Scott Parker – A diamond in the rough

A troublesome season to say the least has greeted most Hammers fans this year, but one pleasing aspect has been the form of Scott Parker, a player who Capello would be best served to award a place in his England squad, for his form certainly warrants it.

With only 3 caps to his name, Parker remains one of the most talented midfielders of his generation and the fact he hasn’t yet added to it is nothing short of scandalous. To put this in perspective let me list a few players that have earned, and I use this word extremely loosely here, more caps than Parker.

Jermaine Jenas has 21 England caps, far too many for an energetic but somewhat pointless player, Phil Neville has 52 England caps, a solid player admittedly but if he wasn’t Gary’s brother and had played for say Everton his whole career, he wouldn’t have even half as many. Kieron Dyer, a player of such potential that has been injury prone for nearly a decade now has still found time somewhere to fit in 33 England caps from somewhere. It seems they are giving them away, but sadly just not to old Scotty boy. Even Darius Vassell has 23 for god’s sake.

If you analyse England’s midfield options they do all make sense to a certain extent. Whilst not a fan of Michael Carrick whatsoever, I can still at least understand the rationale behind his persistent inclusion in squads. The overlooking of Scott Parker on a consistent basis remains a puzzler though.

He’s consistent, a genuine box to box midfielder, good at organising a side, an underrated range of passing and he likes to get stuck in. At 29 years of age he’s in his peak, he has enough energy to put himself around the park and enough nous to know how to time tackles, position himself and know when to break forward. He may not be the complete package, but when looking at his rivals for the England squad, he’s certainly more rounded than anyone else there in his position.

Without him the West Ham side look a little lost and probably would have been embroiled even further in the relegation battle. Much like Michael Dawson looks a much better player with Ledley King beside him, constantly talking in his ear, the difference in Mark Noble’s play is notable when Parker’s alongside him, which also shows the quality of his leadership skills.

His West Ham colleagues and England internationals Robert Green and Matthew Upson have floundered in comparison this term. Upson remains England’s third choice centre half mainly by circumstance and a genuine lack of competition rather than anything else and he’s been relatively poor by his standards this season.

Green is a very good keeper but can be a little bit inconsistent which seems to have put bigger sides off of him in the past as there’s clearly a great amount of potential there, but for every game he’s made a stunning stop this season, a weak effort or inability to dominate his box follows. They are both very good players, but surely if they deserve a place in the England squad, so does Parker.

I’ll admit I’ve always been a fan of Parker’s and have always thought he should be in the England squad, the fact he has only 3 caps to his name is nothing short of scandalous. His treatment from Steve McClaren and Terry Venables upon his last international cap also grates.  Drafted in at the last minute in both an unfamiliar formation and role away to Croatia, where upon this half-arsed Christmas tree formation was badly exposed by the nimble Croat’s in a 2-0 mauling, and the way he was subsequently ditched straight afterwards, was quite frankly terrible behaviour on the part of two coaches who should know better.

He’s remained in the international wilderness since, and with Capello close to announcing his 30 players for the training camp ahead of the World Cup, where he will then narrow it down to 23 after closer inspection, if the England manager wants to be taken seriously on his promise to only pick players in form, he simply cannot ignore Parker any longer.

Written By James McManus