A View From Below

Sporting debate and opinion

Talk of World Cup success a little premature for England fans but Capello has given plenty of food for thought

rooneyEngland have qualified for the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa with relative ease under the guidance of strict Italian tactician Fabio Capello, and with it washing away the heart-ache of 2008 when the national side failed to make it to Euro 2008 when mis-managed by the now successul FC Twente boss Steve McClaren.

Lets start with the positives for England’s chances next summer, and there are many to bask in.
Firstly, in Wayne Rooney England have the star player for which the team needs to be built around. His impact at Euro 2004 when he was still a relatively inexperienced player was huge, and England would have no doubt gone further in the competition was it not for his cruel injury. Therefore Rooney needs to be placed as the primary centre forward, playing slightly off the advanced striker. There he can dictate attacks, run at the opposition, weave magic in the final third of the pitch without having to do too much work like he was often asked to do last season at Manchester United.
Rooney has scored 9 goals in qualifying and his presence in the team should not be undermined, even though at 24 he is still a rather young member of the squad. With the Merseysider as the focal point of the attack, every country will fear his threat. A traditional burly forward who will revel in the role, Rooney’s form and fitness are key in South Africa.

Another interesting development under Capello in the past 18 months has been the creation of the Lampard – Barry axis in central midfield. Whilst neither player would be described as a holding midfielder, together they shore up the side defensively, and Barry’s passing game and Lampard’s controlling style of play mean the team will not go without options when in possession of the ball.

BarryLampardES_468x596An encouraging side affect of the Lampard – Barry axis is that it frees up Steven Gerrard to go out and do what he does best, attack the opposition in the final third of the pitch. Likely to be stationed on the left side of attack, the Liverpool man will not have to do as much tracking back and will hopefully feed of Rooney nicely. Then on the right England have a plethora of options to choose from, personally in order of Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, David Beckham and Shaun Wright-Phillips, who all have staked a case for inclusion in the team.

When you look further down the side to defence however, things do not lookso rosy. In goal a decision needs to be made on whether to stick ith Robert Green despite his recent red-card, or give the sometimes erratic David James the chance to keep nets in 2010. Stability is the key for me in goal, and i feel the defence would play a lot calmer if a constant goalkeeper was selected, with the alternatives of Ben Foster, Joe Hart and Scott Carson looking slightly weak.
The defence is a mixed bag. At full-back England are lucky enough to have two of the best attacking wing backs in the world in Liverpool’s Glen Johnson and Chelsea’s Ashley Cole, even if Johnson has been more than suspect when it comes to defending. In central defence John Terry is a standout marker and traditional England centre half and is arguably as important at the back as Rooney is up front. ferdinandHowever Rio Ferdinand has been error prone in recent game and the cynic in me would  be tempted to give Ledley King a go, although his fitness is under a constant microscope, and West Ham’s Matt Upson and Man City’s Joleon Lescott not quite international class despite Capello’s keeness to give them both game time.

There is also a slight issue to be addressed up front. Emile Heskey has been the preferred striker of choice by Capello, as his physique and ball-holding skills allow the more natural talents of Rooney and Gerrard to drive games, although his weak strike rate really makes is inclusion difficult to grant, especially considering the form of players such as the useful Peter Crouch and the electric Jermain Defoe. However, Heskey probably balances the team better than the lighter weights of Defoe and Crouch.

Bearing injuries, form and fitness in mind i have selected my 23 man squad and my starting XI which i do feel is good enough to rival the best of the world – Spain, Brazil, Italy and so forth.

GK – Rob Green               RB – Glen Johnson            CB – John Terry             LB – Ashley Cole
          David James                    Micah Richards                 Rio Ferdinand                Joleon Lescott
          Ben Foster                                                                         Ledley King
                                                                                                         Matt Upson

RM – Aaron Lennon              CM – Frank Lampard          LM – Steven Gerrard           ST – Wayne Rooney
           Theo Walcott                           Gareth Barry                         Joe Cole                                  Emile Heskey
           David Beckham                       Owen Hargreaves                                                                   Jermain Defoe
                                                                                                                                                                         Peter Crouch

1st XI


                                  Johnson                          Terry                               King                       Cole

                                                                         Lampard                                 Barry

                           Lennon                                              Rooney                               Gerrard



November 4, 2009 - Posted by | Football


  1. Thanks for this…it says it all …and very well.

    Comment by rick | November 5, 2009 | Reply

  2. ledley king, are you joking? and lennon over walcott seems an interesting call seeing as lennon has never played consistently at the highest level.

    Comment by ben | November 17, 2009 | Reply

    • if fit Ledley King is hands down better than Rio Ferdinand, Upson, Lescott or any other centre back England have peraps Terry. Also Lennon has pace and has had a decent run in the side whilst Walcott is good and did score a class hat trick against Croatia in qualifying, he is injury prone and has been out for long periods this season. In an ideal world tho i would start him ahead of Lennon.

      Comment by jdickenson100 | November 17, 2009 | Reply

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