England vs Mexico – Our XI.

24 05 2010

England’s first World Cup warm-up game is upon us, and regardless that the Wembley pitch will be more of a foe than the Central Americans, here’s how we think the home team should line-up…. and why.

1. Joe Hart

Eligibility for number one jersey is hypothetical without some game time before South Africa.  Premiership form unrivalled amongst fellow countryman, if not all, but International football is a steep learning curve… and up until now, Hart only has 45 minutes under his belt.

2. Glen Johnson

Winger masquerading as a full-back.  One of his chanced to show he can develop a defensive awareness within his game.  On paper, his combination with Aaron Lennon could give England the most threatening right side in the tournament, but also one of the most fragile.

3. Ashley Cole

The best left-back in the world.  End of discussion

4. Rio Ferdinand

Needs game time badly, and a full ninety minutes without a howler would also be welcome at this point.

5. John Terry

Not much value in debating his place, right or wrong he’ll be starting.

6. Tom Huddlestone

Most likely the answer will be no, but must be given the opportunity to show he can play at this level.  At this point it would be prudent to assume that Gareth Barry will not be fit to face the USA, so other options should be tried and tested.  A horrible, nagging feeling suggests that Capello will revert to playing Lampard and Gerrard alongside each other – and we already know how effective that is.  Doubters suggest that the Huddlestone should struggle against mobile and technically astute opponents, interesting to see then how the Tottenham man will fair against club mate Giovani Dos Santos.

7. Arron Lennon

Only doubt is fitness, is must – and as such requires a full ninety minutes.

8. Steven Gerrard

Obviously.  Intriguing to note if removing the Liverpool shackles ignites his form.

9. Peter Crouch

The critics will never be silenced with regards to Crouch, but goals to games ratio is still impressive, and remains the only England forward possessing the ability to hold the ball up.

10. Wayne Rooney

Obviously.

11. Frank Lampard

Much the same as Rooney, but must actually show up to a major tournament this time around.