Countdown Complete – Front line falls flat

by Wally Downes

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

If the 30-man provisional squad is anything to go by then my predictions have been pretty tasty so far. Wes Brown didn’t make it but as I said previously, if Jamie Carragher’s availability had been public knowledge he would have blown Brown out of the water, as he has.

Lets cut to the chase, Wayne Rooney is in and he needs to be well looked after for the next month. He has shown the strain of carrying the attacking demands of Manchester United on his broad shoulders recently, never more so than on Sunday when he volunteered himself for substitution when still in the hunt for the golden boot. Rooney is not the sort of play that returns rusty or loses his touch, if he doesn’t kick a ball again until June 10th I will still have him leading the line, bar none.

Theo Walcott has pace and defenders do not like pace, just ask Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and John Terry, three world class defenders who have constantly faltered under the pressure of pace. Also an option out wide, Walcott is a potential impact substitute if ever there was one, his inexperience limits his options when on the ball but you don’t need to think too much when you can run 100m in 11 seconds. Look at what Walcott did to Barcelona in their Champions League first leg with Arsenal. The narrow, intricate football that Arsenal plays makes it difficult for Walcott to have an impact over 90 minutes. Each of the three goals he scored against Croatia, in qualifying, came from the former-Saints star picking the ball up wide and running at people, that does not happen at the Emirates, not since a certain Mr. Henry ruled the roost in North London.

Emile Heskey, if it were up to me, would be spending his summer in England with his agent trying to find a new club. The professional rebound board cannot get into his club team and age is not on his side. Heskey is a confidence player if ever there was one; he needs an arm round his shoulder, a whisper in his ear and a gaping open goal before he can show any form of ability. All the stick that’s been aimed at Emile over the years by know-it-all, failed footballers turned journalists, like myself, have no doubt contributed to Heskey’s glaring lack of self-confidence but, in a one month knock out tournament, there is not enough time for ego rubbing, especially not for such a questionable talent.

In Heskey’s place is Peter Crouch, there are pros and cons to the inclusion of Crouch (or Dave as Trigger calls him) pro: the used to play for QPR, con: I reckon Abbey Clancy was after me before he started flashing his cash at her. Crouch has a better first touch and better mobility than Heskey, two massive factors when picking a target-man. Crouch can also finish as he has shown with Spurs and England already, yes some of his goals have come against lesser teams but he puts them away none-the-less. Capello will be going against all his previous claims, that he picks players on form, if he picks Heskey, he has had his chance and he has failed to deliver, time and time again. We’ve all heard Michael Owen et al describe the ex-Leicester man as the ideal strike partner but we don’t have Michael Owen any more. We need to pick a player able to compliment Wayne Rooney and I see Crouch as the man for that job.

Bobby Zamora is omitted from my World Cup squad, he has been exceptional as the focal point of a 4-5-1 formation for Fulham but Fabio Capello is not going to play that system. It may not sound like a hugely demanding change for a player to make but I do not see Zamora continuing his club form onto the world stage. He has had one exceptional season on the back of some pretty woeful ones, he has moved from club to club and often been offloaded as a disappointment. I think Zamora has been a fortunate victim of Roy Hodgson’s management skill and Fulham’s particular style of play. It may seem harsh but I think Zamora knows that he would be out of his depth in South Africa, there are better players in front of him and I think there are even better players behind him in pecking order.

This is a the most depressing part of the draw, I am completely indifferent as to whether Jermaine Defoe or Darren Bent go to the World Cup, both are well short of the crème-de-la-crème of all out strikers England has produced in the past. Lineker, Shearer, Owen, goal getters of the highest quality. Bent and Defoe are quick and know where the goal is but they do not inspire me in the least. I doubt that either of them have the mental strength for an occasion such as this and I see neither of them getting the better of a world-class defender. Bent has got goals at unfashionable Sunderland but there must be a reason he is not playing at a better side at 26 years-of-age. Defoe just about pips Bent to the post but I still have my reservations. Barring Wayne Rooney this group of players leaves me completely deflated, so much so that I wouldn’t even bother with starting any of the other three….

IN: Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch, Theo Walcott, and Jermaine Defoe

Below is my starting 11 for England’s World Cup, this is a fantasy but with attacking options like those above desperate times call for us to rely entirely on Wayne Rooney


J Cole A Johnson

Gerrard Carrick Lampard

A Cole Terry Carragher Johnson


Be Sociable, Share!
  • darren

    for a moment I thought you had Andy Johnson playing up front, saying that he’s had more football in 2 years than Hargreaves!!

  • Dexylongshot

    I saw Adam Johnson close up on Sunday and have to day I would start him too. Everything city did in the first half went through him, a true talent.

  • Downesy

    He seems unfazed by anything and he never seems to give defenders an easy ride.
    He can cross, pass and finish which cannot always be said of his wide-midfield counterparts, and lets not forget the calibre of player he is often seen keeping out of the city side, Robinho, Bellamy, Ireland et al.

    one of the most exciting talents since Michael Johnson burst onto the seen but then unfortunately burst his waistline, must have for dream teams next season.

    That Man City youth system is right up there with West Ham in recent years.

  • Jj

    can someone please tell me whats so great about Michael Johnson? is he still injured as I’m not even sure if I can remember seeing him play

  • dexylongshot

    Micheal johnson was mustard about 3 years back when he was playing every week. I putr him in my dream team then and he was coming up trumps and keeping Ireland and co out of the loop, until the injuries. It’s true, The city youth system along with the Toffees are giving the hammers a run for their money 9what we have of money) at the mo.

    Incidently, talking of potential greatness, here’s a new remix of the UKFF F.A.B.I.O song DNB styly. Brrrp Brrrp!! Pass onto everyone!

Previous post:

Next post: