Sunday, June 13, 2010

The England Eleven

OK so it's less than 2 hours until kickoff in England's first game which is against the USA. What team would I like to see England pick and what team do I think they will pick?

Let's start with the goalkeeper.

Reports a few days ago suggested that James had a minor knee problem and may miss the first game. Then there have been reports in recent hours that England players want James to play because of his experience and because he is so vocal. The goalkeeper debate is one that almost everyone seems to want to have their say - because the choice is not clear-cut.

James is 39, has had a nickname of  'Calamity James' due to some shockers he has had throughout his career. However he is very athletic and experienced and has the inside running. Green and Hart are both quality stoppers but lack the experience that James offers. I would pick Hart. From the games I have watched Hart is simply the best keeper of the three, he has the confidence and pulls off amazing saves quite regularly. I am not worried by his inexperience, he would play with no fear and he would I am sure play very well throughout the tournament. I believe James will get the nod though.

In defence I would pick Johnson, King, Terry and Cole. Cole is obvious as first choice left-back as is Terry for centre-back. Debate centres over Terry's partner. Most (and I am in this camp) think it has to be King. Johnson is a true right-back who attacks down the flank, his weakness is in his defending. I think almost everyone would pick him but Carragher remains an option. Perhaps against the best opposition choosing Carragher is not the silliest idea as he should provide greater stability at the back. I think Capello would agree with my choice of Johnson, King, Terry, Cole.

In midfield I would pick Lennon on the right as he offers so much quality. I would have Lampard and Barry in the middle as Barry is very good in the holding position. (Lampard picks himself). Barry may not quite be ready for the first game however. If Barry is not fit I would have Milner in the middle and Joe Cole on the left. If Barry is fit I would have Milner on the left. Up front I would have Rooney and Gerrard (in the slightly deeper attacking position). I think Milner has to be in the team because he offers so much but I think Capello will leave him on the bench. I think Gerrard should play the attacking role or the central midfield role but I do not think he should play on the left as he is wasted there and Milner/Cole are better options than him in that position  I would not mind Gerrard and Lampard in the middle with Rooney playing in a front two alongside any of Crouch, Defoe or Heskey, especially if Barry is not fit.

My ideal team, with all fit, is

Johnson, King, Terry, Cole
Lennon, Lampard, Barry, Milner
          Gerrard Rooney

I think Capello's is either the same (although swapping Milner for Cole) or having Gerrard on the left with Heskey to partner Rooney.

Whatever happens it's gonna be interesting.

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