Big Kev's Big Shame & another 'B' for the FA.

The only footballer ever to be sent
 off for a rugby tackle, Julian Alsop.
Having spent much of my youth watching a man called Julian Alsop playing football, I never thought I’d be outraged by a player of the same ilk being dropped from the England squad. But to say the least, Kevin Davies has been the second best striker in the Premier League this season. That’s not something I necessarily enjoy saying, but such is life and such is football.

Crying shame for Big Kev.
Signore Capello was in attendance for Davies’ best display of the season so far last weekend, a 4-2 demolition of Spurs, before which he’d already received his first England call up a few weeks earlier. So having only improved since his international debut, surely there must be even better going in ahead of him?

Step up Jay Bothroyd. I have no gripe with the Championship or “the most competitive league in Europe”, but someone must be spiking Capello’s spaghetti.  Bothroyd is having a great season, every Cardiff game I’ve managed to stay awake for on The Football League Show, he seems to have scored in, but there is a reason he’s playing there. At neither Blackburn Rovers or Charlton Athletic did he manage to make an impact in the Premier League, or with Coventry City, Wolverhampton Wanderers or Stoke City do enough to cement a place in teams heading for the top flight. Maybe Capello spotted him during his brief period in Italy with Perugia? 6 goals in 36 games over 2 seasons, again not setting top flight football on fire. All point in the same direction; but somehow Capello has told him it’s Wembley.
Gabriel Agbonlahor, a man who allegedly impregnated three women in one week, has also been called up over Davies, father of four. But following this weekend’s football action, worse news was to come for Big Kev.  Gabby’s done his hammy, and Capello has decided that as well as kicking Davies in the proverbial by dropping him, he’s going in for a second dig while he’s on the deck, calling up Carlton Cole as replacement. 1 goal in 12 league appearances this season makes my point.
Andy Caroll, has undoubtedly earned his call up to the squad, unfortunately falling at the last hurdle like Agbonlahor by picking up a knock in Newcastle’s 0-0 draw with Fulham on Saturday. Though both players could remain in the squad, should they recover in time. Meanwhile, Davies will be sat in Bolton twiddling his thumbs.
His briefs are better than his
latest squad selection policy.
Just as astounding is Capello’s continued rejection of Scott Parker, another of the Premier League’s top performers this season, allbeit in an otherwise abysmal West Ham side. Parker only just missed out on last summer’s World Cup at the final cut, with Tom Huddlestone picked ahead of him. This time round, the call up of Jordan Henderson seems to have been his undoing. And while I don’t disagree with exposing good young English players at international level earlier on, such as the Germans and Spanish have done, I don’t agree with it when better players are rejected as a result.
David James, the South West’s answer to Aristotle, raised a good point in his Observer Column earlier this month (http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2010/nov/07/england-under-21s-senior-team); the gap between the English U21’s and the full squad is too great, Kevin Davies for example waited 10 years following his last U21 cap and his first senior cap. Where are the opportunities for English players over the age of 21 to show they are capable of playing international football?
Having attended an England ‘B’ international four years ago, the experience was great for the fans with cut-price tickets and a great atmosphere in a smaller stadium (although no doubt the FA would scrap this and have it played at a half full Wembley stadium in an attempt to claw back more of the over-expenditure the national stadium has afforded them), and for the players given the opportunity to fight for a place in the full squad. Every professional outfit in top flight domestic football has a reserve squad, where players fight for a place in the first team. So, why not at international level?
A regularly used England ‘B’ team would also benefit those players who find themselves in the full England Squad, but rarely given the opportunity to get on the pitch, Stephen Warnock went to the World Cup having only played less than ten minutes in an England shirt, but having been selected for several squads. Two streams of talent, i.e. the U21’s and a regularly used ‘B’ team would surely do as much to benefit the national game, as it would players like Davies, Cahill and Warnock? It would also give a preliminary opportunity to players like Bothroyd, who rather than coming out of the blue, would be coming out of the ‘B’.

Buckett’s England ‘B’ XI:
GK: Foster (Birmingham)
DEF: Warnock (Aston Villa), Cahill (Bolton), Johnson (Birmingham), Shawcross (Stoke)
MID: Johnson (Man City), Parker (West Ham), Huddlestone (Tottenham),Young (Aston Villa)

STR: Bothroyd (Cardiff), Davies (Bolton)


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