After Wayne Rooney was ruled out of at least England’s opening two games of Euro 2012, everyone had their opinion on who should be given the chance to lead the line for their country this summer. However, many fans felt that an out and out goalscorer should be the answer, with Darren Bent the only man that fit the bill.
Of course this week we heard the news that Bent will face three months on the sidelines and may now not play another competitive game before the tournament in Poland and Ukraine begins which must give him just a slim chance of being selected. Fabio Capello’s departure may well give some out-of-favour players a chance to stake a claim for the number nine shirt for England, but it seems Stuart Pearce won’t be the man to give them that opportunity.
The fact that the likes of Danny Graham and Grant Holt were not given an opportunity this week in the friendly against Holland is a tad bazaar as surely the pairs form has been second to none this season of all the English hitmen. I wouldn’t be surprised if Andy Carroll, Jermain Defoe and Bobby Zamora were selected ahead of the before mentioned in-form strikers which further shows the lack of balls that appears to be in the England set up right now carrying on from the Capello era.
Poor decisions and selections aside, England will probably not win the Euro’s and the media will slate whoever is in charge and probably blame the wags or dwarf throwing as the demise of English national football continues. But what could have been?
Situation for you…England are one nil down in the Quarter Finals this summer against Germany with just fifteen minutes to go. ‘Arry or Pearce or whichever fool takes the job is looking constipated on the sidelines and has one substitution left to make, so who do want to bring on? Who is going to nick a goal, purely by being in the right place at the right time? A man that has been injured for the majority of the season – Michael Owen!
It is always to think what could have been, but if Owen had steered clear of injury this season he could well have been the answer for his country this summer. The former Newcastle and Liverpool striker may seem more interested in Horses and Twitter these days, but he is still just 32, not exactly retirement age, even for a footballer. The injury prone hitman has scored 40 goals in 89 games for England and even in his few games this season for United, proved he hasn’t lost his touch by grabbing three goals in fours appearances before his succession of setbacks.
Moving to Real Madrid was the beginning of the end for Owen, who had been the hottest young talent in the world while at Liverpool way back in 1990’s. An inconsistent spell in Spain saw him arrive at Newcastle United where he was greeted with thousands of fans chanting his name. But things didn’t work out; again injuries involved; which resulted in a free move to Manchester United where once again the physio has been busy. With a yard or two of pace now lost; can he return from injury and prove the doubters wrong?
The ideal situation would of course be for Rooney to be the main vocal point, but that hasn’t exactly worked wonders in recent times, so with Owen ready to make an impact from the bench, there would always be a faint hope of goals. Owen is expected to return from injury in the not too distant future and so perhaps a loan spell may show the FA that he still has it in him to make a difference at the highest level. So, I would sooner have Owen on my bench in the summer than the likes of Zamora, Danny Welbeck, Carroll and Defoe but obviously there is a lot of work to be done before that is even a possibility and perhaps I am living in the past but it’s not impossible. It is definitely a case of what could have been for Owen and England!
Disagree, which four or five forwards would you take to Poland and Ukraine? Let me know on Twitter: @Brad_Pinard