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Should Fabio Capello Take a Risk or Two?

Press Conferences/Photocalls - Laureus World Sports Awards - Abu Dhabi 2010

Throughout the whole qualifying campaign, Capello always had an idea how his team were going to play and how the personnel he brought in suited his style and blueprint very well. Fast forward a few months later, he is facing a conundrum regarding the squad he is going to take to the World Cup. With football’s showpiece event just a month away, injuries have taken its toll on his players throughout this long and football season.

At the beginning of the year, every one of us and Capello as well would have had a clear idea of how his squad was shaping up and we could somehow rather guess the players who were going to be in the 23 man squad to South Africa. After all, he has been quite consistent in choosing his players and he had a clear idea of how the players were going to fit into his system, resisting the calls for the likes of Michael Owen to be recalled to the England team.

However, all this has changed recently. This past 2 or 3 months have been nothing short of decisive for the England team. One by one their players start picking up injuries ranging from David Beckham (who is definitely out but will be there with the team) to the latest injury in Gareth Barry who has been a vital part of Capello’s team. This can be attributed to the long, hard and competitive season for their respective teams, but we are not here to discuss about that are we?

These injuries have come at a crucial time for the England team but I can imagine the likes of Rooney, Johnson and Ferdinand will be going (even if they have been struggling with fitness issues recently) barring a nasty turn of events which would prevent them from going to the World Cup. When news of Barry facing around four weeks out filtered through, I think most England fans and even Capello knows they seem to be having a slight problem currently. And if anyone has noticed, injuries are only part of the problem. Some of the players are going through a bad run of form at a crucial moment. Heskey has barely played in the second half of the season and the likes of Defoe seem to be fading away after a great start to the season. The question, is Capello willing to take risks at his stage of the season and with the World Cup less than a month away?

Coming into the question are a few players who have proven credentials in the premier league and seem to be playing their way into Capello’s thoughts. Ledley King’s injuries are well documented but he has been in great form this season and it is astonishing to actually think he has played more football than Ferdinand this season. His defensive partner Dawson has also been outstanding alongside him as Upson continues with his mediocre season for West Ham.

Gary Neville going to the World Cup would have been a far distinct probability until recently where the Man Utd captain has lost a fair amount of pace and is not the player he used to be. But he seems to be defying all the odds and playing some good football in recent months showing how vital his experience can be to the England team when his team mate Wes Brown (who before this was the first choice cover for Johnson at right back) seems to be struggling with injuries and form. There are other players like Joe Cole who hasn’t been in the best of form all season but has a proven international credibility and as news of Barry’s injury filtered through, there were even talks of a shock England recall for Owen Hargreaves who has had a torrid time with injury, but we know in terms of what he can offer the England team and that could be crucial.

At the rate in which these problems are coming thick and fast, there might even be a space for Darren Bent who has been banging in the goals this season but seems underwhelming when it comes to international football. So again, is Capello willing to put his loyalty as we know to one side and take a few risks? What do you think? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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  1. Sam

    May 24, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    James vs US/Hart vs other two/see who’s better for post-group stages
    ~G.Johnson R.Ferdinand L.King A.Cole
    Milner/Lennon S.Gerrard
    J.Defoe W.Rooney
    Other goalie (probs James)

    Not a prediction, what I’d personally choose. Hopefully Green doesn’t get the pick as No.1/2, because he just doesn’t have the class to make the stops that James and Hart can, although he’s slightly more reliable than James.

  2. manu

    May 11, 2010 at 4:26 am

    adam johnson for england

  3. goghi

    May 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    as far as i know england has alot of quality players……but the prob is they r playing for a ‘smaller club’. the club only plays for domestic actions rather than champions league… this is a big prob for the Italian as they might not have enough experience……the likes of matthew taylor, scot parker, upson, dawson and other players are left out mainly because of the champions league action… as far as i know capello should take a few risk and bring in quality players whom are not famous actually… in playing for the big 4 in league….

  4. ish

    May 9, 2010 at 4:13 am

    green, james, hart for GK
    johnson, a.cole, brown, baines for fullback.
    terry, ferdinand, carragher, king/dawson for Centreback
    lampard, milner, huddlestone, carrick, hargraeves(possibly) for central midfield
    lennon, walcott, a.johnson(possibly), j.cole for wingers
    gerrard, rooney, defoe, bent (possibly)

    the big problem is i dont think a.johnson is god enough but no other cover for left wing, not i dont think england need a tradional winger since a.cole is there but no really performers either, i dont rate a.young at all. in a pinch you can throw rooney there and ask him to play central and cut in a crap load so it should be fine. capello really doesnt need to take risks because the players kind of pick them selves for his type of play. Lampard and milner should be the anchoring midfield playing behind gerrard. 2 wingers supporting rooney as the lone central striker. if they need to attak more you can take off lampard for a striker, for stronger defense take off a winger, throw milner on the wings and put in a more defensive central mid. a couple of all rounders there in case of injuries. walcott only there cause of his pace and ability to take crap fullbacks out of the equation, useful in second half and when playing crap teams.

  5. Patrick

    May 8, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I think Bobby Zammora should get a look if England is possibly going to take a gamble. Honestly, I think he’d be less of a gamble than Heskey at this point though. He’s done wonderful for Fulham all year, not scared to play injured, and actually scoring and setting up goals. I’d only choose him over Bent because I’ve heard from a couple fairly reliable sources that Bent is typically lazy and laxidasical when it comes to training, but could just be a rumor or maybe he was taking it light in training. (I believe this could be true due to his sometimes erratic/inconsistant play)But the guy can put the ball in the net..
    I think Joe Cole and some of the Aston Villa boys (mids/wingers) could all be valueable additions. All are pretty versatile, they have good pace, and believe you could actually see an improvement in their play with a striker like Rooney in front of them. The obvious downside is Cole is still trying to regain form from his cruciate ligament surgery.
    Steven Taylor and Stevie Harper could be solid wild cards but I doubt either will get their deserved shot. Harper has been solid in the net for New Castle and could help add some stability to a position that has been all over the place for England.

    Dont crucify me too badly 🙂

  6. Ash

    May 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Interesting points to ponder…What about the Gerard? Obviously he has to be in the squad..but will his and Liverpool’s “bad to worse” season translate onto the pitch for England in the World Cup?

  7. Lennon

    May 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I think a call up for a traditional holding midfielder is in order, even for one who has little to no international experience under their belt. The previously mentioned Scott Parker would be a fine choice, and though there’s no way to say this without my clear pro-Spurs bias shining through I think Tom Huddlestone would be equally deserving of a call-up. At the very least I’d be appalled if either of those two are left at home in favor of Hargreaves.

    • G.Aravin

      May 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      gotta agree on the point regarding holding midfielders.. Tom Huddlestone deserves a call up after brilliant display for Spurs this season.. And addition of much senior and experienced players such as Scott Parker often overlooked by Capello..

  8. Matt

    May 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    3 names that need to make the flight:

    Ledley King

    Owen Hargreaves (because I would rather have him on the field after being out for almost 2 years due to a surgery that will save his career than ANY OTHER ENGLAND FORWARD, besides Rooney of course)

    Joe Hart. The only starting goalkeeper in the country right now surrounded by a bunch of guys who wouldn’t be America’s number 2 or Spain’s number 6. Simple as that.

  9. G.Aravin

    May 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    well written.. and points of discussion has been perfectly placed on the platform.. thus leaving Capello to decide whether to stick to the typical habit of England managers to fielding the much “awaited and hoped for dream team” despite all the injuries and crisis or beg for differ by opting for younger yet talented players such as darren bent, bale, hart and other to fill the gap left by senior players.. the choice is in your hands Capello!

    • Kishore

      May 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm

      Bale is Welsh bro….:)

      • G.Aravin

        May 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm

        Sorry bro.. totally forgot he’s welsh.. still UK tough 😉

  10. Kishore

    May 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Scott Parker has been terrific as well this season…apparently his name is being thrown around in terms of a shock call up….

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