Fabio Capello unveils his ‘chosen’ 23 Lions

1st June 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

Whilst many were expecting few surprises when Fabio Capello named the 23 players heading to South Africa as part of the England team, the Italian kept everyone on their toes throughout the afternoon and even had jaws dropping with some of his casualties.

The headline was the omission of Arsenal’s pacey winger Theo Walcott, who ironically stole all the headlines back in 2006 when Sven Goran Eriksson put his faith in the potential of Walcott when he was just 16 years-old. Four years on, and with Theo Walcott claiming only a few days ago that he didn’t deserve a spot in Germany 2006 but is entitled one now under Capello, and Theo’s South Africa adventure has come to an abrupt halt without putting a foot on African soil. A possible reason? Theo’s poor and unimaginative displays in England’s recent pre-World Cup warm up games against Mexico and Japan. The fact Walcott was handed a place in the starting eleven for both games would suggest Capello was desperate to use the Arsenal winger’s pace and agility to his advantage, but Walcott still lack an end product and evidentially won’t travel to South Africa because of his hesitance in the final third. And rightly so in our opinion.

Another mini-shock, although not as high profile as Theo’s exclusion, was the removal of Leighton Baines from the England camp, with Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock seemingly snatching his reserve left-back role from under his feet despite Warnock not playing a single minute in either of England’s recent friendlies. Baines, however, was given the chance to impress against Mexico from the start, although the Everton full-back didn’t seize his opportunity, looking like a lost sheep throughout the opening 45 minutes and leaving England exposed and vulnerable down that left-flank. In fairness, we hope neither will be needed in South Africa anyway as Ashley Cole is world-class in that position and pivotal to England’s chances.

In midfield, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone and Adam Johnson were left out. Scott Parker’s omission was obvious because of his failure to play any part in the two recent friendlies, while Tom Huddlestone gave a disappointing account of himself when handed that holding-midfield role against Japan, with his sluggish manner proving infectious to the rest of the team on the day. The latter, the bright and wonderful Adam Johnson, will certainly feel hard done by after a sublime finish to the season with Manchester City. Sprightly, confident, skilful and fearless… the lad is a natural menace from either wing berth and we were disappointed to see his name mentioned as one of seven leaving for home.

Last and least, Darren Bent. Despite finishing as the Premier League’s third best striker at Sunderland, Bent failed to nail down a spot in Capello’s final 23 after a less than impressive display against Japan last Sunday. Granted Bent wasn’t given some regular service, feeding off scraps throughout the first period, but it’s another occasion of many for the former Tottenham forward where he hasn’t grabbed a golden opportunity to shine on the international stage. His exclusion was another obvious decision from Fabio Capello.


So, here are the seven players who missed out on making the final England 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup:

Michael Dawson, Leighton Baines, Tom Huddlestone, Scott Parker, Adam Johnson, Theo Walcott and Darren Bent


Official England 23-man FIFA World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: David James, Robert Green and Joe Hart
Defenders: Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Jamie Carragher, Ledley King, Stephen Warnock and Matthew Upson
Midfielders: Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Philips, Michael Carrick and Joe Cole
Forwards: Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe

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