Debates have been raging during the weekend over Fabio Capello’s latest England squad with fans of various clubs offering their two cents on who should and shouldn’t be taking part in the upcoming friendly games. A lot of the attention has been focused upon Manchester City defender Micah Richards with scores of supporters taking to twitter to voice their displeasure that the 23-year-old wasn’t selected for the squad with the inept Glen Johnson and exciting Kyle Walker chosen ahead of him. Whilst Richards has enjoyed a decent season he is playing in a team with a midfield and attack that sorts out a majority of problems before they reach the defence making his job far easier than people realise. In my opinion fans of the national team should focus their attention on Newcastle United centre half Steven Taylor after Capello overlooked him in favour of England skipper and chief controversy courter.
Lets start with the fact that Chelsea’s ‘rock’ is currently embroiled in a racism scandal after he allegedly abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in a recent game – a matter that is currently being investigated by the police. Surely that is enough for the FA to suspend him from the national team? Dissension has plagued Terry’s career and whilst I could moan on about the example he is setting to today’s youth and that the hypocrisy surrounding his position as England captain is a farce, I’m not going to go down that route and use them as justification for the argument in Taylor’s favour. It would be disrespectful towards the Geordie defender to do that and paint over the fact his performances have been of the highest quality this season. Both players have been ever presents in the Premier League for their respective clubs so far this season with Terry statistically the poorer of the two. In his 11 games for Chelsea the 30-year old has been the leader in a defence which has conceded 15 goals and kept two clean sheets. Taylor on the other hand has formed a solid centre back pairing with captain Fabricio Coloccini and has played a major role in the Newcastle’s storming start to the campaign which has seen them conceded only eight goals and keep four clean sheets making them the meanest back line in the league.
Moving even further then just quoting statistics it’s evident that Terry’s performances have been on the decline for a while now. His failure to gel with Alex, David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic in the Chelsea rearguard is worrying and his presence as the ultimate dominator is rapidly dwindling. Surely that inability to form a cohesive partnership should worry Capello as he plans to introduce fresh faces to the England side? He isn’t the force that used to thunder into tackles, win every aerial duel and generally be that beacon of inspiration that drove Chelsea to success a couple of years ago. Nowadays his lack of pace is catching up to him whilst his movement and reaction time appear slower than ever. The way he was torn open again and again in Arsenal’s 5-3 win at Stamford Bridge a couple of weeks ago was an indicator that his best days are behind him. The same can’t be said for Taylor who has fought back from a succession of injuries to inspire Newcastle to their best start to a season in 17-years. The formidable partnership he has struck up with Coloccini has been the hallmark for success at St James’ Park and he seems to have matured greatly over the last 18 months or so. Admittedly I wasn’t the 25-year-olds biggest fan a few years ago due to his constant need to play up to the crowd which proved to be agitating when on the field matters were more of a concern. Luckily he has grown out of that and is now starting to display the ability that many saw in him as a teenager. His bustling approach to defending complements the cultured style of Coloccini much like it would Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Gary Cahill or Chris Smalling in the England squad. His aerial supremacy is second to none and it’s very rare to see him beaten to a header by a striker whilst he can also hold his own in an opponents penalty area. His discipline and awareness has also greatly improved and he isn’t diving into tackles anymore preferring to stay on his feet and make it harder for an attacker. I will acknowledge though that he isn’t the quickest, but I will say he is faster than Terry over 10-yards.
There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Taylor deserves the England recognition that Terry is constantly provided with despite the issues with his performances and personal life. Clearly he is getting by on reputation alone which is utterly wrong and it’s no secret that he is one of Capello’s favoutes. It’s no secret that the Italian avoids travelling to the North East to watch games instead preferring to stay in and around London and the North West. It’s clear that Taylor is currently the better player and at 25-years of age has both the maturity and experience to hold his own on the international stage. Whatever happened to Capello picking players in form?
What are your opinion on Terry’s place and does Taylor deserve a call up instead? Follow me on twitter for more debate @Kajynnep
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