Time to get excited England…
By Guest Writer Adam Davenport.
As the World Cup approaches us and the excitement grows I have decided to look at who should be on the plane and who gets an extended but unwanted holiday. I’m taking an original approach to the rundown and starting with what I think our first eleven should be. Opinions on this welcome!
Goalkeeper – David James.
There is not a lot between the three keepers and somehow over the last few seasons this has become one of England’s strongest positions. With the artist formerly known as ‘Calamity’ seemingly the public choice this is a decision ‘Fablaa’ will struggle to get wrong. Joe Hart is undoubtedly the keeper of the future as long as he can oust Shay Given at City, but the tournament is a little too early for England’s finest penalty taking goalkeeper. Rob Green is Mr Consistent and has never let England down. He is the only regular keeper of the last 5 years who can claim that mantle so would be an adequate first choice for the tournament. He also has an unrivalled penalty record which could come in very handy later in the tournament. For me though it is Jaimo who gets the gloves due to his recent form and experience.
Defence – Glen Johnson, Rio, JT and Ashley Cole pick themselves.
Any team in the tournament would take this unit as a back four, even the mighty Brazil. This has to give us half a chance going into South Africa. Great attacking flair down both flanks, two great leaders in the centre, we just live and hope they stay fit and the excellent Ledley King is not called upon during what could the best month in every England fans living football memory. What a back four with that line up and the Italian organisation we should be rock solid going in to South Africa. Fingers crossed.
Midfield Three – Lamps, Barry and Stevie G.
On paper this has to work, we all know we have tried this before and it didn’t work but this is 2010 and Capello is in charge. The emergence of Barry has made this a possibility in my eyes; if he does not make it Fabio will be worried. But I have faith! All the holding midfielder for England has to do is make a few tackles and pass the ball within a 20 yard radius of his right or left, and give it to one of the two best central midfielders on the planet. Simples! I would be confident that if Barry didn’t make it then Carrick, Huddlestone, Scotty P or King Ledley could prosper in this role. In the unfortunate case of an unfit Gareth Barry then I would opt for the power, composure and form Big Tom Hudd.
Front Three – A boy called Wayne, Aaron Lennon, and Theo Walcott.
The reason the three lions can now played the Jose Mourinho patented 4-3-3 formation is due to the emergence and then the re-emergence of Rooney. His best displays this season are all due to his new found ability to play the lone front man role. England have to take advantage of this! The soon to be ‘Sir’ Wayne could head a central triangle with Super Frank and Stevie G that will strike fear into the rest of the world, with the exception of Spain.
One thing defences hate to play against is pace and in Theo and Aser England certainly have enough of that. On the break England could be devastating, All three of them can play left or right, drop deep or run in behind so should work and if they don’t, throw on Joey Cole and James Milner who have a lot more craft! In fact, all four could justify a starting berth on the wings for England. The key to England being successful this summer is to play fast and at a high tempo so the pace on the counter could be our most potent weapon.
So to the reserves and who makes the final cut?
Crouch is a cert; his goal record for England is suspiciously good. Bring him on for one of the wide men; push Gerrard out to the left. Get Crouchie to nod one in. England wins.
Those I would give three yeses’ to include the aforementioned James Milner and Joe Cole as wide man. Both those two have an ability to move in to the centre too which we like.
Together with that ‘medical marvel’ Ledley King as third choice centre back, Jaime Carragher as right back cover and secondary role as man for all positions, Leighton Baines and Matthew Upson as the defensive understudies. Upson is the likeliest player not to make a tournament appearance for me.
So to join Frankie Lamps, Steve Gerrard, and A fit Gareth Barry as the central midfield reserves should be Tom Huddlestone and Micheal Carrick. The versatility of James Milner means he will replace either Lamps or Stevie if they are ruled out.
Defoe is a certainty to join Wayne and Crouchie as a striking option. Heskey is the only striker ever not expected to score goals and will battle it out with this seasons English goal machine Darren Bent. There is only one winner in this duel. That’s right, don’t ask me how but Heskey is sure to go. His experience and hold up play good assets for England.
England’s World Cup Winning 23
James, Green, Hart.
G. Johnson, Carragher, Terry, Ferdinand, King, Upson, Ashley Cole, Baines.
Lampard, Gerrard, Barry, Carrick, Milner, Walcott, Joe Cole, Lennon.
Rooney, Defoe, Crouch, Heskey.
The unluckiest casualty has to be Darren Bent, and the likeliest addition is Scott Parker if Barry is injured. Man City duo Adam Johnson and SWP suffer from inconsistent seasons. Micheal Dawson and Stephen Warnock lack big match experience and will suffer for sure. Great squad England, Bring on the world!
Who would be in your final 23? Please leave your opinions below…
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