England National Football Team: 8 Players Who Have Been Overlooked
Following Fabio Capello's resignation as manager of the English National Football Team, the only question everyone had was when Harry Redknapp would rise up to replace him. Players and other managers alike wanted him to replace Fabio Capello when his contract would end after the UEFA EURO 2012 tournament came to an end.
Providence, it seems, writes its own script. Harry Redknapp wasn't picked, but Stuart Pearce was appointed as caretaker manager by the FA. Much of the media's spotlight was on the team selected by Pearce to play against the Netherlands in a friendly.
From the looks of it, it seems to be a very good team with a huge injection of youth. Some players, in my opinion, have been left out, which makes me wonder what would it take for them to get a crack at the national team. Here are some players who should have made it.
1. John Ruddy
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Scott Carson and Robert Green are good goalkeepers—no offence meant at all. While the former is currently plying his trade in Turkey, the latter is helping his side, West Ham United, to return to the top flight. While it was heartening to see Stuart Pearce publicly endorse his support for Robert Green, he has overlooked the best British goalkeeper in the country after Joe Hart: John Ruddy.
Of course, some people would quote his red card against Chelsea as a sign that he has the odd mistake. But so do Joe Hart and Scott Carson, who have had their fair share of errors and gaffes. Ruddy has only one clean sheet this season for Norwich City, but his saves have been top-drawer and has continually proved that he belongs at a big club.
His manager publicly endorsed him for a call-up, and here's to hoping he does get called in the future for the Three Lions squad.
2. Ryan Shawcross
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Anyone closely watching the England squad would have told you that there are only three centre-backs, and John Terry wasn't one of them. There's Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, and the latter two Manchester United players have often been played out of position.
One player who was overlooked was Ryan Shawcross. Of course, many would point out to a slightly chequered record of him against opponents and their legs, but here are a few facts about his performance this season.
He's the captain of Stoke City, has led his side in the Premier League and in the Europa League, helped his side finish as runner-up against Manchester City in the FA cup last year and is still helping his side keep clean-sheets against some of the best who go to the Britannia Stadium.
He's one of the few who have deserved their chance to be in the squad and here's to hoping he does get called sooner rather than later.
He's a throwback to the old-fashioned centre-back who loves to win headers and is brave in the tackle. Should have been picked.
3. Nathan Dyer
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When the list of midfielders were announced, I first checked which wide-men were included on the list. I wasn't disappointed, but I personally felt that Stuart Pearce had genuinely overlooked some good players, none more so than Nathan Dyer.
He's been in fine form this season for Brendan Rodger's side and has scored quite a few goals for a wide player as well. He's quick with the ball and can selflessly contribute to the side's cause.
Of course, there is Theo Walcott, but he's been blowing hot and cold of late, as shown against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Nathan Dyer should have been picked, and hopefully should get picked sometime in the future.
4. Scott Sinclair
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He's scored 10 goals for Swansea City this season, including one against Chelsea, and he's a wide player. For goodness sakes, what're you waiting for, Psycho?
He's been better than Stewart Downing, who doesn't have a single assist or goal as a Premier League player for Liverpool. He's been more consistent than Theo Walcott and has played a vital role for Swansea City.
Like Ashley Young, his strength is when he's played on wide left of midfield, and he definitely merits a call-up to the squad.
5. Lee Cattermole
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He made his debut for Middlesbrough against die-hard rivals Newcastle United and played the entire 90 minutes of the match as a 17-year-old. His performance prompted former Boro manager Steve McClaren to say, "When we needed people to stand up and be counted, it took a 17-year-old to bring everyone together."
True, he's had his fare share of controversy, like Joey Barton, but his performances on the pitch indicate discipline and a willingness to take a knock or two for the team. He can effectively break up play and lead from the front.
Current Sunderland Manager Martin O'Neill commended his performance after the 1-0 win against Manchester City by saying, "Well done, absolutely brilliant. You've got a heart like a lion."
Scott Parker is an excellent all-action player who does what Cattermole does, but Parker is now on the wrong side of his 30s. If someone has to be groomed to play his role, then Lee Cattermole is a stand-out candidate.
6. Grant Holt
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Grant Holt, who has played in the top four divisions in England, has 12 goals to his name in the 27 appearances he's made, and has scored at least once against the traditional big four this season (Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool).
He's a traditional hardworking centre-forward with the ability to hold up the ball and bring his teammates into play. That makes him a valuable target-man in the Canaries' campaign to avoid the drop.
Surely, he deserves a nod over Fraizer Campbell, at least?
7. Danny Graham
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Like Grant Holt, 26-year-old Danny Graham has been in good form for Swansea City, having scored 12 goals in his 27 appearances in all competitions for the Swans. Some might argue that his goals were perhaps only against teams in the lower half of the table, but he did score a match-winner against Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium.
Also like Holt, Graham has remarkable work ethic and work rate, and he gives it all when he plays for his side. He should—ideally—be given a chance for the later friendlies against Norway and Sweden.
8. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
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I'm sure a lot of Arsenal fans will also be wondering over why Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, aka "Ox," didn't make the cut in Stuart Pearce's squad.
He's the youngest Englishman to score in a Champions League match. He's scored two goals in the league, is built like an ox, runs like one and is bound to develop into a great winger under Arsene Wenger's tutelage.
Of course, many would think 18 is too young an age to get an international cap, but didn't Christian Eriksen represent Denmark at the 2010 World Cup? Didn't Norman Whiteside represent Northern Ireland in Spain in 1982 at just the age of 17? For some players, age is just a random number, and the same can be said for Ox.
If he continues his form for the Gunners, then it won't be long before he ends up on the plane to Poland and Ukraine for EURO 2012.
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Of course, eyebrows are being raised over where Aaron Lennon, Michael Dawson, Michael Carrick, Frank Lampard, Joleon Lescott and many other players are.
Looking at Psycho's selection, he's keen on injecting some much needed youth into the side. While he does seem to have gotten a mixture of youth and old heads, the centre-back position could have perhaps been more secure had Lescott been picked for the match against Netherlands.
The central midfield players are all over 30 (Barry, Gerrard and Parker), excluding James Milner, who can move between central midfield and even fill in as a winger.
Stewart Downing is surprise call, considering he's been panned repeatedly for anonymous performances on the left flank for almost a whole season, despite Liverpool acquiring his services for almost 20 million pounds. He earned a man of the match for Liverpool's performance against Cardiff City, and if he can recreate the same form for the Three Lions, expect him to own the left midfield role.
Feel free to add criticisms or suggestions if any. Cheers!