even better, the music video located here is a sweet parody of the Bitter Sweet Symphony video by The Verve. You should go listen to it. Now.

3. World At Your Feet Embrace (2006) – In a year where England was hurting and worry filled fans heading into the ’06 WC, this song was a beacon of hope that after 40 years we would lift the trophy again. We were wrong, but the song is still awesome and conveniently found here.

2. World In Motion  – New Order (1990) – A song that really captured the nation’s feelings and an instant classic. I can’t help but love it! Check it here to hear it in all its awesomeness.

1. Three LionsLightning Seeds (1998) – When World Cup time comes around, this song is instantly played a dozen or so times a day for me. It’s a song that gives hope to England fans and will get you pumped up for gametime no matter what. You need to hear it, so go here.

Henry Whitfield is an avid sports fan who covers everything and anything in the sports world, while focusing on hockey and football. Follow him on twitter @HenryWhitfield.