Svenís Shocking Selections could be Englandís Undoing
Has Sven Goran Eriksson lost it? Selecting the strikers he did will either be regarded as genius or
lunacy. Paul Johnson reports, the latter is more likely.
The preliminary England squad, selected by manager Sven Goran Eriksson, for the upcoming World Cup in Germany,
screams talent and potential up front.
What it does not promote though is solid partnerships that have already been formed, or a seasoned striker,
with a cool head that can be a rock up front for England.
Sven may have some explaining to do when quizzed about his strike line up.
He has selected Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Peter Crouch and Theo Walcott.
Which selection is the most shocking it is hard to say. Of the four players probably only Owen, who has
spent the better part of this year sidelined with a broken foot, can truly claim that he deserves a birth in
this particular World Cup squad.
Owen has always been an immaculate performer for England and his skill with the ball coupled with his
ability to poach goals is a huge asset.
Of the other three players, Wayne Rooney has certainly earned his place in the England team; however
selecting Rooney to play is a huge gamble, as he is now suffering from the same injury Owen had suffered from
for the better part of this year. His club manager in Sir Alex Ferguson has roundly suggested that he feels
Rooney would be lucky to even take part in the final of the competition if England make it that far.
Rooney to my way of thinking is not the necessity that everyone seems to think he is. England have so many
world class players who can score a goal, and create chances that he is certainly not the only star in the
team. You just have to look at the England midfield line-up, and you will see that it is probably the best in
the world, with the four starters being David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole.
The selection of Peter Crouch though meritorious based on the fact that he provides a large target man up
front may not be the best either. While Crouch has undoubted talent in the air, he has been known to be
somewhat of an enigma in front of goal for Liverpool and is prone to blowing chances.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the selection of 17-year-old Arsenal man Theo Walcott. Arsenal bought him
from Southampton, where he was a star in the championship, but since transferring for a princely sum; he has
not seen action at Highbury. In fact he has not seen action anywhere, and that is not an ideal preparation for
a World Cup campaign.
Walcott it would seem has been picked by the manager on reputation, rather than anything he has actually
done on the pitch, as Eriksson freely admitted that he has never seen Walcott play, but thinks he may have
what it takes.
These selections have to make you wonder if the Swedish boss of England is actually trying to make them
easy pray for his home nation, who England play at the group stages, especially when there are a group of
strikers floating around just wishing they could have been picked in this most talented of England teams.
When players like James Beattie, Marlon Harewood, Darren Bent and even dare I say it a near 40 year old
Teddy Sherringham, who have been prominent at the top level of the game for much longer than Crouch and
Walcott, and are fit unlike Rooney are left out of the squad for strikers who have not proved their worth.
The question must be asked, has the England Manager lost the plot?
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