It's Up For Grabs Now
Monday, May 08, 2006
Fair to say we were wrong, then.
Well, 18 out of 23 wrong. Ledley King, who had a similar injury to Rooney's but appears to have spent two weeks longer on crutches, is out and Phil Neville's form dipped, but otherwise it's the obvious three of Wright-Phillips, Defoe and Bent, at least two of whom Eriksson is on the record as stating he would like to see at the World Cup, we got wrong as the man who a lot of people criticised for having no invention in his teams seems to have discovered a live and let die streak while picking a squad for a tournament that most agree is England's best chance of silverware in years, the time when one might expect a little prudence.
Of the five we missed you can at least see the logic of the defensively minded two, Owen Hargreaves - who must have something going for him given he's a regular for Bayern Munich and by all accounts has been playing very well of late, but appears to be the most hated man in Britain - being able to fill in at the back, although Jermaine Jenas for King is a brave one unless Sven has absolute faith in his central defensive options. Then we get to the two uncapped players and the one whose international experience comes to 29 minutes fifteen months ago. Even if he hadn't had every single paper behind his claims on Sunday Nigel Reo-Coker seemed closer to international recognition than Aaron Lennon, surely Shaun Wright-Phillips, for all his lack of consistent play, is a more worrying option for opposing full backs than the onepaced Downing and... well, we can see the value in having opposing teams scared by the fact that just because Rooney and/or Owen is/are out doesn't mean England can't put forward a scarily quick teenager, but it's odd to think that Arsene Wenger might well have convinced Eriksson to put him in the squad when he can't convince himself to put him in Arsenal's first team. He's only ever played three times for their reserves, albeit scoring twice and going off injured after 17 minutes in the third. The idea has germinated with many that Sven might change to 4-5-1, but one international innovation at a time, and anyway Crouch surely cannot play up front on his own, as Benitez eventually realised.
At least there's a perceived dearth in good international defenders these days, eh?
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