World cup squad – Who’s on the plane?

by Ashleigh Rose

Friday, June 12th, 2009

So we can pretty much book our tickets now then can’t we? Grab your passports and swimming shorts because after Wednesday nights 6-0 thrashing of the might Andorra, England have all but confirmed there place at the World Cup Finals in South Africa next year. All we need to do is get four points from our remaining fixture to absolutely guarantee qualifying, but a win over Croatia in September should be enough, with no need for last minute Gary Lineker goals in Poland or goalless draws in Rome too!

Seven wins from seven and top goal-scorers in Europe have seen England rise to 6th in the FIFA rankings and third favourites for the crown next summer (behind Spain and Brazil). But who will be representing the three lions under Fabio Capello in Africa next summer? Well, true to a feature I used to love in long forgotten footie magazine Total Football, here’s a rundown of who’s in the running to be named in England’s squad for the 2010 World Cup Finals.

One the Plane – The dead certs heading to South Africa

David James

Still fully established as England’s number one despite his age and the fear one mistake is just around the corner.  But without a dramatic lull in form next season should hang onto the shirt going into South Africa.

Glen Johnson

England’s first choice right-back, even if it is by default has had a great season but questions remain about his defending against the very best. Especially when the Kazaks got the better of him on a couple occasions at the weekend.

John Terry

Captain, not my choice but captain all the same and his leadership will be vital for England even with his lack of pace on the big stage

Rio Ferdinand

Simply matured into one of Europe’s best defenders and should be Fabio’s first defender on the team-sheet. Hopefully can enjoy an injury-free season going into next summer.

Ashley Cole

Say want you want about him, and believe me I have, he’s back to his very best at the moment. Which is good news for England because Cole’s still one the world’s very best in his position.

Frank Lampard

Will always pop up with a vital goal even if he does tend to go missing in some games. Fabio seems to have finally put the Lamps/Gerrard issue to bed for now and even the boo-boys have left Frank alone.

Steven Gerrard

It’s a shame we can’t play Stevie in the same position he does for Liverpool but even so Gerrard is a genuine World Class player and his developing partnership with Rooney could ruin defences next summer.

Gareth Barry

The only player to have started every game under Capello and goes about his job quietly but effectively. Maybe found wanting though when England face better opposition.

Wayne Rooney

Just shades Stevie G as our best player and greatest hope for 2010. The fact that he’s scoring more consistently for England makes him easily our number one threat and 2010 could be his World Cup.

Emile Heskey

Now that everyone is concentrating on what Emile does for the team and not his goal-scoring record, it shows want an integral part of Fabio’s team the big man is.

Theo Walcott

Still living off the hat-trick in Croatia, Theo will need to work on his final ball to become the player Fabio thinks he can be. At the moment the England boss see’s enough potential to constantly pick him on the right, even if some don’t.

Nearly there – Should probably not book a holiday off next summer

Rob Green

Two games against pretty average opponents has told us nothing about Green we didn’t already know. Still edging out the other contenders as back-up to David James.

Wayne Bridge

Now no longer a part-time footballer, a full season on City’s left hand side will be enough to see Bridge go to South Africa as Ashley Cole’s understudy yet again.

Matthew Upson

Hasn’t put a foot wrong when asked to come in for Terry or Ferdinand but will have to continue his good club form to make sure he’s still third-choice. His lack of European football is the only worry – but that could change.

Joleon Lescott

I’m a big fan of Joleon and offers back-up to both centre back and left-back if need be. He’ll be looking to head the pack of understudies for the middle of defence though.

David Beckham

Yes he’s 34 but as shown last night (maybe only in glimpses), he’s delivery is still the best around. He’s experience will be vital for Fabio, the only worry is if and where Becks will be playing come the end of the MLS season.

Stewart Downing

Despite being relegated and not scoring last season, Downing remains a favourite with Capello and is one of very few players who can play on the left. Needs a good move this summer to ensure he makes South Africa.

Ashley Young

Clinging on in there but will need another good season and prove he’s got what it takes to bring his club form onto the international stage.

Peter Crouch

Remains a different option and is first in line to back-up Heskey in the ‘big man’ role up front for England. His international record speaks for itself whoever he’s scored against.

Jermain Defoe

I still don’t think he’ll ever be an international striker, but in his super-sub role he’s handy to stretch defenders with his pace and eye for goal.

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  • Darren

    Jack Wilshire anyone? MMW!

  • dexylongshot


  • Tef1on

    Wilshire…? did he even make the U21 squad? Far too soon for him! I seriously hope James is injured and cant go! We might win something then!!!

  • Darren

    he could be the new Walcott? If Wenger plays who knows?

  • Darren

    Stuart Downing? Do me a favour, he’s not fit to fold Ashley Youngs happy tissues!

  • Ash

    Downings not no, but Fabio is a fan especially after his performance in Germany!

    I hope for Wiltshire’s sake he’s not the next Walcott. Theo is fast becoming one of the most over rated players in the Premier League.

  • Ash

    Oh and Daz, where’s the rest of the piece?

  • Darren

    I know, sorry Ash, I was getting RSI on my shoulder, the article was just a little to long, I thought it would be good to debate the other players.

    Walcott needs a good run in the side, either that or he plays him up front

  • dexylongshot

    I used to really rate Shley Young but he didn’t exactly pull may daisys up the other night when he came on. He was excellent earlier in the season, i just hope it’s a bit of a lull. Johnson was fantastic, better than Theo on the right. He used to be a winger. I think Gibbs could even be a late entry if he gets some games this season, He got an hatrick on Tuesday. Another who can play in different positions.

  • jimmythegent

    We won’t win anything with James, at least in Green, with have one of the best penalty experts in the League.

  • Ash

    And the rest…..

    Maybes – Still need to convince Fabio!

    Ben Foster

    If he can oust Van Der Sar at Old Trafford and get a good run in the team should go to South Africa as one of the three goalkeepers.

    Phil Jagielka

    Fabio’s a fan but the unfortunate injury that will rule him out until October could see him drop back in the queue. Needs to come back as good as he was last campaign.

    Gary Cahill

    A long way behind Upson and Lescott and will need an outstanding season overall for Bolton to force his way into the pack.

    Michael Carrick

    Ignored by Capello for a long time and has twice been given the run-around by Xavi and Iniesta (he’s not the first). Needs to continue his excellent displays for Man Utd next year.

    Shaun Wright-Phillips/Aaron Lennon

    With Walcott and Becks almost there, I can’t see a place for both these right-wingers in the squad. Both have electric pace but need to work on their final ball to nab a spot in the squad.

    Joe Cole

    England ’s forgotten man! In his absence England have found a settled midfield and he’s dropped down the pecking order. A good, fit season for Chelsea though should get him to the World Cup.

    Carlton Cole

    Disappointing to not see Cole given a run-out last night against such weak opposition. Was one of the surprise stars of last year and will need another campaign like that to keep his place in Fabio’s plans.

    Gabriel Agbonlahor

    Has more pace then any other England striker but will need to add a bigger goal threat and more consistency over the next 12 months to force his way past the other England strikers.

    Still hoping – This lot haven given up yet!

    Joe Hart – needs a season-long loan for first-team football

    Paul Robinson/Scott Carson – Hoping for injuries

    Wes Brown – Could still be the only back-up on England ’s right-back spot.

    Micah Richards – Fabio still not sure, hoping for a better season for City

    Leyton Baines – If Cole or Bridge don’t make it Baines should

    Ledley King – If he sorts his knees out

    Jonathon Woodgate – Dropped down the pecking order

    James Milner – Could be too players many in his way this time around

    Owen Hargreaves – Remember him? Still England ’s best ball-winner

    Michael Owen – A fresh move could change everything

    Darren Bent – See above, but still way behind

  • jimmythegent

    What has happened to Micah, a year ago, he was a cert. He needs to sort himself out and get his head dowm, there is no better incentive than a World Cup.

  • Grimble

    He’s coming back from injury and had a few problems with his bling lifestyle but if he can get back to his earlier form, he would be the no2 for England.

  • dexylongshot

    Carson & Robinson, chuckle brothers utd.

    Green, Foster, Kirkland, James all before them two.

  • Matt Quinn

    Dexy- i thought Ashley Young was very good when he came on against Andorra. In fact, he showed up Walcott and Gerrard who were playing in the same position. He constantly rounded his man and put in some dangerous crosses. Something neither of the other two did.

    I hope Carrick and Huddlestone make it into the squad…. proper footballers.

    I wouldnt take Walcott on current form. Would prefer Lennon, Young or Wright Phillips over him.

    Also hope Daniel Sturridge or James Vaughan have a breakthrough season as think they could be our answers up front. Pacey, Strong, Direct and good finishers.

  • Tef1on

    Manuel Almunia!

  • Darren

    Teflon, you’re so funny, you have your favs and Alumunia is def one of them, he’s an ok keeper but no better then Rob Green, and thats coming from a fellow Gonner! Good news though, Fabianski has signed a new contract!

  • Alex

    darren you have no idea what you’re talking about. I see your comments on various threads and you show a distinct lack of football knowledge.

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