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Who cares about England?  Well, apparently I do.  I’m an American and I guess I, by joining thousands of other yanks in support and love for England’s National Soccer Team, continue to befuddle England fans who are actually English.  Why in the world would so many yanks want to support England?  I heard Steven on Fox Football Fone-in last week say that everywhere he goes he’s constantly surprised by the number of Americans (United States of, that is) who love to support and follow the English national team.

Why is this when they’re apparently not good enough to qualify for the Euro 2008 competition?

Well I can’t explain it, but I do think Steven was on the right track by saying something to the effect that the English National team is so popular because people love the English Premier League (er, sorry, Barclays) and they view the English National team, albeit falsely, as the ‘National Team’ of the English Premier League.  It’s hard to viably make that connection because the EPL is probably the most diverse league in the world and on some of the best teams it’s difficult to pick out the English players.  (Arsenal has been criticized time and again for not having enough English talent; their current starting 11 includes no English players).  I think the popularity of the English game is also helped by the relatively low occurance of violence and corruption surrounding the EPL.  (Cf. Italian Serie A)

On to the fun stuff.  Here’s who you, O England, should play in the World Cup in 2010.

4-3-3, from the back:

———————————-Scott Carson—————————–
-Micah Richards———John Terry—–Wes Brown(??)——-Nicky Shorey-
Wright-Phillips—————–Gerrard(C)———————–Ashley Young
——–Theo Walcott————Rooney—————-Gabby Agbonlahor—

1. Green
2. Crouch (in for or along-side Rooney)
3. Lennon or James Milner (for SWP)
4. Gareth Barry (for Gerrard)
5. Steven Warnock (for Shorey)


Clearly, the depth of English talent is on the right side of midfield.  Aaron Lennon, James Milner, David Bentley and Shaun Wright-Phillips can all provide good, young, attacking options.   England has to use speed and service to their advantage with the talent they have in these players on the right and the Ashley Young / Agbonlahor paring on the left.  These two are already forging a strong link at Aston Villa.

Carson in goal? Yes, Carson. Throwing him into the fray against Croatia at Wembly was a terrible decision taken too early and was only going to have one result.  Carson is doubtless the best keeper at Aston Villa right now and will only get better with time.  He’s young and athletic, at WC 2010 he will be nearly 25, still young for a goal keeper, but highly experienced in the Premier League and still climbing to reach the peak of his career, which could be in South Africa, if everything goes his way.  Oh, and he will have won the Premier League with Villa by that time, too.

Shorey at Left-back?  Yes, Shorey.  Everton’s Lescott isn’t good enough and Nicky Shorey will come around to be a reliable LB.  Reading already depend on him and for England he can get forward and create even more options on the already formidable and speedy wing of this squad.

For me the hardest part of the England team to foresee is the defense.  Micah Richards seems to be very promising in his performances for Manchester City and even in his early England performances.  He can even play holding/defensive midfield in a pinch.  The world cup is less than 3 years away and if England are to defend well and keep clean sheets, some good quality young defenders will need to emerge. John Terry is quite good, but aging and I don’t know if he has enough gas left in the tank to make it that far.  Surely someone else would take the name of Wes Brown on my team sheet?  Let’s hope so.  The strength of young English talent seems to be in attack and pace, so strong defenders need to come to the fore and a balance needs to be struck.

It’s easy to see that England has the talent and there are loads of players which went unmentioned.  Now it’s just up to some talented manager to put it all together for South Africa 2010.  With no Euro 2008, there’s nothing else to do in the meantime, right?

Come on, England, so many of us Yanks are counting on you.


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