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Are Cole, Lennon, Rooney and Wright-Phillips playing well enough?

As Fabio Capello's England squad to face Montenegro next week was announced, it became clear that Bolton Wanderers striker Kevin Davies was the shock inclusion that will get all the headlines.

Whatever your view is on the 33-year-old forward and his physical style of play, it's the inclusion of some of the more experienced England players that has been met with disbelief. Davies has at least been playing well, and was named man of the match on Saturday in the draw against West Bromwich Albion.

The Italian once picked his squads based on who was in form and playing regularly for their clubs. So the inclusion of the following players may suggest that he has altered his philosophy since the World Cup.

These are the players who cannot point to their club form as the reason why they are in the international set-up:


Joe Cole

After returning from a three-match ban, Cole has found himself shunted to the left of Roy Hodgson''s struggling Liverpool team. The 28 year-old has drifted in and out of games as the Reds have endured their worst start to a season for half a century.

His clever flicks and attempted backheels have been ineffective as Liverpool have struggled to create chances in most of their matches. Barring a couple of decent displays against weak Europa League opponents, Cole has underwhelmed since his free transfer to Merseyside.


Aaron Lennon

The Tottenham winger has failed to hit the heights of last season after coming back from a groin injury. The 23 year-old has either been subbed by Harry Redknapp or has found himself on the bench, losing his place to Spurs' new terrace hero Rafael van der Vaart. Redknapp last week called on the player to step up his form and learn from some of his more cultured teammates and add a new dimension to his play: "Aaron's not playing like he did last year, that's for sure. "He has to learn to come off the line, pop up in little holes like Luka Modric does or like Rafael Van der Vaart can do."

Wayne Rooney

The 24 year-old makes the cut despite his well-publicized personal woes and poor form. Rooney has missed the last two Manchester United matches with an ankle injury whilst Sir Alex Ferguson has said enough to suggest that he feels that his star striker is struggling to cope with the added scrutiny on him.

One goal in four Premier League matches for Rooney this season tells its own story. Before any tabloid revelations added to his woes, Rooney was totally out of sorts at the World Cup.

Shaun Wright-Phillips


The diminutive winger has figured in just three matches for Manchester City this season making little impact on Roberto Mancini's team as they have enjoyed a great start to the season. The 28-year-old has been troubled with a knee injury but when fit has found himself out of favor at the big-spending club. Nevertheless Capello seems to think he can do a job from the bench at least. Wright-Phillips was taken to South Africa and was used as a sub in three of four matches but failed to trouble the opposition with his pace and crossing as England labored their way through the group stages before being thrashed by Germany.  

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