Since being appointed as the English national coach at the F.A Fabio Capello has insisted that players will be selected purely on form as opposed to reputation. With players such as John Terry stating that “If they (the players) continue their form at club level the manager will pick them so that is pressure on the more experienced players.” With various sports writers and commentators sharing the sentiment that England manager Fabio Capello has shown he has little regard for reputation, opting to select players on current form rather than past glories. It would appear fairly straightforward policy from the manager that players who play well for their club get picked ahead of those who are perhaps not playing so well but have done in the past and have big reputations.
Certainly Capello himself has stated that to be selected players must be playing regular club football “If he doesn’t play it’s impossible to pick him.” Talking her about Michael Owen but it is a sentiment that applied to all. That he cannot and therefore will not pick players that are simply not playing for their clubs. A distinct break from the former regime of Steve McClaren, where distinct culture of favourites seemed to have emerged, with certain big name players always involved regardless of club form.
Alan Shearer echoed these sentiments stating “Fabio Capello said some months ago that, to make it into his World Cup squad, players would have to be in form and playing regularly for their clubs.” Despite the possible connotations it could have had on the established English set up players responded positively to the emphasis on form with Terry saying that “It gives everyone confidence in the Premier League that, if they are playing well enough, they will get selected by the manager whether it a qualifier or a friendly.” Everyone was in agreement that Capello would be relying solely on players club forms to decide his England squads.
Yet there is no room in this current squad to face France for in-form striker, Kevin Davies despite the amount of injuries effecting English strikers at the moment. In his place we have Peter Crouch who having scored just one, extremely fortuitous, goal in the Premier League this season. This is compared to the four that the Bolton front man has struck, even though he is more highly regarded for the presence he can bring to a front line as opposed to his goal scoring record. It would appear reputations are carrying more weight than form at present. Carlton Cole also manages to make the squad despite also having a solitary Premier League goal to his name this campaign.
Also at the world cup, winger Sean Wright Phillips was taken ahead of Manchester City team mate Adam Johnson. The young former Middlesbrough winger had towards the tail end of last season been playing far more football at Manchester City than the more experienced Wright-Phillips.
On top of this Emile Heskey made the cut for the World Cup squad, even though he had fallen down the pecking order at Aston Villa behind Agbonlahor and Carew and was not playing much football at the end of the season. Joe Cole was another on the plane to South Africa who did not fulfil this criteria outlined by Capello. Having just returned from injury he was in and out of the Chelsea team as he struggled to find his form and fitness.