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Fabio Capello’s first England squad



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The first name noticeable by his absence is of course David Beckham. I am deeply disappointed by this, but I’ve written my views elsewhere and don’t want to rant on about it any more!

Aaron Lennon, Joe Hart, Theo Walcott and Steven Taylor may be slightly disappointed to find themselves in the under 21 squad as they would have been hoping for a call up to the first team. Certainly Lennon would have expected to be in with a chance, particularly with Beckham being left out.

Joe Hart will have looked at the average form of the other England goalkeepers and wondered who might be chosen ahead of him. Walcott has shown no signs of form, and Steven Taylor is a fine player but finds himself playing in a position where England are blessed with many fine players.

The other exclusions of note are Dean Ashton, Paul Robinson, Robert Green and Matt Derbyshire. I think Ashton can feel rightly disappointed as he has been coming back into fine form following his injury. He is the type of player that England have missed since Teddy Sheringham stopped playing international football.

Paul Robinson has been in poor form for club and country, and indeed, is no longer first choice for his club. I suspect that he didn’t expect to be named. Robert Green has been in excellent form for West Ham and could have expected to be one of three keepers chosen. In particular, he may wonder why he has been overlooked for Chris Kirkland at Wigan.

Matt Derbyshire of Blackburn must be regarded as unlucky to be left out of both the full squad and the under 21s.

Surprise names in the squad include Jonathan Woodgate, Matthew Upson and Curtis Davies. However, Capello has named a 30 man squad including 12 defenders, and this will be reduced to 23 following the games this weekend. I would suggest that at least two of those players will be discarded.

There is some surprise that Michael Owen has been included as he has been in particularly poor form. However, he is England’s best striker and it would have been a very brave move to leave him out.

Aston Villa are rewarded for the fine football they have been playing by having five players included in the squad. Struggling Wigan have two in Kirkland and Emile Heskey.

Overall there are not too many surprises and I suspect that once seven players have been sent home at the weekend, the squad will not look so different from the last one selected by McLaren.

A squad of thirty, for a friendly, and no place for Beckham….Sorry, I must stop ranting.

England squad to play Switzerland:

Goalkeepers: David James (Portsmouth), Scott Carson (Liverpool on loan at Aston Villa), Chris Kirkland (Wigan)

Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Curtis Davies (West Brom on loan at Aston Villa), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicky Shorey (Reading), Wes Brown (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Everton), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Matthew Upson (West Ham United), Jonathan Woodgate (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders: Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham Hotspur), Owen Hargreaves (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), David Bentley (Blackburn Rovers)

Forwards: Emile Heskey (Wigan Athletic), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Michael Owen (Newcastle United), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Peter Crouch (Liverpool)