Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Final 23 - Part III - Midfield

David Beckham - It seems so long since Beckham has played to his full potential for England. Who can forget his free-kick in the last minute vs. Greece in what was the best solo performance I have ever seen? It's about time Becks started whipping in those dangerous balls, bursting the onion bag with a Bend It Like Beckham special and playing a simple pass instead of the 60 yard Hollywood ball (we'll never forget you Ron). Has previous at World Cups so hopefully it'll be third time lucky for the tattooed superstar.

Steven Gerrard - Two words: Stevie 'fuc*ing' Gerrard. Cross your fingers, toes and handkerchiefs that Gerrard can play for England like he does for Liverpool. Needs to score more for England. Great player going forward, great in the tackle, brilliant passes, great stamina and leadership. Stevie's the man. He can also make women faint by just being in their presence and doesn't mind get punked by a little kid

Frank Lampard - The footballer formally known as 'Fat Frank' has graduated from promising fringe player to essential goal-scoring midfielder. His impressive outings for Chelsea finally convinced Sven to choose him over Paul Scholes, a decision made easier when Scholes retired from international football. Bags loads of goals for England and Chelsea, Frank will start in the middle with Gerrard, and if they fire things look good for England.

Joe Cole - Despite looking like a hungover tramp with a massive head, Joe Cole is England's most improved player of the season and has guaranteed his starting place with a number of highly impressive performances for both Chelsea and England. His finishing is still not as good as it should be, but Coles's trickery and new found strength offer England a little something extra.

Michael Carrick - Can play the holding role and can pass the ball. Carrick has really come on leaps and bounds this year at Spurs and played pretty well against Uruguay. Although Sven will perservere with Lampard and Gerrard in the middle, Carrick can actually play the holding role in the 4-4-2 better than anyone else. Yes, even better than Phil Neville or Owen Hargreaves (of whom I must admit to being a fan).

Shaun Wright-Phillips - Small enough to be included as hand luggage the little guy adds another dimension: pace. He's quicker than Tony Blair going round with a chequebook at a Labour Party fundraiser. Sorry a Number 10 fundraiser (no Jack Dromey). But at £23 million costs more! People who say he shouldn't go because he hasn't played that much for Chelsea are missing the point. His pace can really stretch defences. These foreigners don't like them up 'em.

Kieron Dyer - I am sure this selection will raise a couple of eyebrows in a manner that would befit Roger Moore or the Rock. If fit, I think Dyer should go he is really pacey and a top quality player. Despite their unquestionable talents the starting midfield 4 (Becks, Lamps, Gerrard and Cole) have misfired as a unit too many times and consequently it would make sense to have the double pace injection of SWP and Dyer. A friend of mine once overheard Dyer saying, after the 2002 World Cup, that he would never play for England again 'because they're rubbish'.

Kevin Nolan - The trickiest selection. I changed my mind on this one. Having initially decided to take 5 strikers, I am now going to go with 4 and take Nolan as an extra midfielder. Tough, uncompromising, box-to-box, goals there's not a lot he can't do. He won't make the 23 in all probability cos Sven doesn't like Bolton (for once I must agree), but with Nolan there the midfield is covered and him and Dyer can play as an auxiliary forward if needs must.

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