Thirty for England

England Coach Fabio Capello has named his provisional 30-man roster for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. England will line up against the United States in their opening game on June 12 in Rustenberg.

The most surprising inclusion is Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who “retired” from international duty in 2007. His recall may confirm that the only reason he ditched the national side is because previous gaffer Steve McClaren is a twit. Or Capello’s desperation–with the brittle nature of Rio Ferdinand and Ledley King–was enough to sway the Reds stalwart.

Tottenham, who finished 4th in the Premier League and grabbed the last Champions League spot, place six players on the list, including Abbey Clancy’s boyfriend. Let’s hope Crouchie goes to SA for the crowd shots alone.


England 30-Man Preliminary Squad

GOALKEEPERS (3): Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham Utd.)

DEFENDERS (10): Leighton Baines (Everton), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester Utd.), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham Utd.), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)

MIDFIELDERS (12): Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester Utd.), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Scott Parker (West Ham Utd.), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City)

FORWARDS (5): Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester Utd.)

I Hate International Breaks

There exists within the confines of the Soccerati offices a long simmering and divisive issue.  It is an issue that has resulted in fisticuffs, lewd questioning of one’s parentage, and once the kidnapping of a beloved pet (never let it be said that Soccerati is a mature institution ).  I have never admired the format of international breaks during a season.  I find it disrupts the dramatic narrative of a season, and imposes undue pressures on clubs who are in a relegation or title battle.  The only reason I find myself paying attention to any of the results is to scan the injury lists and pray no Liverpool player has sustained a knock or worse.  Quite frankly there are too many games spread out over an unjust period of time.  Eventually the qualification process has to become more efficient.  I would rather see the qualifying process be compacted to the summer before a major international tournament. Friendlies could be played out during the first half of a season so as to give national managers time to organize an effective squad.  Spreading the process out over months only endangers both club and country. 

P.S.  Yossi Benyaoun injured his calf playing against Greece.  Peter Crouch almost suffered a leg injury that could have kept him out for an extended period of time.  Both players’ clubs are in tight relegation and league title fights.

P.P.S. Emile Heskey injures his calf against Slovakia. Aston Villa loses a key cog in their race to secure a Champions League spot.