75 days from now, England will face Ukraine in a 2010 world cup qualifier. It will be their first competitive match of 2009, but not there first match, as they face Spain and Slovakia between now and then.
The two friendlies should give us a vague idea of who will line-up against Ukraine, but we can’t wait all the way till 11th February when we face the Spanish, so the following analyse of who’s in form, and who has played recent England games, should help us on our way to second guessing Capello’s thoughts.
David James has started England’s 6 games, only coming off in the friendly win against Germany at half time to make way for Scott Carson. If there is anyone you would bet your life on playing, it’s this man. However, his club; Portsmouth, have become very unstable of recent times, and it does make you wonder just how long they will stay in the top flight, and how long David James will stay as England keeper.
Carson and Paul Robinson have traded places on the England bench recently, but with this lad being only 23; he is surely going to become an England regular in the next 5 years. This doesn’t spell well for Paul Robinson, who has gone from England No.1 to England No.3 in the space of months.
On his day, one of the best keepers around, but you can only see him sliding down the England goalkeeping priority list now. He may be in and around the England squad for quite a few years to come, but he is playing at a struggling Blackburn side and I really do fear the worst for Paul in terms of his career.
If Man City get there rumored new keeper then you have got to wonder what will happen to this promising young keeper. He has a future in the England squad but the England team may prove too big a task.
His is a squad player, but a very good squad player at that. He is a very reliable defender and if England keep producing talent like this lad then they will have a bright future ahead of them. He proves the strength in depth England have, but whether he will ever gain a permanent place in the first team is a different story altogether.
Many people wonder why Wayne never obtained a place in the England first team, he is a solid, all round defender. He has been in and out of the England team for years now, and he isn’t getting any younger, but he will be a good influence on the England team nonetheless.
England’s captain is nearing a 50th cap and if he doesn’t get injured anytime soon, he could well get it against Slovakia, providing he plays against Spain. The Chelsea man was personally selected by Capello to be the England captain and has yet to let him down.
The 23 year old has yet to achieve his first England cap, but he is definitely one for the future.
Probably one of the best England players never to receive a first team place…yet! He is doing a cracking job at Everton, even popping up with the odd goal here and there. Joleon has shades of Ledley King steeped in him…
Many people where asking why Capello didn’t rate him, as he is yet to start under him. What people have got to remember is that he is only 20, and has his whole career ahead of him. With Man City looking to bring in world beaters, which he can learn from, it seems as if nothing can go wrong for this fellow.
The 28 year old has won 68 caps for England, and you would think he will get at least another 4 in the up and coming 2010 qualifiers.
An England certainty? he has got to be. The 6ft 2.5 inch centre back has always been an England starter, and although things will have to change, the 30 year old looks to have kept his place for the foreseeable future.
The defender is going through a rough patch with his team West Ham United, but he has featured in many of England’s recent games, albeit freindlies.
The 29 year old Man United man is a solid defender, he just get’s the job done, which is exactly what England need at times.
A very consistent player, but aren’t all defenders? He is playing regularly at Tottenham and could be a useful player for Capello.
If he stayed fit he would be in the England team, but he can’t and it will take a miracle for him to be a regular.
Him and Lampard can’t play together, that’s widely known, and unless Capello can perform a miracle, I would expect either Gerrard or Lampard to partner Barry in the middle, and Gerrard for me is the better all round player.
As I said, it’s either him or Gerrard, and although Lampard is probably the better box to box player, Gerrard can spread the ball around much smoother.
The 27 year old has finally broke into the England first team and it looks as though he is there to stay, England have been looking for a player like him for quite a while, Capello was the only one willing to take a risk in him, and it payed off.
Although still a teenager, Theo has shown great maturity on and off the pitch. He has a habit of popping up and scoring goals, and his hatrick in Croatia has really shown why he should be in the first team mix.
The 27 year old came to the forefront a few years ago, and it all seemed that he was the answer to England’s prayers. He has died down a little since then but is still a vital player for England.
He is currently playing at AC Milan which should get his fitness up after a lack of it at LA Galaxy, but if he goes back then I really can’t see where he will fit into the England team. He may be a good influence during training being an ex-captain, but other then that I can’t see Capello keeping him around for too long.
After the so called interest from Real Madrid is gone, this lad can get back to working on being consistent. He is always awesome in training but when it comes to matches he rarely finds his form.
Shaun returned to Man City in the summer and has found his form once again, he rarely played for Chelsea, but now he his playing week in week out he can work on getting his place cemented into the England team.
He is not consistently playing at Manchester United, but he is still one of the best midfielders in the Premiership. He can spread the ball around the park better then anyone in the England squad and sometimes his creative skills will be the answer to England’s questions.
He is 23 and yet to reach his prime, but his pace could already prove to be very useful for England. He is our secret weapon.
He used to be an England regular be since his move to Manchester United he has been hit hard by injuries and not really found his form.
The Middlesbrough player has been a fringe plyer for England for quite a while now, he has never really found a permanent spot within the team, but on his day he could get into any national team.
He was once deemed the replacement for Beckham. but since his move to Tottenham he hasn’t really performed to the best of his ability. He will need to find his form soon before the door closes on him.
People seem to forget he is only 23, but he has achieved a lot in his career considering he virtually has it all ahead of him, he doesn’t score too many but he is a fighter and will provide strength to the strike force.
One of very few tall strikers that England have, he is the best striker they have in the big guy, little guy partnership.
The Portsmouth player formed a good partnership with Jermain Defoe, but now Jermain has moved away that partnership has be wrecked and it looks as though Capello will be choosing from Defoe and Jermain to partner Heskey not crouch.
Darren is a useful squad player but I doubt he will ever become more then that, he needs to find a club where is starting every game before he can think about being a vital part of the England team.
One of the quickest players around, he scores goals, he is a team player, what more could you want in a striker?
When fit he is one of the best natural goalscorers around, England are low on these so he could turn out to be a vital player in England’s 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.
If he can keep the form up that he had at Portsmouth, at Tottenham, then he could find himself in the England team quicker then he imagined.
So, 36 players later, are we any wiser on how England will line up against Ukraine?
Brown Terry (C) Ferdinand Cole
Gerrard Barry Lampard Walcott
England 4-1 Ukraine
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