Gary Neville, Micah Richards, Ashley Cole and Stephen Warnock. What have these names got in common? Is it that fact that they have all played for England in the last few years, therefore acknowledged as international-class players? Or is it that they are all established Premier League full-backs that could comfortably get into most Premier League teams?
Well, both of those statements are true…but I was leaning more towards the statement that Matt Jarvis has comfortably coped with all of them this season, and has sometimes made them look silly. 24-year-old Jarvis has been the star of, what has been so far, a disappointing start for Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Many Wolves fans will agree with this and have been calling for Fabio Capello to take a chance on Jarvis for well over a year now. OK, yes it may have been a bit much to ask for Jarvis to be taken to the World Cup (although let’s face it, he probably would have done a better job than most of them did out there), but it is surely time that Capello and his cronies sat up and took notice.
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has hailed Jarvis’ recent performances and has called on Capello to take a look at his wing-wizard. Again, you might think that this is a bit biased. Well, plenty of pundits have jumped on the ‘Jarvis for England’ bandwagon, with the likes of Paul Merson, Matt Le Tissier and the ultimate critic himself, Alan Hansen, all praising his recent performances.
Jarvis, who joined Wolves from Gillingham for a bargain price of around £600,000 in 2007, has been a fan’s favourite down at Molineux for some time now. He forged a great partnership with fellow-winger Michael Kightly, a partnership which was a key part of Wolves gaining promotion in 2009.
Last season, Jarvis proved he was Premier League quality with a string of good performances; with one of the highlights being when he scored the third goal in a crucial 3-1 win against West Ham – a game many saw as the one which ensured Wolves’ survival.
Now, it’s only fair to look at the competition for a place on the wing for England.
Stewart Downing – Has had a decent start to the season at Aston Villa, but has struggled to hold down a place in the first team.
Ashley Young – Has looked impressive for Villa this year, but didn’t impress in his first start for England, against Montenegro earlier this year.
Aaron Lennon – Struggled with injuries this year and has not had the best start to the season at Spurs.
Shaun Wright-Phillips – Rarely gets a game for Man City these days, with most of his appearances coming from the substitute’s bench.
Adam Johnson – A player in the similar type of mould to Jarvis, Johnson is probably one of the best English wingers out there. However, his off-the-field antics and Mancini’s tinkering has seen him dropped to the bench a lot this season.
So, I think it is fair to say that Jarvis at least deserves to be called up to the squad. With the France friendly just around the corner, it seems the perfect opportunity for Capello to try out some new blood.
After the disappointment of the World Cup, it seems only fair that new players be given a chance in the under-achieving England squad. The likes of Jarvis, Johnson and Young could well be the future for England, let’s just hope Capello realises this and stops picking the same old players.