As the song went; “What a difference a year makes”. That can be said for a number of players who have gone from World Cup no-hopers to having a realistic chance of a spot in the 30-man preliminary squad which is announced today.
Before this season, Bobby Zamora had spent nearly six years on the fringes of Premier League squads such as West Ham and Tottenham, not scoring goals and not playing many games. After a goal tally of just five last year, Zamora hit the twenty mark including a few valuable strikes in Europe with Fulham. He’s played in big European games, he’s got a final coming up, maybe Capello will feel this man is more up to the job then others for his striking options?
The goalkeeping position is England’s achilles heel. It can never seem to seal itself; Robert Green, Paul Robinson, Scott Carson, David James, Ben Foster. But after a successful summer with England’s youngsters last year, and a highly impressive campaign defending the fort with Birmingham, Joe Hart has emerged as a possible caretaker for the number one jersey. After spending the season on loan from Manchester City, Hart will be on the plane to South Africa.
Many would have laughed at the idea of bringing Aston Villa’s “average” midfielder James Milner last August. Now, he’s a dead cert to be awarded a plane ticket and will be given more then a few minutes at the competition. A versatile, reliable player with an eye for a goal – Capello will delighted such a player evolved into a great one over the 2009/10 campaign just in time for this competition.
An angry tweet, another big money move, and a season later – Darren Bent will be awaiting the opportunity to represent his nation at the World Cup. Bent spent most of last season sitting on the bench at White Hart Lane, not loved by anyone and being made feel like his career had hit a wall. But after a fine season which saw him net a mighty impressive twenty-four goals with Sunderland, Bent could be jetting off to South Africa if Capello feels he has done enough.
He’s always been regarded as one of the most talented English centre-backs around, and there are a few of them. Had it not been for a niggling knee injury, Ledley King could be an England regular already, maybe even captain. After a superb season alongside Michael Dawson, both shall be flying off to South Africa and awaiting the opportunity to shut out some of the world’s best strikers.
Who would have guessed last August?