When Scott Carson haplessly fumbled the ball into net against Croatia you’d have been forgiven for thinking his international career would be cast into the wilderness, so his recall for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland may well elicit feelings of confusion as England enter a ‘new’ era.
His last England appearance against Germany in November 2008 brought about another blunder to add to the substantial list and having included Scott Loach and Blackburn’s Frank Fielding to give them a taste of international football in the squad for the recent friendly against Hungary, the West Brom keepers’ return seems to make no sense.
Since that fateful error which cost England a place in the European Championships, his performances for West Brom have done little to substantiate his place in the England squad and it only serves to highlight the scarcity of the Italian’s options.
Although Joe Hart will remain Capello’s number one goalkeeper, with Ben Foster likely to be deputising, the manager’s decision remains bizarre – especially when you trawl through the footage of West Brom’s visit to Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season. If anything, such a performance should have reminded Capello of why he omitted the 24 year old.
The principle perhaps runs deeper than this surprise selection, as the decision to leave out Frank Fielding and Scott Loach albeit as a replacement for David Stockdale is a gross denial of the need for change. For they would not have played unless improbable circumstances required it (i.e. an injury to both Hart and Foster) so why not continue to ease them into the setup as opposed to returning to a player such as Carson.
Before the World Cup, he cast eyes upon the younger players England offer and deemed them too delicate for such a high-profile competition and his misguided trust of experience has since been brought into question by this season’s glimpses of Walcott and Adam Johnson.
His selection for the game against Hungary offered hope that he was set to instigate a new era but many will wonder whether the return of the likes of Scott Carson and Matthew Upson shall end in a feeling most England fans have become accustom to: disappointment.
These questions will have to be answered during a tricky qualifying campaign but one thing is for sure, the Italian’s defiant sentiments may wear thin if they do not come to early fruition.