May 17, 2010

Capello’s World Cup Squad – Is It Strong Enough?

The list of 30 players named by Capello for the squad has created quite a stir among England’s football faithful. Sure, everyone has their own views about who the best players are and who should be up for inclusion or exclusion but won’t a lot of fans be surprised that 10 of the 30 played no part in qualifying for South Africa?

Looking down the list there are two uncapped players who will be on the plane to the training camp in Austria on Monday. Few fans would have been expecting that. That’s not to say the players concerned - Spurs captain Michael Dawson who is a central defender and midfielder Adam Johnson of Manchester City - don’t deserve a shot at World Cup glory but it just seems crazy not to have given them a chance to feature in the England set-up earlier. Isn’t that what the preparations were for?

Another issue that comes to mind when looking at the selected players is fitness. There are at least 8 footballers in the squad who have recently sustained, or are recovering from, injuries. That’s a bit surprising when Capello is on record as saying he would take into account fitness when selecting a team. He doesn’t seem to have stuck to that policy when picking the provisional squad. That could be a gamble and at this stage of the game the stakes are enormous.

I reckon Gareth Barry, who ruptured an ankle ligament while playing against Spurs recently is a big doubt. The Manchester City star will now be in a race against time to regain full fitness before England’s opener against The USA on the 12th of June.

Another player who has had fitness problems is Ledley King, who has been included despite chronic knee trouble. His defensive versatility must have persuaded Capello to take a chance on him being fit enough to make a valuable contribution in South Africa.

There are question marks over some of the other players too but according to the World Cup betting web sites England are still odds-on favourites to qualify from Group C.

Coming up are the friendlies against Mexico and Japan when the England manager will get a final chance to assess who to take to Johannesburg. The squad will be pruned from 30 to 23 before flying out so there is still some way to go before we get a clear picture of who will be the core players in Capello’s plans. It will be interesting to see how online betting websites view England’s prospects after those games.

One of the good things about the World Cup rules on the naming of the final 23 is that FIFA do not insist on a replacement for an injured player necessarily having to come from the 7 who were dropped from the provisional list. Potentially that leaves the door open for Capello to call on other players he left behind in England if he thinks the situation demands it.

1 comment:

  1. Germany was just too tough. Younger, faster, and stronger. No shame in losing to them.