England does not possess the most gifted players in the world, we’re no Brazil. But there are plenty of top English players who, despite an extremely successful season this year, are highly unlikely to be in Fabio Capello’s plans for the World Cup this summer. Whilst some like Darren Bent, Joe Hart and Jermain Defoe may be able to force a way in there’s some players who just can’t seem to get there. And here are a few of them:
Bobby Zamora (Fulham)
Calls for Zamora to play for England have been ridiculed by many and it would be hasty to call up a striker who has only managed one good goal-scoring run. But there is more to Zamora’s play than just goals and his hard-working style of play endears himself to the teams that he plays for. He won’t make it to the World Cup as there are too many players ahead of him but a call-up is not as ridiculous as it sounds.
Gary Cahill (Bolton)
Bringing up a Bolton player in this category given their relegation form seems strange but Cahill has been consistently impressive for a few seasons now and is too good for Bolton, his powerful defending style would surely be good enough for the England team. But he will be overlooked as Bolton are unfancied and, like Zamora, there are lots of English defenders who are rated higher than he is.
Roger Johnson (Birmingham)
One of the surprise success stories of the season – Johnson and defensive partner Scott Dann have been impeccable in the heart of Birmingham’s surprisingly solid defence this season. Neither are likely to make it to the England squad but their league form has been stellar all year.
Ryan Shawcross (Stoke)
A surprise mention here; former Manchester United youngster Shawcross has been the best player for a hard-to-beat Stoke side who are pretty solid defensively and has proven himself to be strong, intelligent defender who could yet make a move to a top club.
Lee Cattermole (Sunderland)
Injury problems have stunted Cattermole’s season and lessened his chances of a place in the England squad but it’s notable that Sunderland’s drop in form came when Cattermole got injured earlier this season. He’s looked a very good player for Middlesbrough, Wigan and Sunderland and is criminally underrated, being much better than people seem aware of.
Michael Dawson (Tottenham)
Dawson’s career looked to have stagnated when Tottenham signed the likes of Jonathan Woodgate and then Sebastian Bassong to replace him but with Woodgate and Ledley King injured Dawson has had the chance to establish himself at centre back alongside Bassong and has looked fantastic as Tottenham push for a Champion’s League spot. He’s low down the list of England centre halves but he would be a capable international player.
Leighton Baines (Everton)
Baines is a very underrated defender who goes forward as well as he defends but his name is barely mentioned for an England call. He’s a lot better than Wayne Bridge who’s Ashley Cole’s current deputy and surely should go to the tournament. It seems unlikely that he will though.
Honourable mentions also go to those drifters who drift in and out of playing well for their club – the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Michael Turner and Titus Bramble who’ve all excelled at some point this season but then had mediocre spells. There was a big fuss when Capello took the England job over players with many believing that the Italian will be unafraid to pick players regardless of reputation unlike his predecessors Steve McLaren and Sven Goran-Eriksson, this has only seemed partly true so far with a few surprise call-ups but Capello’s seeming insistence that he can fit both Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard into the same team suggests that he will fall victim to the same mistakes his predecessors made. And ignore these top performers in the process.