England’s 3-1 defeat of Egypt last nightÂ will have givenÂ Fabio Capello plenty of food for thought as he tries to finalise his 23-man World Cup squad. Whilst it was not the mostÂ eloquent performance of the Italian’s tenure, particularly in the first half, some players probably did enough to book their place on the plane, whilst some failed to seize their opportunity to impress.
The performance also showed that Capello is not afraid to spring the odd surprise. Robert Green played the entire match when most expected Joe Hart to be tested. Leighton Baines played the full 90 minutes when many had thought Capello would also give Stephen Warnock a chance to press his claims. Theo Walcott and Jermain Defoe also got starting berths against the odds (althought neither fully capitalised on the opportunity).
Back in September following confirmation of England’s qualification, we delivered our verdict on who should be on the plane to South Africa. Six months, a few injuries and a well publicised affair later, things have changed a bit. Based on the evidence we saw last night, as well as recent league form, here is the squad we would pick (NOT necessarily the one we think he will pick):
Rio FerdinandÂ (captain)
Some of these predictions are probably no more than wishful thinking. For example, David James is likely to get the nod ahead of Paul Robinson, despite their current club form. Capello is also likely to go with eight defenders at the expense of an extra attacker, with Carlton Cole the man to make way.
There is also the assumption that Ashley Cole and Aaron Lennon will be fit in time to play. Furthermore, it would be a shock if David Beckham did not make the cut. Out of those midfielders we’ve picked, Stewart Downing would probably consider himself lucky to be chosen ahead of the former England captain, despite England’s need for width on the left.
The World Cup is now less than 100 days away and everybody has an opinion on who should make the England squad. Let us know your thoughts on who you would take and why.