The three England amigos
Steve McClaren, Terry Venables and John Terry are the national football squad's new coach, assistant coach and team captain respectively. A new 'evolution' rather than revolution. England have a vice-captain in Steven Gerrard and I would have thought he would be at the press conference too, barring any commitments. McClaren announced his selection of players for the Greece friendly at Old Trafford on Wednesday, and a number of omissions were noticed from the usual suspects:
Paul Robinson, Chris Kirkland, Ben Foster;
Wayne Bridge, Wes Brown, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, John Terry (capt), Luke Young;
Stewart Downing, Steven Gerrard, Owen Hargreaves, Jermaine Jenas, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, Kieron Richardson, Shaun Wright-Phillips;
Dean Ashton, Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermaine Defoe.
Notably was David Beckham's absence and that of recent Pompey acquisitions Sol Campbell and David James, Scott Carson and Theo Walcott were moved down to the U21s', Wayne Rooney is apparently being rested, Michael Owen is recovering, Michael Carrick is recovering, and so is Joe Cole. James maybe regarded as getting on in age at thirty-six while Campbell's absence could be down to his ability at international level as he is the same age as Gary Neville. Yet there are a number of central defenders who are younger and able to replace Campbell. Just. His height and heading ability was very distinctive and his strength at times was simply overawing. But fuss is made about Beckham, whether this spells the end of his international career.
If Beckham takes the omission to heart, and he should not considering it's a friendly, then expect him to announce his retirement within a few months if not weeks. This could depend on the squad selection come the Euro2008 qualifiers. Nonetheless, this is a vital opportunity for Lennon to shine for ninety minutes. The selection opens another opportunity for Defoe to finally show some quality for country and Bent, who missed out on an earned World Cup chance.
As for Terry as captain, at first I was disappointed Gerrard did not get chosen, but considering the choices of the two of them, the England squad will have a great leader whichever choice it was. I wonder if Beckham was crying during the Portugal game because he was injured and could not help England any further, or he felt he would not play any part further if England went through to the semis', or he felt it was time to call on his England career himself, much less the captaincy. There was an opening in Beckham that the media could press on to niggle him, something which they'd be hard pressed to manage with Terry.
It's a New Dawn, It's a New Day, It's a New Life...and I hope we will be feeling good.