Archive for the ‘England’ category

Beckham turns teacher

May 28, 2010

Sunburn, getting mugged, bad pitches, and getting mugged again. These are just some of the things players at this summer’s World Cup might be afraid of. Unfortunately Theo Walcott’s name is unlikely to be added to that list after a rather embarrassing story on the Daily Mail website today proclaims:

David Beckham is teaching Theo Walcott how to cross

Would Becks be impressed by this technique?

The fact that our first choice winger is having being taught how to cross a football two weeks before the start of the tournament will no doubt have Brazil and Spain either a) looking fearfully at their wallcharts, working out when they might have to face this fearsome winger, or b) holding back fits of laughter whilst trying to keep straight faces. I suspect the latter will be closer to the truth.

It is something that has become worryingly clear about Walcott, that apart from his blistering pace, he really doesn’t have much else going for him. While Becks is at it, maybe he should show Theo how to pass, shoot and do something other than run in a straight line until he loses the ball.

Now, Walcott is only 21 and is already going to his second World Cup, but it doesn’t seem like he has the necessary skill set to really trouble defences now that his pace is no longer a surprise to the opposition, as it was when he scored his hat-trick against Croatia. How long he is going to be able to live off that by the way?

It must be said that England’s other options on the right, Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips could also be seen as nothing more than pacey one trick ponies too, but with Lennon you at least get the sense that there may be some kind of end product.

I wonder if Walcott may be more effectively used from the bench when the opposition are gettng tired, but it seems that Capello is a fan of his pace, if nothing else. I may even be inclined to give Adam Johnson a go on the right against Japan. Who knows, he may even know how to cross already.

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Adam Johnson to the World Cup?

April 16, 2010

Manchester City winger and Stuart Downing upgrade, Adam Johnson, has a good chance of featuring in England’s upcoming friendlies following a string of impressive performances.

Could Stuart Dow...Adam Johnson be on his way to South Africa?

The 22-year-old, who joined City in January from Championship side Middlesbrough, has already established himself as a first team regular, and it has been his seamless transition from Championship football to the rigours of the Premier League that have caught England manager Fabio Capello’s eye, much like a middle-aged woman with a penchant for alco-pops used to catch Sven Goran Eriksson’s.

Capello has said: “He’s come up from the Championship at Middlesbrough, where he played in a different position, and he’s done well with Manchester City. Now it’s important he gets some international experience.”

This International experience will almost certainly come against Japan and Mexico at the end of May, and if Johnson impresses then he could well find himself on the plane to South Africa.

He has the ability to play on both the left and right, can beat players by skill rather than the hit-and-run approach adopted by Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott, and can deliver a brilliant dead ball. And without David Beckham, might he be worth a shout on this fact alone?

Although if Capello is looking for a winger based purely on the ability to take a corner, even human-rodent hybrid David Bentley would be worth taking.

Johnson may also be helped, not only by the fact that he is left-footed, but that most if not all other candidates for the wide positions are either short of form, or injured.

So what do you think? Should Capello take Adam Johnson to the World Cup? Let us know with a vote.

England seeded for World Cup draw

December 2, 2009

Following their impressive qualifying campaign, England have been seeded as one of the top eight teams for this Friday’s World Cup draw. (Impressive and England in the same sentence? Capello must have done something right.)

Capello's men are one of the top eight seeds fo Friday's draw

The other top seeds are hosts South Africa, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Holland and Germany. France and Portugal miss out because of their poor qualifying campaign, despite being ahead in the FIFA rankings of both England and Argentina. If their campaign’s were seen as a struggle, who knows what FIFA thought of Argentina’s bumbling effort to get seeded.

Another bizarre claim that was made by one esteemed media corporation (coughtheBBCcough), was that England’s worst case scenario would be a group involving France.

Now, I don’t know if the person who wrote that had watched any of France’s qualfiying campaign, their play-off against the Republic of Ireland, or even knew that they are managed by a mentalist. However, combining all of these factors, I would much rather be in a goup with France, than Portugal. Unless of course Thierry Henry has been imparting his knowledge on to the rest of the French team and they turn up to South Africa all wearing those big foam hands you get at basketball games. Hopefully that won’t happen.

The toughest of the African teams to be drawn with would probably be the Ivory Coast, while the USA wouldn’t be well recieved from pot 2.

However, despite the amount of coverage the draw on Friday will receive, you still don’t get the impression England are going to get much further than the quarter-finals. Standard.