Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Final 23 - Part II - Defence

Gary Neville - Dependable and ugly, Gary Neville will be England's right back. Solid in defence and a good crosser of the ball, his experience will also be crucial. Mouthy as anything, he is always likely to rile opponents.

John Terry - Should be captain, but Sven will invariably stick with Golden Balls. Inspirational for Chelsea and getting better with every game for England. Has rightly broken the Rio/Sol partnership and is a dead-on cert for starting. An excellent defender and key to England's hopes.

Rio Ferdinand - Classy. Kind of 21st century version of Alan Hansen. Classy on the ball with excellent football mind. Despite being slagged off continually in the Press, Rio's played better than anyone could be expected to when playing alongside Michael Sylvestre. His biggest problem seems to be momentary lapses of concentration, but I think his quality will prevail. A definite starter.

Ashley Cole - Injury-permitting Ashley Cole will be marauding down the left flank putting the fear of God into hapless right backs. Represents the perfect balance to Gary Neville. Missed by Arsenal and England equally when unfit, an England team with Cole has a far better chance of success than an England without him. His crap name should not be held against him.

Jamie Carragher - A Champions League winner, a quality solid centre back who can also deputise capably at right and left back, Carragher is unlucky to be playing at a time when England have such strength in depth. Committed, popular and ever-willing Carragher is ultra dependable and the kind of player Sven loves.

Ledley King - Whilst always looking impressive at Spurs, King has really upped his game and has virtually booked his place on the plane to Germany. King has been excellent whenever picked and his pace and power going forward is vital. Can also play the holding role in midfield, so Ledley would be the player in the squad as a Defender and Midfielder, therefore, making the squad 3 Keepers, 7 Defenders, 7 Midfielders, 5 Strikers and Ledley King.

Wayne Bridge - Would go as an understudy to Ashley Cole. Becuase Cole offers so much, I would feel safer having specialist back-up in the squad and Bridge has proved himself for England. I don't know why he's been outed from Chelsea in favour of his spitting image Asier Del Horno (who also seems to be for the chop) but hopefully his loan move to west London neighbours Fulham will get him games and confidence. Although, crippled by Paul Robinson it was evident that it would not have happened had Bridge been playing regularly enough to have confidence to clear it before colliding with Robinson.

Jonathan Woodgate - Despite being almost constantly injured since leaving Leeds, Woodgate is absolutely awesome and if he can prove his fitness at Real he should be in the squad. This is a big if, and it's more probable than not that he will not be fit enough to travel. If that is the case, I'd take...

Wes Brown - Although, Brown is injured almost as often as Woodgate he has started playing very well for Man Utd and is also capable of playing at right back.

It's a wonderful reminder of how much strength and depth we have in the England team.

Barry, I will hold you personally responsible for raising my hopes should they be dashed on the rocks this summer ;)
if it all goes Pete Tong blame Sven not me
Good selection Barry. Find it very difficult to argue against. I think Sven will pick Sol ahead of Woodgate and Brown, if he is at the races.
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