Fabio Capello today announced his provisional squad ahead of the World Cup, with a handful of surprise call-ups amongst the 30 players selected.
In defence, Jamie Carragher’s rumoured return to international football was finally confirmed, with Tottenham pairing Ledley King and Michael Dawson also making the squad. Everton’s Leighton Baines and Stephen Warnock of Aston Villa look set to fight it out over the next fortnight to be picked as the understudy to Ashley Cole at left-back.
The good form of Manchester City’s Adam Johnson, a player with no previous international experience, has been duly noted by Capello, as has that of Scott Parker, the combative West Ham midfielder earning a well-deserved call-up. Gareth Barry has also been included despite fears surrounding the possible extent of his recent ankle injury. However, Manchester United’s Paul Scholes – who it was rumoured Capello tried to talk out of retirement – and Owen Hargreaves have been omitted.
In attack, Darren Bent, who has scored 24 league goals this season, has clearly impressed England’s Italian Coach and joins the usual suspects – Peter Crouch, Jermaine Defoe, Emile Heskey and Wayne Rooney – on a five-strong list of strikers.
In selecting 30 players, Capello will be forced to cut seven members of his preliminary squad before finalising the 23 to travel to South Africa on 1st June. With two weeks of training at their base in Austria ahead of the players, there are still several places to be played for and an awful lot of thinking left to be done by Capello and his staff.
The squad in full:
Robert Green (West Ham United), Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth)
Leighton Baines (Everton), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham Hotspur), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham United), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur), James Milner (Aston Villa), Scott Parker (West Ham United), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City)
Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham Hotspur), Jermaine Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)