Who Would You Start If You Were Fabio Capello?

June 22, 2010 - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - epa02216636 England national soccer team coach Fabio Capello attends a press conference in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 22 June 2010. England will face Slovenia in the FIFA 2010 World Cup group C soccer match on June 23.

You’re Fabio Capello and it’s the night before one of the biggest games of your career where your name is on the line and you have millions of England fans putting the pressure on you to make the correct decisions.

But who would you start for England against Slovenia tomorrow? And why?

Here’s my starting 11:

Johnson — Terry — Dawson — A. Cole
Lennon — Gerrard — Carrick — J. Cole
——–Crouch — Rooney——-

Joe Cole and Peter Crouch deservedly get the start instead of Gareth Barry and Emile Heskey. Cole and Crouch are far more creative up front and Crouch will aid the aerial attacks against the tall Slovenian defenders. In my other changes, Michael Carrick gets the start instead of Frank Lampard. Gerrard and Lampard have proven time and time again that they can’t play well together. And Gerrard can’t be benched since he’s the captain, so Carrick gets the start instead of Lamps. While Carrick hasn’t had the best of seasons at Manchester United, he’s used to playing under pressure. And even if he doesn’t work out, Lampard would be a good substitute to bring on for England.

In goal, I have Joe Hart instead of David James. While I respect James as a goalkeeper, the game against Slovenia will require someone who is skilled at catching crosses and will need England’s best keeper, which is why I’m giving the nod to Hart. In the back line, the big change is bringing on Michael Dawson instead of Matthew Upson. Dawson is exactly the type of player who would excel against Slovenia. He would give 100% and play his heart out for his country. Upson is a good defender, but Dawson is far better in my opinion.

Which England side would you pick to beat Slovenia and make it through to the second round? Click the comments link below to share your opinions.

18 thoughts on “Who Would You Start If You Were Fabio Capello?”

  1. ——————-Hart——————-
    –Johnson–Terry–Upson–A. Cole–
    –Lennon———————-J. Cole–

    I love Dawson, but he’s too slow and error prone. Hart won’t start, James will, but I think Hart is the best player. Rooney is your best player and scored 30+ goals this season, so make him your #9 and the focal point of your attack. If you play Barry and 2 wingers, you can get Lampard and Gerrard on the same field.

  2. ——————-Hart——————-
    –Johnson–Terry–Upson–A. Cole–
    –Milner—Lampard—J. Cole–

    1) England needs to switch up the 4-4-2 system so that Rooney is able to receive the ball in the opponents third instead of have to come back to get it. A 4-5-1 system should solve that problem.
    2) Playing Gerrard and Lampard as central mids (Gerrard more an attacking mid) should increase play between them as it is their natural positions
    3) Gerrard up top also lets him wander the field like he does normally without forcing A. Cole to try and control the entire left side by himself
    4) Milner deserves another chance biased on the complete ineffectiveness of Lennon and SWP, hopefully he can deliver some decent crosses and give Rooney an opportunity to score in the air.

    1. This seems to me straightforwardly the right choice, with the possible quibble of Dawson vs Upson, and Milner vs Lennon. (I haven’t thought Lennon has been all that rubbish – he was good against the US, albeit only when he was breaking far forward and backpassing)

      That Joe Cole deserves a start is straightforward, and that a wholesale re-evaluation of how the ball gets from midfield to strikers is necessary is obvious.

  3. Lampard has been the best England player in the tournament, you’re a fool to leave him on the bench.

    Can’t drop Gerrard because he’s captain? He’s captain because Capello mucked around with whoever has worn the armband.

    1. Lampard has been great, assuming you’re a fan sitting in the lower rows behind the goal and like getting balls kicked into your face.

  4. Phil, continue sucking up to the guy that misses a game Wednesday in white only to play Saturday in red, and the guy who insults you after he plays like shite and you call him out for it.

    Lampard’s a real professional, and the best England player thus far.

  5. I hope the English fans don’t have to look at the Slovenian celebration dance. It’s arguably the worst thing in the history of organized sports.

  6. David James
    Glen Johnson Mathhew upson John Terry Ashley Cole

    Frank Lampard Michael Carrick
    Aaron Lennon Joe Cole
    Steven Gerrard
    Wayne Rooney

  7. If Capello starts Lennon or SWP then it’s all doom! Bench them and you got a chance of winning.
    Would play Barry and Gerrard in midfield and Milner and J. Cole complete the four MD.

  8. England need to retain possession of the ball, and to shield the defensive frailties of three of our back four.

    At least one of our midfield players needs to be able to spot the creative pass – so Carrick plays.

    Barry is the only defence-minded midfielder, so he plays alongside Carrick.

    Already you’re thinking – it’s just like Brazil … Dunga has no time for touchline-hugging dribblers, Robben and Ronaldo are foreign, so why waste a place on either of our diddy wingers – neither of whom has yet learned the value of picking out a player in the same colour of shirt?

    Instead, Johnson & A Cole can go forward confidently to cross from wide positions. Joe Cole will feature on the left , Gerrard on the right, both prepared to support the full-backs going forward and looking to get into the box themselves.

    From the advanced central midfield position Rooney will link play and score goals. Up front, drawing defenders away and/or increasing an impressive goal tally, it’s Crouch or Defoe.

    Hart deserves a go in goal, but James will play. Lampard should be told that he can expect to play at least twenty minutes and maybe 45; playing for Chelsea he’s a world-class talent.

    It would all have been so much easier, of course, if Hargreaves and Rio had been fit, if Capello had picked Neville rather than Carragher and wooed Scholes earlier with a guarantee of central midfield supremacy!

  9. You keep James in as Capello has to stick with him now, the option to install Hart came last week.
    Otherwise I’d agree with your team but have Upson as he’s played with Terry before and they played well together. Dawson had the better season but its about partnerships in defence. Carrick is a bold pick and I like it. Cole and Crouch for me.
    A lot of people claiming Rooney isnt fit – well if Rooney stops coming into his own half to get the ball he’d last 90 minutes – its up to the rest to give him service and he needs to find his first touch.

  10. —————– Hart——————-
    Johnson — Terry— Upson — A. Cole
    ————— Barry ——————–
    Milner —— Lampard ———— Gerard
    ————— Rooney————–
    ————— Defoe —————

    When Gerard cuts into the middle, Barry can cover for him on the left and Lampard can slide back if need be. Rooney likes to come back for the ball so play him behind Defoe. Milner had a poor game against the USA because he was asked to play on the left which is not where he is used to playing for Aston Villa. He is better on the right. If Defoe struggles then bring in Crouch at halftime. If Milner struggles then bring in either Joe Cole or Lennon for him.

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