After Glenn Roeder’s comments on the possible makeup of the next England team, I thought for a bit about what he had to say. I then decided that he was at best inconsistent, and at worst hideously wrong.
Roeder states that Carroll should not play because he’s not certain that “(Carroll) is sending out great signals to young players.” This of course being the same team containing players who have variously: cheated on their wives, been seen smoking and urinating in the street at dawn, been arrested for swearing at police and, of course, beat up a man for not letting him change the music on a nightclub. However, as John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard are all “world class” players, none of them were dropped from the team, and three of them have captained England at one time or another.
Indeed, none of these players should have been dropped. In a perfect world all footballers would live as if it were the 1950s, wearing Brylcreemed hair and perhaps drinking one half pint after a game. Unfortunately though, neither the world nor football is like this. Footballers are in a particularly vulnerable position when it comes to their private lives and young men with lots of cash and few restraints are bound to get in trouble. However, providing that their personal lives do not affect their on pitch performances, the two should be kept completely seperate, with problems arising of the pitch dealt with off the pitch.
And so, to Andy Carroll. He is at the very least a bit of a thug, but his footballing skills and current form cannot be faulted. He is very tall, and makes use of that with his fantastic heading, but much more than a classic target man, he is also blessed with the pace to worry most centre backs, along with a wonderful first touch and a powerful, if occasionally wayward, shot. He would offer England more than the current incumbent of the “big man” role, Peter Crouch, and is of course younger, fitting into the FA and Capello’s new aim of building for the future.
I would also find a place in the squad for Joey Barton, who is proving himself to be a very gifted footballer. His previous off- and on-field record has shown him to be a fairly vile character, but he seems to have turned a corner this season, speaking eloquently about his and other footballers’ behaviour on Radio 5. Witness also his incredible restraint in Newcastle’s game against Wolves after being subjected to seven or eight absurd “tackles”. He has been one of the key reasons for Newcastle’s strong start to the season, adapting well to a right midfield role, delivering brilliant crosses on a regular basis as well as doing his fair share of the defensive work, and Capello would be wise to at least try him in the squad, as he has a versatility that is immensely useful, being able to play with pretty much any central midfielder as a pair or occupying the right of midfield, allowing Adam Johnson to switch to the left and make better use of Carroll’s presence in the box.
To sum up: Barton and Carroll for England, possibly Nolan as well, personal life shouldn’t be a factor in call-ups, although I don’t think that Barton should ever be made captain. Ever.
Read old Goalposts for Goalposts here