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Does England Have Enough Depth?


Looking at England’s recent friendly against Mexico, one thing that is certain is the England team lack depth. The so called fringe players were supposed to grab this chance to prove their worth but none of them did any justification to why they are deserving of a starting spot. Without a doubt, the first team are a strong unit and on their day, they can beat any team. However, look beyond it and I’m sure we can see the underlying problem of how the players coming into the team as replacements for the starting eleven quite often struggle when given the chance to stake a claim.

When it comes to the first eleven, Capello has everything from personnel to formation and a system of playing that is already fine tuned and seems settled; most importantly, they play the way Capello wants them to play. Against Mexico however, there were some interesting observations made. Apart from Peter Crouch, the other players coming into the team struggled to stamp their mark on the team. The score line ended favourably for England but anybody who watched the game would not disagree if I say they were far from convincing and struggled to play as a unit. James Milner was as hardworking as ever but lacked the extra bit of quality to control the game from the middle of the park and Michael Carrick’s performance just about summed up his season. Carrick kept giving the ball away and was anonymous throughout the time he was on the field. Ledley King scored a goal but there were mistakes from him that went unpunished as well.

Same formation, same system but why didn’t it work this time? The answer could simply be the reason these players are considered reserves for the team. If England were faced with a similar situation at the World Cup, where key players were to be either injured or suspended, could they afford to put in another performance like they did against Mexico? No disrespect to Mexico, but if it were a team with the calibre of Spain, it might have been a totally different result. The gap of class between the eleven that is going to start in South Africa and the probable replacements is quite evident and this could go a long way to determining  how far England can progress in the World Cup.

Capello has probably chosen the best 30 available players to make up the squad but it remains to be seen if they are good enough altogether as a squad to win the biggest prize in world football. The fringe players have to step up to the mark and perform when or if Capello needs them and another performance like the one against Mexico could ruin their chances in the World Cup. There is a question however if whether England has a plan B. Rather than sticking to the same formula, Capello could utilise these players and play them to their strength which would probably involve changing the formation and system but with time and games running out, it is uncertain whether Capello has a plan B and being the manager he is, we all hope he has the answer to this problem and if he could guide them far enough into the tournament, it would be a massive achievement considering the lack of depth in the squad. Have your say; do you think the England team is strong enough as a unit to win the World Cup?

Do share your comments and thoughts below.

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  1. Ben

    May 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    England is always a favorite but never able to win under pressure, on paper they have the team to win the World Cup, I think it would be awesome for England and to prove to everyone that the EPL is the best league in the world.

  2. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    May 26, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Not only do they lack depth, but they cannot adapt to different tactical setups. England is nothing but a paper tiger at this level. A sure bet to lose at the Quarterfinal stage if not earlier.

  3. jed

    May 26, 2010 at 3:51 am

    England have a problem of putting all its eggs into one basket. We don’t give new players a chance. Gerrard for instance can play badly for England and go unnoticed. Never mind the fact that Scott Parker (form wise) has been better this season. Gerrard is untouchable and Parker just isn’t cool enough. Darren Bent is given scraps for England and when its time to for him to get a full game, he’s thrown in against Brazil and get’s no service. The English press label him a flop and now he’s probably not going to the world cup. We are constantly being told Rooney’s our only hope of winning the world cup… that view must seep into the rest of the squad. The team isn’t Rooney and ten others. Imagine if Rooney broke his leg. I would happily watch Crouch and Defoe take on USA. This partnership has worked before and will be probably be in the champions league next year. We don’t blood the second string adequately or make them feel wanted within the squad. The boo boys quickly come out and certain players are made scape goats… Lampard (soon to be Walcott). I think that if people feel our squad isn’t good enough or our players not skilled enough then we need to investigate this. Personally I think more English players should travel abroad. Would Defoe cut it in Spain? Would Bent ever go to Italy? Playing in the premiership week in and week isn’t enough anymore. Look at the favorites, Brazil, Spain. They have some of their best players playing in foreign leagues. The experience they have will be invaluable. The frantic nature of premiership football can be different to what’s played at the world cup. That for me is the underlining issue here.

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