After England’s miserable World Cup, Fabio Capello has vowed that changes will be made to the England squad and that some players will not play for their country again. In light of this statement here are the top five players who need to come into the squad and replace the old guard immediately:
1. Joe Hart
The Manchester City goalkeeper was exceptional whilst on-loan at Birmingham City last season and his exploits helped them finish in ninth place. He was rewarded by his efforts with a place in the PFA Team Of The Year, Birmingham City’s player of the year and a place in the England team for the World Cup. England’s goalkeeping situation at the World Cup was an interesting one as they had an older experienced ‘keeper, a good proven ‘keeper and Hart was the inexperienced yet very promising one. Debatably he had the best season out of all of them and perhaps did deserve to be England’s number 1, however apart from Rob Green’s mistake against the USA it’s hard to say if England would have fared any better with him in goal. However with David James now approaching 40 and Green looking unconvincing on the big stage, Joe Hart will surely be getting a lot more England opportunities now.
2. Michael Dawson
Tottenham’s Michael Dawson also had a very impressive season in the Premiership last year and fully deserved his place in the England team even before Rio Ferdinand’s injury. The fact that Jamie Carragher was selected ahead of him and played ahead of him in South Africa was a mockery. Possibly he will find it difficult to break into the England team with John Terry and Rio Ferdinand ahead of him but with Terry approaching 30 and Ferdinand approaching 32 and currently suffering from injury problems, his wait may not be too much longer.
England’s central midfield pairing has been tinkered with many times and it’s mainly been in an attempt to get Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard to play together in the same team. However the World Cup must surely have proven once and for all that it is just never going to work, England need a holding player in the middle and for the moment that man is Gareth Barry. But he is 29-years-old and England need an able deputy and eventual successor and the best man for that job is Tom Huddlestone. He is very good at breaking up play and his passing range allows him to pick out players in great positions. Barry doesn’t quite have the same passing range as Huddlestone so it could put more pressure on Barry to perform in games so he doesn’t lose his place.
4. Adam Johnson
Former Middlesbrough winger Adam Johnson made the step up from the Championship to the Premiership with ease last season when he signed for Man City. The 22-year-old became a regular almost instantly after joining the side and kept the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips firmly on the substitute’s bench. The tricky winger was in Capello’s preliminary squad but didn’t make the final cut, however he is sure to feature prominently in England’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. His versatility means that he can be used on either wing and his direct running should cause defenders all kinds of problems, definitely could be a key player for England.
5. Gabby Agbonlahor
After not even making Capello’s preliminary 30-man squad it’s fair to say that Aston Villa forward underachieved this season, but he will be desperate to force his way back into the reckoning. Gabby Agbonlahor possess a lot of attributes that England have been lacking upfront, he has the ability to play upfront on his own as a strong target man and can also play further out wide and use his blistering pace to deadly effect. It’s not often you get a striker with both of these qualities so he could be a very useful player indeed for England.