Pompey and England's Fab Four
England play Germany in a friendly at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin tonight and a quick glance at Mr. Capello's depleted squad show's there's a fair chance he could name four Pompey players in his starting line-up.
Beckham and Owen have been excluded due to the fact they have not been playing regular football and the injured list of: Lampard, Gerrard, Ferdinand, Rooney, Heskey, Brown, Cole (J), Cole (A) and Hart surely means our boys have a greater chance of performing together more that ever before.
Add to that; Robinson, Bullard & Parker who have been called into the squad as late replacements and the uncapped Mancienne, Davies and Agbonlahor and the chances surely increase again.
Pompey's fab four of James, Johnson, Defoe and Crouch have all featured at some point during Mr. Capello's reign but the most we have seen on the pitch at any one time recently is three - against Andorra, and that was only for 45 minutes until Defoe was replaced by Heskey at Half-Time
Could it be that tonight we see all four in England`s starting line-up?
Let's have a look in more detail.
England's England's No.1, England's No.1
Jameo has featured between the sticks in the last nine internationals and although he hasn't covered himself in glory he has made some sound saves and 'generally' played ok. I saw Jameo's main threat for his jersey to be Joe Hart, but since Hart's ankle injury he has had to withdraw from the squad and be replaced by Robinson and as I see it, if Fabio had wanted to assess Robinson he would have been in the squad from the start. It's for that reason that I can't see Robbo starting.
Scott Carson could potentially start against the Germans but on current form I wouldn't be convinced that his confidence is high enough. Carson did make a couple of smart stops from Lampard and Malouda on Saturday but the manner in which he was beaten by Anelka (twice) suggests he is not a keeper in form. Furthermore a quick look at the goals conceded coloum of the Premiership Table shows that West Brom have conceded 24 goals so far this season. The only other teams to have conceded that many are Stoke and Paul Robinson`s Blackburn!
There's only one, Glen Johnson, one Glen Johnson
Johnno, for me, has proved time and again that he is streets ahead of Wes Brown and should have already made the England No.2 shirt his own. With Brown on the injured list this is surely his chance to stake his claim once and for all and hold his position, but a couple of returning squad members might have different ideas.
With Joleyn Lescott potentially covering John Terry, Johnson's key threat to his starting berth has to come from Micah Richards. The Man City defender had looked an exciting prospect in an England shirt a year or so ago but an series of injuries seemed to have halted his progress. The only other worry for Johnno's starting position is debutant Curtis Davies, but I can't see him getting the nod over both Richards and Johnson.
Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe:
Up front we've Crouchy and Defoe who score for fun
Looking at the available attacking options it's difficult to see Fabio picking anybody ahead of our two forwards.
As I see it with Rooney, Heskey and Owen out of the way why wouldn't he pick JD and Crouch?
In my book if they do not start (or at least play) together tonight Fabio is sending a clear message that, as a partnership, they have no England future.
There is of course a chance that Capello might play with a lone striker, but again who could that be other than Crouch? Bent maybe!
After four consecutive victories in 2010 World Cup qualifying the former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach admitted that, whilst he is keen to experiment, he will not be implementing sweeping changes. He also went onto say that he believed that it's dangerous to put too many new players into the team, but given he only has four of his likely first-choice line-up for England's first visit to the German capital since 1972 there has to be a fair chance that the regular squad players will get their chance
Let's hope so!
My probable line-up
Johnson, Terry or Lescott, Upson, Bridge
Walcott, Carrick, Barry, Wright-Phillips
Thoughts and comments below as always please