Forget The World Cup Hangover
It is time to put the pints of water and aspirin to one side and get ready for another night at Wembley, it is the start of the Euro 2012 qualification period for England’s lightweight side, with Bulgaria as their opponents.
Last time out, Capello decided to take the bold step and name just 10 of that World Cup squad for the friendly game against Hungary, prompting signs of an ushering in of a new generation.
The squad for England’s first two competitive games, since the 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany in South Africa, included 13 names of those who featured 6,000 miles away, and that is without the ever-present John Terry, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand which would have made it 16 of the 23, so is Capello going back to the old guard by stealth?
In fairness to Capello it is impossible to completely re-haul the national side, and it would be irresponsible of him to leave out players like Glen Johnson or Gareth Barry just to prove a point or succumb to the wants of the English media. Capello is stuck between a rock and a hard place, so perhaps this is the best way forward, for now.
Either way, Capello must instil some confidence in his players, who are, ironically, so self-confident normally.
Three Lions need pride | Capello must restore players confidence
One of the most infuriating feelings between many England fans is that players always seem to performance far better for their club side than they do on the international stage, and this is surely down to tactics.
Theo Walcott, for example, has always performed better for Arsenal than he has for England, and that is mainly because he has a wide left player on the other flank, like Tomas Rosicky, to balance the side out and not leave one flank overloaded. Lennon and Gareth Bale show this week in, week out at Spurs also.
What England have done recently is have Gerrard on the left flank, and his natural reaction is to wander around the centre of the pitch and then go out to the flank, rather than stick to the flank. It leaves 3 central midfielders in the centre, with one winger on the right. Unbalance ensues.
It is not his fault, he is a central midfielder after all. It is Capello’s fault. The best idea is to ditch the persistence to leave Gerrard out on the left and bring him in more centrally, giving James Milner, Ashley Young or Adam Jonhson the chance to maraud down the flank and scare the opposition fullback.
The reason I mention this is because, like I mentioned before, Lampard is absent for these two upcoming qualifiers, so we might, and I stress might, just see a move towards a new formation.TEAM NEWS
From the players called up, Peter Crouch has, unsurprisingly, been ruled out due to a rib injury he suffered playing for Spurs against Wigan last Saturday.
Scott Carson and Ben Foster have also both struggled to train in the lead-up to the game, but Joe Hart is again expected to start in goal.
Phil Jagielka also missed training on Wednesday but, again, he is not expected to feature in the starting XI.
Probable starting XI: Hart; Cole, Upson, Dawson, Johnson; Walcott, Barry, Gerrard, Milner; Rooney, Defoe
Head coach Stanimir Stoilov is struggling to replace the retired captain Dimitar Berbatov, with Aston Villa’s Stiliyan Petrov currently wearing the armband, so former Manchester City forward Valeri Bojinov has the job of leading the line against the English with a fairly inexperienced striker partnering him.
Other than that, a full strength squad is available to Stoilov.
Probable starting XI: Mihaylov; Manolev, Ivanov, Stotanov, Minev; Peev, Angelov, S Petrov, M Petrov; Bojinov, Kamburov
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Top 3 Predictions
England 2-0 Bulgaria
- 26.63 %
England 3-0 Bulgaria
- 17.08 %
England 3-1 Bulgaria
- 11.69 %
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Sep 2, 2011||Bulgaria 0 - England 3|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Sep 3, 2010||England 4 - Bulgaria 0|
|Mar 5, 2014||England 1 - Denmark 0||FR|
|Nov 19, 2013||England 0 - Germany 1||FR|
|Nov 15, 2013||England 0 - Chile 2||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||England 2 - Poland 0||WCQ|
|Oct 11, 2013||England 4 - Montenegro 1||WCQ|