And others Fabio Capello would do well to consider
Whenever the England squad is named, there are bound to be one two players on the list that will raise a few eyebrows. Whether the fans are calling for the Frank Lampards or Wayne Rooneys of the side to be dropped in some grand gesture or jumping on the Daniel Sturridge bandwagon, as manager, you can’t please everyone. Or anyone if you’re Fabio Capello. But the England boss ought to be picking his players on form – as he suggested he would do when he took charge – rather than reputation. And there have been one or two players who have done little or nothing to justify their places on recent squad lists, yet others who could offer a lot more to the England side as Euro 2012 approaches remain likely as ever to be overlooked.
Andy Carroll vs Grant Holt
Not much has gone right for Liverpool’s £35million man since his big money move from Newcastle last January. While teams are open to having their pants pulled down during the January transfer window, particularly Premier League clubs trading England players with other Premier League clubs, £35million for Andy Carroll is crazy, even when you consider Chelsea parted with £50million for Fernando Torres. If Fabio Capello needs a target man for the England squad, there is no better player than Grant Holt at the moment. Grolty is good in the air, strong enough to hold up the play and bring others into the game and has the ability to turn and find a sharp finish. 52 goals in 99 appearances for Norwich across three divisions tells its own story. He has proved this season he has the ability to cut it in the Premier League and on current form the former Forest and Shrewsbury man is looking a far better bet than Andy Carroll.
Stewart Downing vs Scott Sinclair
Another player signed by King Kenny for big money who is yet to deliver the goods. Whether Dalglish has been out of the game too long to conduct sensible transfer business or other teams just enjoy ripping Liverpool off, the Reds have brought in some highly questionable players in recent seasons, spending several arms and legs in the process. Since Downing’s £18million move to Anfield in summer, the former Villa and Middlesbrough player has registered a staggering zero goals and zero assists for his new club, yet this misfiring winger still finds himself in the England squad. Swansea’s Scott Sinclair on the other hand, has been enjoying a far more successful season and has represented England at U17, U18, U19, U20 and U21 levels in the past. Skills, crossing ability, pace and a direct approach make him a frightening prospect for full backs. Sinclair is someone Capello should be seriously considering for Euro 2012.
Gary Cahill vs Ryan Shawcross
Towards the end of last season, it was decided that Gary Cahill was the next John Terry. The likes of Arsenal and Spurs were alerted and Bolton proceeded to name an outrageous price for anyone looking to prise their star defender away from the Reebok, despite him only having a year remaining on his contract. The other clubs refused to be held to ransom during the summer window and Gary Cahill has since shown them all exactly what they are missing. He has been part of a Bolton side which is rock bottom of the Premier League, having shipped 38 goals in just 16 matches. Of course, the Trotters’ problems can’t all be down to one player, but at times Cahill’s basic positioning and decision making has made an £18million asking price appear spectacularly unreasonable, even according to the Rafa Benitez Guide to Poor Business. Compare Cahill with Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross. Having produced a string of consistent displays since the Potters have been in the Premier League, Tony Pulis made him captain. Since then, Shawcross has continued to be one Stoke’s strongest defenders, showing he is more than comfortable at the top level – not only in the Premier League but also against some of Europe’s elite in the Europa League.