Monday, June 13, 2011

Who should Capello be selecting?

Building for the future and immediate success are the balancing acts that team selectors need to manage. The Australian cricket tem selectors are under fire for looking too far ahead, which is something Fabio Capello, virtually guaranteed to leave his post as England manager next year, need not do.

Capello is under pressure to deliver success in the short term and his team's abject failure at last year's World Cup will further prevent him from blooding youngsters for the benefit of his successor. It is not cynical to suggest the Italian on a £6m per year salary does not have the future of English football at the top of his list of priorities.

To this end, who should he be picking to ensure qualification for the 2012 European Championships? The first-choice defence is settled, with Joe Hart virtually unchallenged as goalkeeper and John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole hard to argue with as the mainstays of the defence. Those placing a football bet are aware of this.

In reality none of the above should be guaranteed their place. Michael Dawson, Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka are younger, faster and more athletic versions of Terry, whose famed leadership skills and top level experience perhaps mask a divisive nature and arrogance that does more harm than good. Leighton Baines and Kieran Gibbs are serious alternatives to Cole at left back.

Critics of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard claim their club level reputations are enhanced by the quality of their club mates and it is becoming hard to argue against this. Joey Barton was right to highlight the displays of imaginary saviour Gareth Barry at the World Cup. Jack Wilshere, Michael Carrick and Tom Huddlestone need to be given as much chance as the older guard to cement their places. Jordan Henderson and Matt Jarvis need to do more at club level to earn regular selection.

Theo Walcott and James Milner have not progressed after impressive breakthroughs but should be persevered with. Darren Bent must be considered first choice striker, as Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe need to deliver for their club as they have on occasion for England. Andy Carroll should be closely monitored.

No comments: