Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The England World Cup Squad - Our Predictions

By Jonathan Wilkinson & Shane Thomas

With England manager Fabio Capello having named a provisional list of 30 players to go to the World Cup this summer, myself and Jonathan will attempt to predict which 23 men the Italian will select to try and win England's first World Cup for 44 years. While allowances have to be made for potential injuries, if the squad was picked today here's what I think it would be.

Shane's Choices:

Goalkeepers - Robert Green, David James, Joe Hart

Defenders - Glen Johnson, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Ledley King, Matthew Upson, Leighton Baines

Midfielders - Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, James Milner, Theo Walcott, Tom Huddlestone, Michael Carrick, Aaron Lennon, Adam Johnson

Forwards - Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe

As much as England's final two friendlies will be important in determining the final choices, it's the training sessions that will be more important. It was by impressing in training that convinced Capello to give Theo Walcott a surprising starting opportunity at the start of the qualifying campaign. Walcott repaid this faith with a hat-trick against Croatia, and while he has struggled to replicate that form, the team haven't looked back since. And unless the fringe members of the squad produce their best in these pre-World Cup sessions than the men in possession of squad places will not be displaced. That's why (at the time of writing) I see Matthew Upson going instead of Michael Dawson, Michael Carrick going instead of Scott Parker, Aaron Lennon going instead of Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe rather than Darren Bent.

Jonathan's Choices:

GK - Robert Green, David James, Joe Hart

Defenders - Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, John Terry, Ledley King, Michael Dawson, Jamie Carragher, Leighton Baines

Midfielders - Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Gareth Barry, Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, Adam Johnson, Michael Carrick

Forwards - Peter Crouch, Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey

Although I really don't agree with him taking Heskey, I think it is pretty clear that he likes him despite the fact he hasn't really done much this year for Aston Villa. Bent will be the unlucky one to miss out despite outscoring Heskey.
After calling up Carragher out of the blue, I find it hard to believe he won't make it the final cut, he can pretty much cover any defensive position. I also cannot believe he would take Upson, a player who is in a team that conceded 66 goals in the season when he can take a pair of centre backs who play for the same team and have only let in 41.
That leaves the midfield, most of whom pick themselves, the hardest call will be whether or not to take Adam Johnson but again, as with Carragher, I don't believe he would have been called up at this point if he wasn't going to go.

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