The People against Wayne Rooney

21 06 2010

Honestly? They should come home now, as with every performance they embarrass their country more and more. The Quarter-Final Exit blog is not usually the place for hysterical hyperbole, so we’ll save the needless regurgitation of the clusterf@@ck against Algeria and just describe it as it was – hugely disrespectful. To the fans, to the shirt, to the history of the national team. There’s a very large part of me that would enjoy seeing this team eliminated – this generation of players, with the exception of David Beckham, deserves nothing.

So, with the honest points out of the way – here’s our starting eleven for Wednesday, and naturally our justification for it.

Soon to be home of another installment of English tragedy

1. David James – The dream of seeing the accomplished Joe hart starting has died, we’re stuck with David James. However, as one of the few to emerge with a slice of reputation intact on Friday, the country fears impending catastrophe and Jubulani sponsored madness less than it might with James between the posts.

2. Glen Johnson – There’s just aren’t any other options. The only positive, at a stretch, to be taken from his Algeria showing was that he wasn’t atrocious – merely very poor.

3. Ashley Cole – The only England player other than James to have sustained an acceptable level of performance in South Africa.

4. Michael Dawson – He possesses qualities that England desperately need at the moment, the most vital being that he would clearly run through fire to wear the shirt – not something that could be said for many others. Playing Matthew Upson would guarantee elimination.

5. John Terry – Seemingly now disliked by his team-mates for over stepping his brief with the media, but there quite literally is nobody else that can be selected. The biggest positive from Algeria was Jamie Carragher’s yellow card and suspension.

6. Steven Gerrard – Gareth Barry is not good enough to be playing international football, and Steven Gerrard is wasted out wide. End of discussion.

7. Aaron Lennon – Mystifyingly awful in both games. Lennon probably more than any other player has seen his confidence evaporate, looking to get rid of the ball as soon as he receives it. Gone are the probing runs and the searing pace that make him such an asset to his club, he needs to stop hiding and actually play.

8. Frank Lampard – His very last chance. If England fail to progress on Wednesday, it could mark his last appearance for England. Now a much-maligned figure for the disparity between club and country performances, Lampard is another clearly paralysed by fear. A truly great player hidden inside a shell of anxiety, his omission will only lead to a plethora of ‘what-ifs’ should England lose.

9. Jermain Defoe – A decision made because despite his obvious merits, Wayne Rooney is not fit to represent his country – in both senses of the phrase. His limp, ghost-written apology for the incident on Friday was unacceptable, and his original comments were an embodiment of the detachment of professional athletes from the real world. Coupled with the most disgracefully inept performance by an England player in my lifetime, only reputation can save him.

Empty Shirt

10. Peter Crouch – Emile Heskey’s purpose in the England team is to bring the best out of Wayne Rooney – now that this theory is at best, devalued, there should be no opposition to the Villa forward’s exclusion. Crouch brings a menace that can’t be contained, and Slovenia is exactly the kind of team that he should be able to ‘flat-track bully’.

11. Joe Cole – Almost certainly short of fitness, but through the ashes of implosion around him, he has emerged as a potential saviour. Drastic measures are now needed, and the game-breaking qualities owned by Cole could resuscitate England’s form.