After all the hype, anticipation and build-up, the FA finally revealed Fabio Capello’s 23-man squad for the World Cup at 4pm yesterday (an hour later than scheduled I might add). Unlike previous years, the squad selection sprung no major surprises or shocks, with Capello, for the most part, sticking with the tried and trusted players who saw him through the qualification process. As I mentioned on Sky News last night, the only really divisive decisions amongst supporters were the omissions of Arsenal winger Theo Walcott and Sunderland hitman Darren Bent.
Following the announcement of the squad, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp unsurprisingly felt the urge to air his opinion on the subject. Aside from criticising the intermittent manner in which the squad was announced, Redknapp condemned Capello’s treatment of Tottenham defender Michael Dawson and West Ham United anchorman Scott Parker, claiming that the pair felt like ‘ghosts’ within the initial 30-man squad.
Speaking to The Sun, Redknapp said “People on the inside who I know tell me Scott [Parker] was fantastic in training every day. He worked his socks off and could not have done any more, but whatever he did he wasn’t going to go.
“Someone said to me he felt like a ghost on the trip, like Dawson – they were there but not there, and they could sense that. They never kicked a ball and the manager didn’t really speak to them or give them much feedback. Capello might as well have taken 25 to Austria instead of 30. They made up the numbers.”
Given the fact that many were unsurprised by their eventual failure to make the cut, Redknapp questioned the decision of Capello to call up the duo even though he had no actual intent of taking them to the World Cup. This view is supported by the fact that neither of the pair received the chance to feature in England’s recent warm-up games against Mexico and Japan. The England manager is clearly aware of what likes of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand are capable of in defence, and aware of how well the likes of Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard perform in midfield, so eschewing the opportunity to try out the relatively untested pair of Dawson and Parker seems questionable. If Capello was not willing to give the pair the chance to prove themselves worthy of a berth within the final World Cup squad, then why did he call them up in the first place?
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