Archive for the ‘USA v. England’ Category

So What Are They Thinking In England?

TSG had the occasion a little more than a week ago to speak with a fellow reporter across the pond, ESPN’s Rebecca Lowe.

ESPN UK's Rebecca Lowe

Lowe is formerly of both Setanta Sport and the BBC, but now co-hosts ESPN’s Premiere League show. She’s an ardent Crystal Palace supporter and childhood acquaintance of Peter Crouch, who she says was known more for carrying a tennis racket around before playing soccer…or making ladies swoon.

Here’s an excerpt of what we spoke about.

TSG: If you ask American fans and they look at the England team, they see a little bit of infighting, challenges at goalie position per usual, and questions in the holding midfielder role.

What’s your take?

Rebecca Lowe: I think the interesting questions for England are in the midfield. We’ve got the Gareth Barry issue who some would say that his name is the second one on the team sheet after Wayne Rooney. He’s an unsung hero, you just don’t notice him…..possibly that means…some people say that makes a great player, especially in midfield.

He works hard and does the hard work. And he’s very very good at it.

However with the injury, his exact place on the team is still up in the air.

I think Fabio Capello desperately will try and get Gareth Barry playing in the World Cup.

As for the team, I think the general feeling amongst the team is good.

I’m a little worried that it’s been such a good build up.

I think sometimes with World Cups…sometimes a couple of defeats in the warm-up games or a couple of difficult things going on in camp can sometimes pull the squad together.

And although we had the John Terry saga, that’s kind of blown over and I thought it would.

And now everything seems to be fairly peaceful. I just wonder whether that’s a good thing.

Sometimes some infighting and some scandal; a seige mentality, perhaps,  is good to pull a team together.

I don’t want them to travel to Africa thinking it’s a breeze.

Unsung or vulnerable?

TSG: That’s truly spoken like the English media!

I’m going to follow up on Gareth Barry for a second. There is no question he’s a good player, but there are some questions about whether he can play the cover defense that’s needed in the holding midfielder role and then help link the offense.

If you ask me, that’s a place where the States can attack the Lions the most. Thoughts?

RL: Well, that’s really interesting. So interesting to hear another point of view on the England team from outside. I don’t get to hear from other football writers in other countries all too often.

I would agree with you.

I think Gareth Barry is a top class player but he hasn’t had a ton of international experience.

Even if he does play, I don’t think you’re wrong. I wouldn’t say he’s world class.

I think he’s a good solid player, but I take the point, but that’s not greatest area of strength for England.

Michael Carrick’s a patchy player and I don’t have a lot of confidence in him and that’s who else we have.

I take on board what you’re thinking about Barry and I concede it. I wish we had Owen Hargreaves of course.

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Twenty “Three Lions” Headed To South Africa

Gareth Barry passes the fitness test and here are Fabio Capello’s twenty-two other selections for World Cup 2010.

Gareth Barry

More fit than thought?

Goalkeepers
Robert Green, Joe Hart, David James

Defenders
Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock

Midfielders
Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips

Forwards
Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney

More:

• No Theo Walcott who appears to lose out to the experience of Shaun Wright-Phillips. Few would have predicted that earlier this year.

• Tom Huddlestone and Scott Parker’s departure from the 30-man suggest that Gareth Barry is progressing well. Michael Carrick is the only “true” cover for Barry. Both Huddlestone and Parker are just too slow for the international game.

• No Adam Johnson. With Lampard, Gerrard, and Milner able to play on the left-t0-mid flank it suggests England’s formation will look very similar to the how the States lined up on Saturday. *Joe Cole, will be Dempsey-like (and perhaps more dangerous) in-cutting from that left side if he gets the shot. Milner is a lefty.

• Ledley King is that good.  Warnock proves steady and Leighton Baines ripped up his ticket against Mexico. Jamie Carragher was not coming out of retirement to get cut.

• There is no truth to the rumor that Capello hastily tried to nationalize Manuel Almunia before naming his keepers. (Kidding)

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