Interim England manager Stuart Pearce promised excitement and then picked Stewart Downing ahead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the friendly with Holland.
Granted, Oxlade-Chamberlain is not in the category of a Wayne
Rooney/Michael Owen-style prodigy, but he’s still better than the Liverpool dud.
Pearce also bizarrely left out Joleon Lescott, who has been in great form for Manchester City.
There was no place for Danny Graham and ex-Workington Reds striker Grant Holt, both on whom have outscored Darren Bent, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell.
As disappointing as it is to see two lads with Cumbrian connections omitted, it’s great Pearce found no place for Frank Lampard or Rio Ferdinand.
It’s about time we cut loose the flabby underbelly of English football, which have failed at every tournament since 1996 when at least we made a fight of it.
A squad involving six of Pearce’s under-21 starting XI from last summer’s Euros is also reason to be optimistic.
Messrs Jones, Smalling, Walker, Cleverley, Sturridge and Welbeck can all be classed as some of the best talents we England have produced in some time.
All have bright futures ahead of them, and can be part of a successful future in the white of our nation.
NOT even football hard man and star of a TV heart campaign Vinnie Jones could have saved Arsenal’s season from flat-lining.
Arsene Wenger’s men are all but out of the Champions League following a humiliating 4-0 defeat in Milan.
A revived Sunderland ended the Gunners’ FA Cup run, and they have no chance of winning the Premier League.
This season can only be described as a miserable failure by Wenger and co, and will leave inspirational captain Robin van Persie considering his future.
Without RVP, it’s RIP for Arsenal. The Dutchman is key to any success, which demonstrates how vulnerable they truly are.
Relying on an ageing Thierry Henry was good business in one sense, but stank of desperation in another.
Finishing fourth is all Arsenal have to play for, and securing that coveted spot cannot be deemed success.
Arsenal are better than that. Or they were.
You have to admire what Wenger has done, not only for Arsenal but English football, but maybe it’s time for some fresh ideas to breathe a new lease of life into the Emirates.
Wenger has been assured that his job is safe by the club’s top brass, most of whom never step foot inside the ground on match day.
But if the Frenchman was to leave, Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola would be the perfect replacement.
Still not committing to a new deal at the Camp Nou, Guardiola would bring the Catalan style of play to our shores – a mouthwatering prospect.
Jose Mourinho is keen on a return to England, his self-confessed spiritual home. He is a proven winner and would be a great replacement.
And then there’s Brendan Rodgers, a man who is playing some beautiful football at Swansea, who should be considered an outsider for any job that comes up.
‘BACK me or sack me’ was the cry from Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas to triggerhappy owner Roman Ambramovich.
The 34-year-old Portuguese is nothing if not brave, but he is also setting himself up for a massive fall when the axe finally drops.
The bookies are already offering odds on AVB not being at Chelsea by the time the season draws to a close.
Villas-Boas has done little during his short tenure, but he had managed to alienate many star names.
Dropping Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Michael Essien before a crunch Champions League tie is career suicide, especially when it backfires like it did so publicly in Italy.
Clear-the-air meetings have not managed to bring the squad together, with Cole reported to have said: “I came here to win medals and trophies, but I’m never going to do that with your tactics.”
Leaving aside the fact he left Arsenal for the money, the England left-back has a valid point in a roundabout way.
AVB tries to be too formulaic when it comes to football. There’s no room for freedom as it would alter his robotic plans.
If he continues with his bullish manner, it won’t be long before he is shown the door, because we all know that the Russian owner enjoys playing roulette with his managers when they don’t succeed.
Published: February 24, 2012
Have your say
"There was no place for Danny Graham and ex-Workington Reds striker Grant Holt, both on whom have outscored Darren Bent, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell."That sums it up, Pearce is picking on who he remembers from U-21s and the last england set-up rather than who's in form. As revolutionary as a parish council shake-up.
Have you watched many Liverpool games? Downing may not have scored but has been instrumental in a lot of our goals and good performances. He's fast, skilful and, unlike a lot of England player, can cross the ball.
I rate Oxlade-Chamberlain too, he's got a great future.