2010 FIFA World Cup: Tottenham Hotspurs in South Africa
Tottenham Hotspur have worked unbelievably hard this season and have been rewarded with the promise of Champions League football next year.
Harry Redknapp and the entire coaching staff have man-managed fantastically well and the result is a tightly knit squad.
The ultimate dream for any player comes every four years, which is to be called up to international play for the World Cup. With summer rapidly approaching, the temporary training squads have been named and it should be an interesting affair in South Africa.
11 Spurs have been rewarded for their hard work over the year and will be representing their respective nations for a chance to be crowned world champions.
Ledley King: Immortal (England)
At the ripe old age of 29, one might think that his best games are behind him. Think again. Since returning late on in the campaign from a niggling thigh injury Ledley King has been nearly unbeatable.
Though his knees are a constant problem, Ledley himself has stated that he has been feeling less pain after matches, and he finished the season playing three games in the span of a week.
Capello is making the right choice by selecting King, and at this very moment he should select King to partner Terry in central defense against the U.S. June 12th.
Michael Dawson: Or 'Daws' For Short (England)
I was pleasantly surprised to hear this selection. Behind Terry, Michael Dawson finished the season as the central defender in-form. His passion for club and country is no mystery, and while he has never earned an England cap, he very well may get the chance.
Many feel that 'Daws' tends to crack under pressure, but that hasn't been the case this season. Given that he stands in line behind the likes of Terry, King, and Ferdinand, youth may prove to be valuable as the latter two have injury concerns.
I desperately hope Michael gets to prove his worth, but to him, being there is going to go miles for his confidence. It certainly won't be the last time he's called on by his country.
Tom Huddlestone and Aaron Lennon: Friends, not Twins (England)
They've been through quite a bit together, starting with their moves to Tottenham Hotspur under Martin Jol in 2005.
And for that I thank Jol. Who can criticize a man who brought in two very young, future England stars?
Huddlestone can pass, shoot, and has improved as a playmaker, dictating the game from the central midfield. Lennon can sprint, attack his defender, and of late, put in a decent cross from the wing.
While I don't see Tom getting many starts, Aaron is a player the England will rely on heavily. He should start at right midfielder, and if he doesn't, he'll likely be Capello's first option when the team needs a spark off the bench.
Both will impress Capello, and both with be in contention for future World Cups.
Peter Crouch and Jermaine Defoe: A Couple of Straight Shooters (England)
Pictured here at the England camp in 2008, Crouch and Defoe know what it takes to represent the Three Lions.
The chemistry is evident. Having been under Redknapp together at Portsmouth, and now back at Spurs, Harry manages to get only the best from the two.
While Defoe has been in quite a dry spell of late, internationals seem to refuel his tank and refill his hunger for goals.
Crouch is an exciting addition to any attack thanks to his skyscraper appearance and his incredibly deft touch.
I believe Capello will look to take both men to South Africa to threaten all opposing defenses, and to good effect.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastian Bassong: Defending With Tenacity (Cameroon)
The Cameroonian pair have been magnificent at Spurs, though there is always room to improve.
Though Assou-Ekotto is a self-labeled "mercenary", his aggression and flair are what make him stand out as a defender. He is by far the top Indomitable Lions left back and will make himself known in 2010.
Bassong has done quite a job filling in for Ledley King and though he has hardly been tested as a full international, he has learned enough in his one season at Spurs to prepare him.
I expect both players to get plenty of playing time in in South Africa, and if they imagine every game as a home game, this team could cause quite a ruckus.
Wilson Palacios: The Honduran Hurricane (Honduras)
Big Wilson will be leading his team into a World Cup for only the second time in the nation's history.
He will be looking to put the boot to some of the world's best players, namely Spain's boys in the opening round.
Honduras looks like one of the roughest, headstrong teams entering the competition, and Palacios' mentality is no different.
I am hoping that they can break through the group stages and if they do, it will be because of 'The Hurricane' as enforcer.
Giovani dos Santos: The Forgotten Wonder (Mexico)
Giovani dos Santos has been an unfortunate acquisition for Spurs, but not because he is not good enough.
Dos Santos is truly playing some incredible football for Mexico and has been influential for them in the past year, including his MVP award in his quest of winning the 2009 Gold Cup.
He clearly has a determination to become a legend in Mexico and his first chance to prove his worth is in South Africa. He has the potential, perhaps he just needs the motivation. What better motivator?
Heurelho Gomes: The Octopus (Brazil)
This guy needs no introduction anymore, people know him.
After other-worldly performances for Spurs this season, Dunga had no choice but to include Gomes in his plans for this summer.
While he may not waltz into the starting 11 in front of Julio Cesar, I believe that Brazil has the strongest depth at keeper in the tournament, on the same level as Spain.
If given a shot, Gomes will impress and "The Octopus" will get the international recognition he deserves.