columnist Steven Woodgate looks at the recent England withdrawals and
why it pays to be one of the Premier League's ‘powerhouses'.
I do find it ironic that with a mid season England friendly coming
up, the so-called big guns of the squad have already pulled out. Liverpool's
captain Steven Gerrard leads the absentees, with Manchester United's Rio
Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney also missing out.
Rafael Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson are obviously playing the
game. This just shows me that Capello has not overpowered the most dominating
managers in the Premier League as of yet. I am sure that Martin O'Neill, Tony
Adams, and Mark Hughes would want their most influential players at their club
training this upcoming week. A call up to their players would mean more.
Not being a ‘powerhouse' in the league is a hinder rather
than a benefit as it does seem that the big managers do have their own ways.
Gerrard has occurred a mystery torn leg muscle injury that I
am sure if was wearing Liverpool's red he would be playing. I am certain he
will be playing for the Reds next weekend.
Ferguson clearly left out Ferdinand and Rooney to protect
them further injury and with the England game on Wednesday it was only convenient
that they happened to miss the Stoke City game as well. They were not missed as
Manchester United hit Stoke for five, but the Red Devils depth of talent was
too much for the Potters.
The matter of it is only a ‘friendly' does come in to the
I am sure if it was a competitive international Fabio
Capello would have more urge to force those players to join the squad, to the
much annoyance of Ferguson and Benitez.
John Terry is also struggling but you see no signs of him
pulling out. You would see Terry playing centre half if he had two broken legs,
impaired vision, and severely bruised nipples. He would still perform better
than the Arsenal joke of a defence at present.
The person who I feel much sorrow for is Manchester City's
Joe Hart. He was possibly in-line to make an appearance, unfortunately, the
former England number one Paul Robinson has taken his place, and I bet
Tottenham still wished they had him.
Emile Heskey will not be able to carry on his good run of
form for the Three Lions as injury have robbed Capello of his main striker.
Even with Rooney and Heskey missing, Capello have overlooked Michael Owen once
Owen has only been making cameo appearances for Newcastle
United at present, so it is understandable that the lack of match practice and
sharpness should be in question.
Chelsea's Ashley and Joe Cole are going to miss out and
Manchester United's Wes Brown will also be missing.
However, this may be Capello's chance to oversee his fringe
and future players. Not really, a full strength squad to play one of best teams
in the future then.
Uncapped Aston Villa's pair Curtis Davies and Gabriel
Agbonlahor may have the chance to shine, as does the surprise inclusion of
The Chelsea youngster has been rewarded for his fine
performances in the Under 21s. The defender is currently on loan to
Wolverhampton Wanderers and performing well.
Without the big players, England versus Germany loses
significance. Although it was not Capello's choice, next year's friendlies
against Slovakia and Slovenia have been touted so England can play morale
boosting games rather than financially spinning ones.
I am sure that these problems of the release of players will
still be of effect next year. Capello do need to make some ground and assess
these players for himself, especially if it is a competitive fixture.
With new players involved in the squad, it will be
interested but I am sure that Capello would prefer his strongest at his