Monday, May 17, 2004
ESPNsoccernet: May 19, 12:46 PM UK
Your Verdict: England Squad
England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson announced his preliminary 23-man squad for Euro 2004 and turned to Tottenham's Ledley King and Liverpool's Jamie Carragher to solve England's central defensive problems.
The Swede left out fans' favourite Jermain Defoe, striker Alan Smith and defender Gareth Southgate - who are all on a six man standby list.
Here's what you had to say about the England squad:
England will never win a major title with a career disappointment like Emile Hesky in the squad. England need creativity, spirit and heart. Two players that would give them that is Shaun Wright-Phillps and Alan Smith.
I know that SWP is not very internationally experienced, but Wayne Rooney wasn't when he became and England fixture. SWP is a guy I would like to see come into a game with 20 minutes left, use his blazing speed and set up or score a winning goal.
After viewing Sven-Goran Eriksson's England squad I have some concerns over the centre of defence. If John Terry or Sol Campbell pick up an injury we have no centre-back specialist in the squad.
As replacements we have Jamie Carragher, who has mainly played as a fullback this season, and Ledley King, who has been playing in the Tottenham midfield. I fear that a team like France will rip us apart if we do not have two specialists out there.
England could always rely on a strong defence but I'm not sure Eriksson has picked the best men for the job this time.
To win a major tournament you need strike power and players that can produce a sparkle going forwards. To Include the likes of Nicky Butt and Phil Neville ahead of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jermain Defoe is ludicrous.
Their are plenty of players, such as Owen Hargreaves and Steven Gerrard, who can do a holding job and have been playing regularly for their clubs. Neville and Butt are just taking up valuable places for players who can actually add a different dimension to the squad.
Being a foreign observer of the England national side, there's no real surprises in the squad selected for this summers EURO tournament. SGE's sticks with the tried and trusted. But England do face a problem or two. First of all, the lack of a natural sided leftie is something, which should have been addressed a long time ago.
Shaun Wright-Phillips should have been drafted into the squad a year ago in order to be gelled with the side. Having Paul Scholes on the left wing has to be disappointing for the Swede.
I do not think the lack of Ferdinand would be that big a problem during the tournament, as Sol Campbell and John Terry are very much in-form players at the moment. However, I can see a problem in the forward line. Basically, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen are great footballers, but they're far to much alike each other!
If was was the manager of either France, Croatia or Switzerland, I would be more intimidated by the prospect of facing a strong physical forward like Shearer or Les Ferdinand ! I'm not saying they should have been called up, but in the air, England won't get many goals. Because as I said, the England forwards are far too much alike. Which is also why I believe it was correct to omit Jermain Defoe, although he's had a terrific season.
Henning Andersen, Denmark
I think that Eriksson has got the squad just about right. I cannot say that I agree 100% with all his selections but he has cover for every position and the squad looks balanced.
My only worry is who he will play on the left. Eriksson has intimated that Gerrard will play out there but if you look at his performances this season he has been world class playing in midfield - ditto Frank Lampard.
For me Scholes has had the worst season out of the central midfielders and it should be his talents that are shifted out to the left, letting the in form [players do there thing in the centre of the pitch.
Well, he's clearly made at least one mistake and I mean that in a logical sense. Why does he need Phil Neville when there's so many left and right backs? Bridge, A.Cole, Carragher and G.Neville. As well as Hargreaves and Butt (why was he included ahead of Parker) who will both be ahead of him in the defensive midfield pecking order.
Should have had Defoe over Vassel
Smith/Beattie over Heskey
Parker for Butt
Wright Phillips instead of Phil Neville
Happy about J.Cole and Carragher
Why hasn't Barry even been considered?
He should bench the out of form Scholes and play Gerrard and Lampard who could be the midfield duo of the competiton.
I agree with all these points and I just wish someone could tell Sven moreover that he could answer the questions. All we can do now is hope he makes the right decisions and that's all there is to it.
I think he has it spot on, except I would have selected another forward and dropped one defender. My selection for forward would have been Defoe, and I'm not that crazy about Carragher, I think he's marginal at best.
I can already picture yet another boring display by the England squad in this summer's tournament. Heskey? Butt? These are players fit for the
long-ball game, and only the long-ball game. Anyone who has watched
Liverpool's last game of the season will know how poor Heskey's finishing
On the other hand, look at Defoe's awareness in front of goal in his
game against Wolves. I believe Defoe should have been picked in Heskey's
place, whilst Wright-Phillips in Butt's place.
England will be lucky to make it out of the group stage. They MIGHT beat Switzerland, but France and Croatia will prove too much. The problem is not their lack of a left-sided midfield player, as most people think, it is the perennial lack of a creative genius with dribbling skills that has plagued England since the days of Paul Gascoigne. Frank Lampard MAY turn out to be that player, but not yet this year.
I don't understand the constant yearning for a natural left sided midfield player, surely it must come down to choosing the best players as the first priority and you play to whatever suits them.....in England's case a 4 man diamond formation with intelligence means anyone can manouver within reason!
The width should be the job of the full backs in most cases! I feel we are strong overall and if we play OUR game with pace and purpose we should go far!
Can someone please explain to me why the Neville brothers have been retained for Euro 2004? They are both, at best, mediocre Premier League players who have a history of showing their inadequacies at highest level.
For example, four years ago against Portugal in Euro 2000 both Nevilles were found hopelessly wanting. Can these two clowns still be the best we've got? Surely not, Sven?
Heskey has scored 12 goals in 47 appearances for Liverpool this season. Vassel has scored 9 league goals as has Rooney, all season, where as Defoe has scored 7 since joining Tottenham only a few months ago.
Owen is hardly in great form either, so surely you have to go with the forward that is on form and that would be Defoe. Also Shaun Wright Phillips has had a superb season, but still can't make the side up against the likes of Phil Neville and an constantly injury prone Kieron Dyer.
If young players who are playing well, still can't get in the side, because Sven sticks with the same players most of the time, then what else can they do to break into the squad ?
Overall, a pretty good selection, and one that has the ability to go along way in the tournament, "with a little bit of luck".
But a couple of choices truly baffle me. Richard Wright as standby keeper? As far as I'm concerned, Nigel Martyn has been the form English keeper of the second half of the season, and deserves to go as number 2 at least. But to bring in Wright, who's been playing reserves football behind Martyn at Everton, is insulting to Martyn, and is absolutely bizarre.
Finally, and most importantly, the lack of a backup stopper. No matter what Sven says about King and Carragher, there is a definite hole in the squad. Keeping in mind that a central defender is more likely to pick up yellows than any other position, there is definitely a need for a backup recognised centrehalf.
I would would have thought Wes Brown would have been ideal, as he is now fit and in excellent form. If not him, then at least Matthew Upson. But relying on Ledley King, who played central midfield all season, and Jamie Carragher, who played at fullback, is just too much of a risk. And yes, I know Phil and Gary Neville can play there too, but that does not substitute for a recognised, experienced centrehalf in a major tournament.
Heck, even Martin Keown would have been a better choice.
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