23 Again

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.

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4 Responses to 23 Again

  1. Chris says:

    I think SWP’s and Walcott’s performances in the two friendlies made Capello’s decision for him. Walcott was hopeless, and while SWP hardly dazzled, he looked much more lively. I do wonder if Walcott got a little complacent, assuming he was already on the plane, because he didn’t look like a man playing for his place.

    SWP did, and that might just have been the difference.

  2. Bairdy says:

    Theo, for me, is a bit like the Forrest Gump of English football. You just give him the ball and shout “Run”…so not really sad he’s staying behind. And stop bemoaning Carragher! If I was in a tight spot I can think of no one who’d give more to help me out!

  3. Nathan says:

    For Liverpool? Absolutely. For England? Not so much. From Carragher’s autobiography:

    “Representing your country is the ultimate honour, especially in the World Cup. Not to me,” he said.

    “Whenever I returned home from disappointing England experiences one unshakeable, overriding thought pushed itself to the forefront of my mind, no matter how much the rest of the nation mourned.

    “‘At least it wasn’t Liverpool,’ I’d repeat to myself, over and over.

    “I confess: defeats wearing an England shirt never hurt me in the same way as losing with my club.

    “I wasn’t caring or indifferent, I simply didn’t put England’s fortunes at the top of my priority list.

    “Losing felt like a disappointment rather than a calamity. I was never in love with playing for England in the first place.”


  4. cale says:

    I applaud Carragher for those comments. But then I’ve always been a club over country kind of guy. Capello knows what he’s getting with him at least, so no excuses there.

    Carragher to look unfazed in the post-match interview after Portugal put us out in the quarters then. ‘At leaccsht it wosn’t Liverpoool, eh?’

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