England boss Fabio Capello today named his 30-man provisional squad ahead of this summer's World Cup.
Capello has chosen a number of surprise selections in his squad, confirming rumours of a recall for once-retired Jamie Carragher at the international level, following doubts over the fitness of captain Rio Ferdinand.
Despite newspaper reports suggesting Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry would be left at home due to injury, Capello has included Barry, whom he clearly sees as a key member of this squad.
Sunderland's Darren Bent is included, having scored 24 goals this season, and West Ham's Scott Parker has also been named.
However, there is no place for Fulham striker Bobby Zamora and Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves.
It was thought Hargreaves may make the squad if Barry failed to recover from injury, despite only playing one minute of first-team football this season.
Tottenham duo Ledley King and Michael Dawson are included amongst the 10 defenders named. Their teammate, Tom Huddlestone, has also made the provisional squad.
Dawson is one of two uncapped players, the other being Manchester City's Adam Johnson.
It is also believed Paul Scholes declined a last-ditch attempt by Capello to lure him out of international retirement.
England's 30-man provisional squad
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Birmingham (loan)), David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Scott Parker (West Ham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Philips (Manchester City)
Forwards: Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (England)
So who should stay and who should be cut from the provisional squad?
It looks as if Capello has decided upon the three goalkeepers he will take to South Africa, naming three in his provisional squad. Hart, James, and Green are the three goalkeepers included.
In defence, Glen Johnson is the only natural right-back so Carragher may be asked to deputise in that role if needed. Baines and Warnock will be given the chance to impress and go as back-up left-back to Ashley Cole.
In the centre, Capello has many options. Question marks surrounding the form of John Terry and the fitness of Rio Ferdinand mean Dawson, King, and Upson all have good chances to make the final cut.
The midfield also provides depth. Barry and Lampard are likely to start in the middle. Carrick, Huddlestone, Parker, and Milner will be challenging for the role in the upcoming friendly matches.
Capello has used Gerrard on the left previously and looks set to do so in South Africa. Joe Cole, Adam Johnson, and James Milner could also play in that position.
Capello will also run-the-rule over right wingers Lennon, Walcott, and Wright-Philips where one looks set to miss out, as James Milner can also operate on the right flank.
In attack, Rooney, Crouch, Defoe, and Heskey were all likely to be included. Heskey has been a regular under Capello, despite not featuring regularly for Aston Villa, and is likely to start with Rooney in South Africa.
Darren Bent makes up the squad ahead of Zamora and will hope Capello decides to go with five strikers rather than four.
Barring any injuries, the players I feel may be cut are:
- Stephen Warnock
- Michael Dawson/Ledley King
- Michael Carrick
- Tom Huddlestone
- Adam Johnson
- Michael Carrick/Scott Parker
- Darren Bent