So, Capello has decided. As each of England’s provisional squad waited, nervously, hands clutched around their precious mobile phones, Sky Sports waited, vulture-like, ready to offer the public scavengers the feast of knowledge they required.
Walcott out. The most controversial decision of ol’ Fabio’s twenty-three alludes to a sense of frustration with the young Arsenal winger. Blessed with devilish pace and a powerful shot the former Southampton man promises much but delivers little. His pace can be all but matched by Aaron Lennon and his poor final ball is far inferior to the two right midfield players included in the England squad. Shaun Wright-Phillips offers a threat of goals and is experienced at international level, the only tragedy with his inclusion is that Mr Ian Wright will be given air time to deliver his “valued” opinions.
The only other surprise is the omission if Leighton Baines in favour of Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock although, witnessing Baines’ less than grand performance against the Mexican’s we really should have seen that one coming. Warnock is both a reliable defender and a reasonable athlete, and whilst not being in the same class as Ashley Cole, will offer a steady backup. Please though, Ashley, don’t get injured!
Today’s events show England and the FA in a rather shameful light. How the Manager’s decisions on who to omit and who to include were leaked to the national press at least three hours before the official announcement at 4pm is by-the-by, the real issue is why the announcement was allowed to reach the outstretched paws of Sky Sports and the masses on Twitter.
Sid Lowe, via his Twitter feed, derided the FA asking “What’s going on? Why can’t they just give us the list? What’s with this drip drip thing?” The truth is that the FA should have either announced the squad to the media at the same time as the announcement to the players or the players should have been forced to remain tight-lipped around the issue until the official announcement at 4pm. Let’s hope the rest of England’s world cup campaign is slightly better organised than today’s press releases.
p.s Will poor Theo end up here on his summer travels