England manager Fabio Capello has officially announced his squad for the World Cup in South Africa, which starts on June 11th.
Already there has been a lot of jingoistic noise from so-called patriots in the national media about how the national side have the ability to win it. If only…
There were some surprises. Tottenham’s Ledley King is included, despite having dodgy knees, as is Man City’s Shaun Wright-Phillips, and West Ham’s Matthew Upson and Robert Green, in spite of their poor club form. Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock is another surprise inclusion.
Sunderland’s Darren Bent, by far the second most prolific English goalscorer in the Premier League last season (Wayne Rooney scored more for Man Utd), is omitted, as is Arsenal’s Theo Walcott.
Here’s the full squad:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham).
Defenders: Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa).
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City).
Forwards: Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).
There have been rumours that Capello could leave his post after South Africa. The Football Association must hope that this doesn’t happen , particularly when he has got the team believing in themselves again.
In defence of flag-waving
Everytime there is a major sports tournament involving the English, or even the British, I always see the flag of St George and the Union Jack draped across windows, cars, refuse trucks and so on. A minority of killjoys oppose it because of the usual fears of patriotic passion among football supporters can at times lead to violence. I agree that some people and organisations tend to abuse the flag-waving for their own political ends, but personally, I don’t see anything wrong with it. I wouldn’t do it myself, but flag waving is one way of uniting the nation, at World Cup time… just to forget, for a while anyway, the woes of the real world.