Zamora and Johnson knocking on door of England squad for Egypt Friendly

21st February 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

England’s tough friendly against Egypt on March 3rd is closing in, and players are looking to secure places in the squad. This could help in their quest in making it to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, which starts on June 11th. England’s first match at the World Cup is on June 12th against the USA, but between the Egypt friendly and then, there will be two more friendly games, one against Mexico and another against Japan, which will help England boss Fabio Capello finalise his starting 11. Capello has to name his World Cup squad to FIFA on June 1st, and with the remaining two friendlies near the end of May, it is the all important time for World Cup hopefuls.

With Chelsea’s Ashley Cole already in a race to get fit for the World Cup, Tottenham’s Aaron Lennon is again a cause for concern, as he struggles to get back to full fitness to be selected for the squad to face Egypt at Wembley. He is still on his way back to fully recovering from a groin operation, and while he is back running and training, he will be missing that vital match fitness. Unless he turns out in the FA Cup replay against Bolton next Wednesday, then he could miss his chance to be selected by Capello, who is a bit of stickler for players being at full fitness. Spurs have certainly missed him, their form dropping since his absence, and so could England, when they are looking for that dynamic spark.

Much of the worries about the England squad are surrounding Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. He is having a fantastic season, but there are worries, even from Capello himself, that his heading for a serious burnout after being overworked. One pundit stated that he is looking is such incredible form that it is only a matter of time before he breaks his metatarsal. If there is one player that England need on top of his game at the World Cup, it is Rooney, who pretty much carries all of the attacking threat on his shoulders. His form should put fear into all opposition, but in football terms, there is a long way to go between now and that first match of the World Cup.

The race for the striker spots is the most prominent one in England’s preparations. With Fulham’s Bobby Zamora in cracking form as well at domestic level, there are calls for Capello to give him a shot. Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe should be number two striker, but he is in a battle with Aston Villa’s Emile Heskey to start. Heskey, who has been missing games for his club, offers something different to complement Rooney’s style, but isn’t as potent as Defoe in front of goal. This is where Zamora, if he can sustain consistency, could be important. He has the power and skill to hold up the ball in the Heskey role, as well as being able to find the back of the net like Defoe. He could be an ideal solution, but needs to be tested fully at international level. With Darren Bent, Theo Walcott, Peter Crouch and Carlton Cole all looking for places, Capello has a lot of work to do.

But one January transfer that has caught the eye, was Manchester City snapping up of Adam Johnson. Why? He is a left footed winger, an area where England have struggled for years, with Chelsea’s Joe Cole, offering the best solution there. Johnson has made one appearance for the England Under 21’s, but caught the eye in scoring 11 league goals in 26 matches from his left wing position for Middlesbrough this season. He may well get a look in during the friendlies, and could be one of the surprise names to make the England World Cup squad for South Africa 2010.

Bobby Zamora – 10/1 at Bet365
Adam Johnson – 9/2 at Blue Square
Darren bent – 9/4 at Bet365
Peter Crouch – 2/5 at Bet365
Ashley Cole – 2/9 at Ladbrokes
Carlton Cole – 13/8 at Ladbrokes
Theo Walcott – 9/4 at 888Sport


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