99 problems but a pitch ain't one
So due to a few gremlins, it's been a while since the last blog. This was very frustrating, not least because I called Walcott not making the squad but no-one was able to see it! The only person who was selected for the squad that didn't tally with my prediction was Stephen Warnock. Leighton Baines's decision to tell the media how he hates going abroad because it means he has to miss Corrie or whatever meant Warnock goes despite not playing a game under Capello.
The day the squad was announced was simply bizarre. No official time had been named by the FA, but it was generally presumed that it would happen at lunchtime. At around 12:40pm, The Times north-east football correspondent George Caulkin posted on Twitter about how he was gutted for Darren Bent. His contacts up there are impeccable so you just knew this meant he had to be out of the squad. Over the next hour and a half, the squad was revealed as various journalists got word from the players as to who was in and who was out and promptly put it up on Twitter. The FA, however, was still giving the general public the silent treatment until laughably it posted a tweet at around 3pm about how there were rumours everywhere but don't worry, we'd hear it officially from them first! Apparently, the reason for the delay was that Fabio Capello couldn't reach one or two of the players, but they must have known it would leak out on the net. A typically bungled effort from the FA. How do they do it?
As the producer of the show on Talksport as the news filtered through, it was fascinating to hear the reaction from the public. Most people seemed to agree with the make-up of the squad. The main bone of contention was Emile Heskey's inclusion at the expense of Bent. It is understandable why people are sceptical about Heskey. He has a terrible goalscoring record at international level, indeed at any level for that matter, in the past few years. Bent should feel hard done by as he could not have done much more. But Heskey suits the way Capello wants to play and he seems to bring the best out of the others around him. Walcott's exclusion was mostly met with approval. One or two people questioned not having his goal threat over in South Africa. They'd obviously not seen him recently. He's been more of a spectator threat as he shanked cross after cross into the stands behind the goal. There's still time for him. I hope he has a good rest and comes back better than ever next season.
The World Cup wouldn’t be the World Cup without an England injury crisis. Rio went down after a tackle by the unfortunate Heskey and suddenly the captain's out of the tournament. It can only be hoped Ledley King's knee can last the campaign, otherwise we're looking at Dawson, Upson or Carragher alongside Terry. Each of those players has doubts over them currently, whether it be due to lack of experience (Dawson), poor form (Upson) or lack of mobility (Carragher).
With Ferdinand out and Barry struggling, and question marks at goalkeeper, right-back and centre-forward (who partners Rooney or does he play him alone up front), what is true is that Capello can ill afford to lose any more members of his starting eleven.
It's never easy with England at a World Cup, is it?
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