England Prospects in the Football League
Scott Loach’s call up to the Capello Crew for last week’s friendly international against Hungary is the latest evidence of a expanding trend. As Premier League squads pack their gills with outsiders to these Isles, the Italian and his eventual successors will be forced to look elsewhere for home grown talent.
It’s not a shiny brand new development for sure – Trevor Brooking, Stuart Pearce and Steve Bull were just three of a few who represented their country whilst undergoing purgatory among the lower orders, the latter being called up as a Third Division player no less, but there is every reason to believe that the call for Football League stars will grow. Recent Championshippers such as Adam Johnson, Michael Mancienne, Andy Carroll, Kyle Walker and Tom Cleverley have been in and around the England set up at its various levels and if the latest Under-21 ranks boast only Brentford goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and Forest left back Ryan Bertrand of lesser league ilk, then we should remember that only last year, one Joseph Barton was amongst us – that goal he arced in on Sunday recalling a similar angled effort at London Road as recently as April.
Ingerlund’s problem position used to be on the left wing alone, but post-Azania, exposure has been crude and there are now few places on the field where the incumbents are seen as rocksteady. Hence, opportunities abound for more precocious NPowerers all over the pitch: who might be among those ready to don the navy cap?
In goals, it was disappointing to see Frankie Fielding (hands up who had heard of him this side of Darwen?) preferred to Lee Camp, “strutting like nobody’s business” as he was (according to an eyewitness) at the Madejski on saturday. Elsewhere, Forest have the livewire Paul Anderson – it’s actually been a decade now that England have lacked a specialist left sided midfielder of sufficient quality. Anderson may not be a better player than Joe Cole, but Fabio seems to have discarded the latter for good.
Ipswich have a couple of candidates – the much talked about Connor Wickham (the “New Rooney” tag will have to be ditched by his publicist) and Grant Leadbitter: after all, messrs Barry and Carrick are united by an inability to tackle – feet need to be put in next time Mesut and company are about.
Burnley’s bright start will once again lead observers to consider Danny Fox, a prospect analyzed on these pages over a year ago before the free kick specialist of a left back enjoyed a less than successful time of it with Celtic. Other relegatees would have numbered Tom Cairney of Hull although the youngster has opted for Scotland and David Nugent, author of a tap in against Andorra on his international debut, but now much maligned.
Less seriously, my fellow blogger Stanley suggested that Emile Heskey getting a game will have kept Jay Bothroyd’s hopes up, although the ex-Perugia man can really only dream. Nathaniel Clyne, however, has every reason to be hopeful: Glen Johnson troubled the Algerians and Americans a lot less than he did the employees of Dartford B&Q: that right back position is far from fully claimed.
Lastly – and this will get The Daily Mail really frothing at the mouth – there is Coventry City’s new spot kick hero , recently recruited from Everton, Lukas Jutkiewicz. A Jutkiewicz and a Jagielka representing the Three Lions? Not only are these Polaks undercutting our plumbers, they’re taking over the England team! Lukas, of course, was born in Southampton.