Thursday, 22 May 2014

England World Cup Squad 2014

Given the limited pool of English-born players in the Premier League, the make-up of the England squad holds few surprises. As I'm sure for many, the inclusion of a number of young players is a heartening thing, coupled with the more sober expectations this time round.

One thing, though... I do think it is a mistake not taking Ashley Cole. The question should not be over the excessive coverage for the left-back slot but in terms of the contingent of defensive players generally — yet another example of the rigidity of English thinking. Great backs can play anywhere along the line. Great coaches deploy their troops accordingly (Venables played David Platt at right back in Euro 96). Quality full-backs should be inter-changeable, left and right, especially given the preference by some teams to place wide players on the "wrong" flank these days, inviting "inside" rather than "outside" play. 

Cole was out of favour much of the season at Chelsea (a personal bit of point-scoring by Mourinho, one suspects) but had a great finish and is still one of the best. Real Madrid do not chase 33-year-old players for nothing. I can't say I would look forward to an evening out on the town with John Terry but he's still probably the top English centre-back around, too. Throw him into the mix and you'd have a back line featuring three players from the same club — Cahill, Cole, Terry. This surely wouldn't have been a bad thing?

So... Manchester City won the league. Could have told you that in August. See my article for the late Word magazine below. League position correlates directly to the size of a club's player wage bill. And does so with rare exception.