So, this time last year I decided to make a stab at predicting who would make the English World Cup squad. That squad which was just announced. I was aiming to get 20 of the 23 right... and now to see how I have done.
I had predicted James, Foster and Green to make the journey. Well, James and Green go, but Foster is left out for Joe Hart, and I have to say that is the right decision. Last September, Ben Foster was given his chance for Man Utd... with VDS injured, he was between the sticks for some high profile games, but put in some poor performances and didn’t make the step up I was expecting. Joe Hart gets the nod instead, and given the “quality” of the other options, that makes sense. Anyway, the third choice keeper has only been used three times in the history of the world cup, and one of those time it was a managers decision, not due to injury, so frankly our third keeper doesn’t matter.
So, the core of this I predicted, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, John Terry, but that is where it goes very wrong. I thought Fabio would only take 7 defenders, but he has decided to take 9! How was I to know that Lescott would become a pathetic defender? Still, it was to be expected that Wes “injury prone” Brown might miss out. Not so expect was the inclusion of Ledley “actually injured all the time” King in his place. Upson is for some reason consider worthy, even though he is shockingly bad, especially when compared to Michael Dawson, and Warnock gets Baines’ spot, which is hard to argue with as they are both pretty bland left-backs. But the shock here is the return of Jamie “I never cared about England” Carragher. When someone retires from internationals, and writes of how little he values international football in his autobiograohy, it looks pretty weak to phone him up, begging him to come back, when we are trying to compete seriously in a major tournament.
Well, this looks slightly better. I correctly said that Hargreaves would not recover in time, which is a huge shame, and I correctly argued that Walcott would miss out. I even predicted James Milner, which now looks a good call. Of course, Beckham would likely have been there if not injured, so that is understandable... but I look a right idiot for predicting Downing to make the cut, missing out SWP.
Finally, things looks good. I got all four, which is a nice way to end things. And given our options, it is clearly the right four.
So what can we learn from all this? Well, sometimes average players like Downing will be finally dropped, and sometime average players will continue to get picked for no discernable reason... I am looking at you Upson. Of course, our first 11 has not changed for the past year, so getting that right is no huge surprise. It was picking our second choice backline which proved the problem... mainly because England have such poor options in that field at the moment. When we have to take the permanently injured King, and beg Carragher to return, you know things are going badly. Considering I was aiming for the 20 mark, it seems I was slightly overconfident. You could argue that it was injuries to Brown and Beckham which set me back there, and given how close it must have been when choosing Warnock over Baines, I was actually closer than it looks.
My Final Score: 17/23
Anyways, here’s hoping that all 23 can give us a World Cup to remember.