Poor Theo. His omission from the squad, to Shaun Wright-Phillips’s benefit, is the sole surprise, the one bit of headline news, in the final squad. Ironic that four years ago his was the surprise inclusion.
We all just assumed he was going. He scored that hat-trick in the 4-1 demolition of Croatia. He’s had some bad luck with injuries since. And he started both warm-up games. Surely he was going?
Evidently Capello sees the other side of it: he’s not done much for club or country in the 18 months since the Croatia game. He’s struggling for fitness and has had a poor season. And I gave him a chance in both warmup games and he was rubbish. Why would I take him?
Sven would of course have taken Theo. But Fabio Capello did not because Fabio Capello is, it appears, one cold motherfucker. And I kind of like it that way.
Elsewhere I am dead chuffed for Joe Cole, who had to spend too much time last season proving himself to Carlo Ancelotti with increasing desperation but can hopefully now just clear his head and play his football. With his Chelsea contract up at the end of the month this is a hell of a shop window for what is likely, at 28, to be his last big move.
I still have my reservations about Ledley King as backup to an already rickety defence, and god help us if we are forced to turn to Jamie Carragher in a crisis, but I think on paper at least we’re taking a strong, well-balanced squad to South Africa, and that’s a good enough start.