Under Sam Allardyce Bolton were a team full of players from a whole host of international destinations. Gary Megson has changed all that around though and has a core English element to his team. Granted Bolton haven’t been great to watch or indeed performance wise this season but three of their players have really stood out to me — Kevin Davies, Matt Taylor and Gary Cahill.
All three are English and I think it is about time Fabio Capello included at least one in his England side. He has included Peter Crouch and Emile Heskey in his latest squad but no Davies. Davies did make his ‘long squad’ list before it was trimmed down but in my eyes his form of late, and indeed the season, has been better than both Crouch and Heskey.
As a target man there are few better equipped for the job than Davies and he works tirelessly around the pitch. His touch is also surprisingly good for a big man and he can pluck a ball out of the air and hold it as well as any other striker in the league. He has come under criticism in the past for his lack of goals but this season the big Bolton striker is the top English scorer in the Premier League (if you only consider league goals at least, Bolton didn’t get very far in either cup competition this season). Personally, I’m not sure playing with a big target man works as well internationally as it does in the Premier League, but if you’re going to play that way you might as well give Davies at least a go.
Matt Taylor has notched up an impressive eight goals from midfield this season — not an easy feat especially when you’re playing for a fairly average Bolton side. He wasn’t considered at all for the current England squad (well they might have had a look but he wasn’t in the long squad), but for me I just can’t understand this. Stewart Downing made the team and for me Taylor is so much better than the Boro man it is just ridiculous he didn’t get a look in. If Joe Cole was fit he probably wouldn’t get in the team anyway but I would never pick Downing over Taylor.
The biggest shock from my point of view is the omission of Gary Cahill. Cahill almost single-handedly makes Bolton’s defence look solid and hard to break down — a hard task when partnering Andy O’brien in central defence. At just 23-years-old he will surely get his chance but I’m surprised it didn’t happen this time around. His positioning and aerial ability are outstanding; I watched Bolton face Stoke at the Britannia Stadium and he beat the massive Mamady Sidibe to every ball in the air — definitely not an easy task to say the least.
Cahill was so highly rated at Aston Villa that Villa fans cheered his name when he lined up against them for Bolton at Villa Park and it is surely a case of when, not if, Cahill is called into the England side. Capello has named Ledley King and Matthew Upson over Cahill in his latest squad. Granted, King is probably better than him but his persistent knee problems mean it is unlikely he will be able to compete in a tournament. Indeed at the time of writing this piece the news broke that King has had to withdraw from the squad to face Slovakia and Ukraine. I rate Matthew Upson but I don’t think he is the same standard as Cahill and I’m a little surprised the West Ham man was named above the Bolton centre-half.