Will Someone Please Tell Martin Johnson It's 2009?

Sean KellyAnalyst IFebruary 5, 2009

Sometimes perhaps I tend to look into things too much, maybe I tend to talk rubbish most of the time, or maybe in a similar fashion to Martin Johnson I mentally still live in 2003.

Sadly, I don't think I'm still a 13-year-old boy; Martin Johnson, however, definitely hasn't left his World Cup-winning experience behind him.

That's a pretty stale comment to make seeing as Johnson has yet to see his team play the first Six Nations game under his command, but all you have to do is look at his selection to see the ex-England captain really hasn't moved on.

My problems start at fly half: Andy Goode?

OK, the bulky (I'm being pretty fair in my description) Brive fly half is the top points scorer in the Top 14, but in a similar style to 2003's Jonny Wilkinson, Goode will kick you points, but when it comes to flair or something more mercurial than tactical kicking, Goode does not step up to the international standard.

Goode will stand deep and try to push his forwards up the field, and, I imagine, take any points that come his way, and he will rely on his forwards.

However, I believe England's forward pack might not be up to the test Italy will impose.

I believe Johnson has picked the best back row he could have in the circumstances, even though it annoys me that it took him so long to put Steffon Armitage in the squad.

Joe Worsley on the bench? I don't think anyone can justify his inclusion, really I don't.

I would never have chosen Steve Borthwick as a captain. I don't blame Johnson for not changing his man, as it would have taken a very brave man to admit he was wrong on such an important role so early into his managerial career.

In a similar way to Martin Corry, Borthwick will give 100 percent every game, but unlike other international captains, for example Richie McCaw, he just can't inspire a team to win a game like others can.

Mark Cueto on the wing seems a brave decision. I believe there are better (and more exciting) wingers Johnson could have used. After watching his poor defensive performance against Clermont Auvergne, I just don't think he's the most reliable player, especially compared to Paul Sackey.

Taking the Autumn into consideration, Riki Flutey did nothing to seal his place in the England XV, so I cannot understand his inclusion when other inside centres are playing a considerable amount better.

Olly Barkley is one example of a 12 on form.

If Shane Geraghty was given the chance to dictate from Fly Half, you would have a Left/Right foot combination.

I think Mike Tindall is the wisest choice of all 13's possible, even though I would still like to see Bath's Alex Crockett given a chance.

Finally I should really talk about the exclusion of Golden Boy Cipriani. To drop such a young player without a proper reason seems to be a bit more than unnecessary. He was told he "needs more game time", but he seems to have gotten plenty at Wasps.

And even in his somewhat dodgy spell at the moment, I still don't think there's really anyone better unless he actually picked Geraghty.

When you look at Johnson's starting XV there are a lot of similarities to the World Cup Final-winning squad he was a part of.

A predominantly kicking fly half (Wilkinson - Goode), the second row captain (Johnson - Borthwick), the Second row jumper (Kay - Kennedy), the footballing hooker (Thompson - Mears), the reliable 15 (Lewsey - Armitage) and the short openside (Back - S. Armitage).

Perhaps I do look into things too much...