We're just a few days away from the big match between the United States and England, and I thought it was high time we spiced this up with a little good old fashion debate.
I have read a few articles lately by my compadres across the pond which have each made a rather startling claim. They have insinuated that other than U.S. keeper Tim Howard, not one other American player would make the famed 23 of England.
A bold statement, to be sure. One would almost say, a cocky statement. Not that there is anything wrong with that. At this point, all we have is talk. Why not talk up your team? The action on the pitch Saturday will be all that matters, of course. But for now, talk the talk.
Some claim not even Landon Donovan, the U.S. all-time leader in goals and assists at the age of 28, and recently voted one of the top 50 players in the world, would not make the 23. And if he did he would ride the bench.
Not Donovan. Not Clint Dempsey. Not Carlos Bocanegra. Not Jozy Altidore.
It got me thinking, maybe we should flip this around. The old Topsy Turvy. Just how many on the England squad of 23 would make the U.S. team? And how many would start?
I guess, in the end, it's the same argument, just posed differently. What we are saying is, if we combined a team between the two nations, how many from each country would make the squad?
Well, according to some, 22 of the 23 would be Englishmen, leaving only Howard in net.
Not so fast, boys and girls. I've got a slightly different take on this.
First, here are the England players that would make the team, without hesitation:
Wayne Rooney, Jermaine Defoe, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole. Those are the six guys I didn't even think about.
The second group is made up of those I thought about for a minute or two, and then included them.
Emile Heskey, Shaun-Wright Phillips, Aaron Lennon, Joe Cole, Gareth Barry, Glen Johnson. That's six more. Now we're at 12.
I did one more group. After looking at the 12 guys I added from England and the 12 I eliminated from the U.S., I was able to add four more Brits.
Jamie Carragher, Ledley King, David James (He is my favorite of the three English keepers) and Robert Green.
That's 16 guys. 16 England players and seven Americans. Still dominant, but maybe not as much as we are led to believe.
The seven Brits that would not make my U.S. squad: Keeper Joe Hart; defenders Michael Dawson, Matthew Upson and Stephen Warnock, midfielder James Milner and forward Peter Crouch (yes, Peter Crouch).
The seven guys that make the team from the U.S.:
Forward Jozy Altidore; midfielders Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey; defenders Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu and Jay DeMerit; and keeper Tim Howard.
Here would be my starting 11 (considering the players that are healthy for each squad as of today).
G- Tim Howard - U.S.
D - John Terry - England
D - Ashley Cole - England
D - Glen Johnson - England
D - Carlos Bocanegra - U.S.
M - Frank Lampard - England
M - Steven Gerrard - England
M - Landon Donovan - U.S.
M - Clint Dempsey - U.S.
F - Jozy Altidore - U.S.
F - Wayne Rooney - England
Agree? Strongly disagree? Think I'm crazy? All of the above?