Pearce Is Psycho For Not Including Arsenal's Ox And Norwich City's Holt In The England Squad
Stuart Pearce, a man who once considered Giorgios Samaras worth £6 million, has had the press and England supporters on something resembling tenterhooks since he announced that he would be naming an experimental and inexperienced England squad. Even though I have a less than committed relationship with the national team, I was actually quite excited. Then it was announced at 11.16 this morning, and any sense of excitement was squashed. Which must have been how Manchester City supporters felt every Saturday afternoon.
The only surprise inclusion was that of Frazier Campbell, but is it really that much of a surprise? With Rooney in the squad he won’t start and will get 20 minutes at best. But lets forget who is in and focus on the one glaring omission, Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The reputation of the national side is in tatters at the moment. With a sacked captain and no manager, the Three Lions are taking another waltz up Diarrohea Drive without a saddle. So to not include a player who, on the evidence of his performances this season, is perhaps the most exciting and technically gifted young player since Gazza is mystifying.
All this nonsense about protecting young players is ridiculous. Pele went to a World Cup at 17 and it did him no harm. Footballers of the Ox’s ilk want to be the best, they want to light up games, get fans on the edges of seats and have people talking about them. The Ox could’ve had the fans drooling and the other players raving about his skill. He could’ve lifted what is a pretty desperate situation even by the standards of the national team. He could’ve healed a lot of wounds. But, for now, we’ll never know.
Sometimes you need to take chances in football and this opportunity has been wasted yet again with a conservative squad selection
What is especially galling is that Stewart Downing and Theo Walcott have been picked ahead of him. Downing has had a horrible season for Liverpool. No assists in the league and a solitary goal in the League Cup have shown him up to be a player who hasn’t been able to cope with the step up in pressure from Villa to Liverpool. And what about Walcott? Ask any Arsenal fan what they would like to do with Theo and most of it would be unprintable.
There was talk this week that Pearce’s squad would be a damascene moment to rival Peter Taylor’s back in 2000. Nonsense. All he’s done is recall a right-back (Micah Richards) who should have been in anyway, jettisoned Frank Lampard and decided to give Smalling and Jones the opportunity to show they can be England’s centre-back pairing for a decade.
Alongside the Ox I would’ve picked Norwich City’s Grant Holt. Although you do need a certain amount of experience in the squad for a major tournament, you also need a surprise element, and Holt would be just that. A far better player than he is given credit for, he scores goals, creates chances, runs the channels intelligently, menaces defenders and never gives up. If you’re looking for a striker to hold up the ball and bring others into play in the absence of Rooney, then Holt is the man. He’s a much more rounded footballer than Darren Bent and is in the form of his life. Sometimes you need to take chances in football and this opportunity has been wasted yet again with a conservative squad selection. Well done Psycho, you’ve made the nation groan.
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