The life of an England fan is tough. Prior to every major football competition, we always believe our team can win it all. And going into this World Cup, the confidence of every England fan was exceptionally high. Fabio Capello has everything to do with that confidence. But did the Xen Master make mistakes with his team selection against the United States?
Sure Robert Green screwed up beyond belief. Sure he made one of the biggest mistakes by a goalkeeper in World Cup history. It was embarrassing and it shouldn’t happen at this level of football. But despite Green’s calamity, Capello should have been more assertive about his choice for England goalkeeper. He hesitated in making a decision and this didn’t instill any confidence in Green or the rest of the team.
It wasn’t just the goalkeeping position that posed problems for England. They looked unsure in various areas of the pitch. And Capello is lucky in some regards because Green’s awful error took the spotlight off some of his first-team choices. Ledley King shouldn’t have started in defense with John Terry. He should have played Jamie Carragher or Matthew Upson from the start. James Milner had no place in the team after being sick all week. This was Capello’s biggest mistake. If Gareth Barry was fit then Milner wouldn’t have started at all. But with that in mind, surely Joe Cole or Shaun Wright Phillips would have been a better choice? Emile Heskey did well, but we didn’t look dangerous or threatening up front at all. I still believe Peter Crouch is more dangerous and can give more if he starts the game.
The other major question is can Aaron Lennon actually cross the ball and get it past the first defender? I’ve been critical of Lennon’s quality in terms of what he does after the run even in his role for Tottenham. He can pass players and scare the living daylights out of them but his final ball is so poor. I couldn’t help but think of Theo Walcott during the game last night. In hindsight, should he have been in the squad, especially as he has proved he can perform at that level for England?
I know it’s only the first game. But this isn’t the Premier League people. There are not 30 odd games ahead of us here. There are only two games left and I think Capello has some big decisions to make that will shape England’s success or failure in this tournament.