So, Theo Walcott, who languished on the bench four years ago, will be languishing back in Blighty this summer as the rest of his England mates jet off to South Africa for the World Cup. He’ll have Darren Bent and Adam Johnson for company, too. And, assuming they can find a course close enough to Leighton Baines’ house to keep him from feeling homesick, maybe they can go golfing, which is apparently what Walcott was doing when he got the bad news call from Fabio Capello. Like Geoff Hurst, I’d have preferred Johnson to Shaun Wright-Phillips and Bent to Emile Heskey. Of course, with Johnson you probably don’t want or can’t find room for Walcott too, even if it’s just as a pacey substitute late in a game or in extra time. As much as I like Johnson I’m happy to see Joe Cole in the squad, even if Chelsea don’t think enough of him to keep him at Stamford Bridge. He can come to Tottenham anytime.
On the subject of Spurs, as a supporter I was pulling for England nods for Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone who, despite any mobility concerns, has shown flashes of being a top-class passer. Gareth Barry had better be healthy, and Michael Carrick had better not be crap. Matthew Upson and James Milner are safe choices, which is fine, no matter what ‘Arry thinks. And all of Johnson, Walcott, Huddlestone and Dawson wil have another shot in 2014.
Here’s how the final 23 looks:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.
Defenders: Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock.
Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Forwards: Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney
On a non-World Cup note, I’m relieved to see Crystal Palace dodge the axe today. Liquidation would have been a cruel fate for a team with such a long history, even if recent years have been full of failure and financial woes.