The provisional 23-man roster for England’s World Cup challenge has been named, and as you might expect, the Guardian’s daily duo of damnation, Sean Ingle and Barry Glendenning, have taken issue with some of the choices.
The biggest shock is the inclusion of Arsenal striker Theo Walcott, a 17-year-old who has as many Premiership appearances to his name as the Fiver (although you watch us go next season), and has scored just five league goals in his career. And the inclusion of Spurs’ 19-year-old wing-whizz Aaron Lennon (above) also ranks as a surprise seeing as he’s only been a first team regular since March. But there’s no place for Darren Bent, Subbuteo’s Shaun Wright-Phillips, the injured Ledley King, or Jermain Defoe, who only makes the stand-by list. Naturally, Owen Hargreaves – a man who it seems could survive the fall-out from a nuclear holocaust, let alone a bad season at Bayern – makes the squad.
“Well, uhm, ahhhhhh, I ehhhh decided to take Theo this morning,” Eriksson explained today. “I am taking 23 players so I thought why not gamble with one of them? Pace in football is worth a lot. Maybe it’s not logic, but sometimes things work out very well.” Eriksson was equally effusive about Lennon’s talents, saying: “He has pace, he beats people and he’s a good crosser. In the last two or three months he’s really started to play good football. I’ve had good reports about him. He’s in very good shape.” Which is more than you can say about Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, who both make the squad too.