Five players England shouldn’t take the the World Cup

Ashley Young

A decent call for the worst Premier League player of the season and without a doubt the worse player in the Man Utd Squad. Watch Young play and there is a better than evens chance that he will give the ball away every time he touches it.

England struggle to keep possession at the best of times. Playing Ashley Young at the World Cup would

be like voluntarily handicapping ourselves. Plus there is that whole diving thing.

Michael Dawson


It’s hard to believe Dawson spent so long playing with Ledley King. A centre back who conquered his own lack of pace by being able to read the game becoming something of a master at the last ditch tackle.

I can only presume Dawson wasn’t paying attention because he has managed to combine two major flaws.

Dawson combines being slow with sudden and dramatic loses of concentration. If he was lightening quick then his pace would rescue his lack of awareness. Alternatively, if he was able to concentrate on his positioning for 90 minutes his lack of pace wouldn’t be disastrous.

As it is Dawson combines both. Opposition strikers would queue up to play against him at the World Cup.

Gareth Barry

Barry is enjoying something of a renaissance at Goodison Park this season. So much so that it seems unfair to include him here. In the end he has been. Although this is more because, of the weaknesses that Barry’s presence would compound than because, he is undeserving.

Never the quickest Barry seems to have lost perhaps another half a yard of pace over the last couple of seasons.

In an England central midfield that is already lacking pace Barry’s presence simply makes the engine room of the team to slow. At Everton this isn’t too bad as Martinez has surrounded Barry with younger legs leaving him to play the anchor man role. For England though he would likely be lining up with the post-30 somethings Gerrard and Lampard.

Imagine a midfield three including Barry, Gerrard and Lampard playing together in the humidity and heat of Manaus against Italy. It doesn’t bare considering.

Andy Carroll

In theory the presence of Andy Carroll in the England squad has a logic to it. The argument in late April/ early May will go something like this.

“Carroll’s been in good form in the second half of the season. His 13 goals were pivotal in keeping West Ham up. On his day he is unplayable, look at what he did against (insert a team who Carroll played fantastically against). You wouldn’t necessarily start with him but he offers a different dimension. He gives the team a ‘plan B’ for the last twenty minutes or so when you need to mix things up.”

Despite the rampant use of footballing cliches there is something to this. On paper. Unfortunately the history of watching England in the modern era shows that the gap between theory and reality is like that between a vicious hungry lion and a squashed tangerine.

The moment Andy Carroll, or any tall centre forward, comes onto the pitch all other English players will cease to attempt to pass the ball or get the ball wide. Instead the centre backs will launch a series of long diagonal balls up field aimed at Carroll. The opposing centre backs will quickly cotton on to this tactic and ensure they win every second ball.

Consequently, all the introduction of Carroll will do is offer England a quick and ugly way to lose possession. Even worse as England come under pressure for giving the ball away the long balls up to Carroll will increase in both frequency and inaccuracy. This will naturally increase the pressure even more. Until the inevitable happens and England concede. Bonus points are available for a frustrated Wayne Rooney getting himself sent off.

Joleon Lescott

When filthy rich foreign owners come into a football club there is a window of time where money is spent ridiculously on players who aren’t even conceivably worth the fee. Abramovich had Shaun Wright-Phillips for example. Man City’s owners have Joleon Lescott. The millions they have spent on Lescott in transfer fees and wages is hilarious but not actually funny.

There is a reason why both Mancini and Pellegrini have both seemed less than eager to feature the ex-Evertonian. It is because, at top level, International tournaments and Champions League games, Lescott’s lack of pace and game awareness are painfully exposed. If Lescott gets onto the pitch for England we will really be in trouble.

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