Remember England’s tumour-inducing performance at this summer’s World Cup? No? Don’t worry, slipping into a state of catatonic denial is a perfectly understandable human reaction after being exposed to such barbaric torture and, given his close proximity at the time, it’s only natural that manager Fabio Capello suffered the same psychosomatic response.
The Italian coach has, this morning, announced the squad of players that he intends to cherry-pick from for England’s upcoming brace of Euro 2012 qualifiers and – just six weeks after hinting at plans to revolutionise the setup with a vibrant, youth-orientated focus – his chosen pool is depressingly similar to that which underwhelmed so reprehensibly in South Africa.
With Chelsea’s headlining duo Frank Lampard and John Terry both withdrawn from proceedings, Capello was presented with a timely opportunity to act upon his post-World Cup vow – instead, we welcome the utterly pointless Michael Carrick and Joleon Lescott back into the fold. What a waste.
Fulham pair Bobby Zamora and ‘keeper David Stockdale (who was widely tipped to receive his first call-up to the national side) also miss out due to unfortunate injuries – their replacements? Peter Crouch and former England exile Scott Carson respectively. Do you see a theme developing?
Capello’s stubborn reliance on his usual suspects is perhaps compounded by his misguided insistence that Matthew Upson is still a first-choice, international standard centre-half – so much so that the continual selection of the West Ham clogger seems to have become a measuring stick with which to illustrate England’s deflating atavism in this morning’s media.
It is an inescapable fact that Capello has selected 13 members of his misfiring 23-man World Cup squad (that’s without Lampard and Terry, who were both certain to be included if fit) for the first competitive matches of what is supposedly a new dawn in English national football – and it’s fairly unlikely that either of the ‘new faces’ (Kieran Gibbs and Adam Johnson) will hold any significant sway in Capello’s plans.
The full England squad for the upcoming Euro 2012 Qualifying games with Bulgaria and Switzerland:
- Joe Hart, Ben Foster, Scott Carson.
- Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Kieran Gibbs, Phil Jagielka, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, Matthew Upson.
- Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Steven Gerrard, Adam Johnson, James Milner, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Young.
- Darren Bent, Carlton Cole, Peter Crouch, Jermaine Defoe, Wayne Rooney.