World Cup blog: who will play in midfield?

On Tuesday, Fabio Capello names his preliminary England squad. It is impossible to predict who will and who won’t be included in the 30-man-group, and a whole host of midfielders have put their summer holiday plans on hold until the announcement.

Gareth Barry picked up an injury in the closing weeks of the season, meaning that his position may now be up for grabs. Michael Carrick should slot in well if Barry does not make it. Scott Parker has been touted by his club manager Gianfranco Zola as a candidate, but may miss out along with Tom Huddlestone, as Aston Villa’s James Milner can also fill in in central midfield.


Frank Lampard has a massive role to play for the Three Lions in South Africa this summer. Photo: Ryu Voelkel

The more attacking role of the two central midfielders is undoubtedly Frank Lampard’s. The Chelsea ace has had an excellent season and played a pivotal role in England’s World Cup qualifying campaign. Steven Gerrard will be deployed on the left side, but will be able to tuck inside if Lampard picks up an injury. The versatile Milner will also provide adequate cover.

The question remains over who will play the understudy to Gerrard on the left hand side. The consensus seems to be that England should take a left footed player, meaning the promising but untried Adam Johnson or the out-of-form Stewart Downing.

However, England may need a trump card from the bench. The man for the job may be Joe Cole. Chelsea man Cole has had problems with injuries, and fell out of favour temporarily at Stamford Bridge, but is now close to his best and his trickery could prove a valuable asset.

On the other flank, things are even less clear. Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Young all hope to make Capello’s provisional 30-man-squad. Walcott’s blistering pace and match-winning ability makes him the favourite, despite his recent drop in form. That leaves the other three to fight it out for the final place. If Lennon can prove his fitness, he may just shade it, but Ashley Young’s ability to play on either wing could be tempting for Fabio Capello.

The midfield is undoubtedly England’s strongest area. Capello has an embarrassment of riches to choose from and, apart from the slight worry over Gareth Barry, they are almost all fit and ready for picking. However, it is choosing the right combination from this embarrassment of riches that Capello must get right. Does he take a left footed winger? Does he take both Lennon and Walcott? Is Joe Cole worth the risk? What is James Milner’s role going to be?

At least this time, the coach doesn’t need to worry about accommodating Golden Balls.

The Linc would take Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Aaron Lennon, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, James Milner, and Theo Walcott to South Africa. What are your opinions?

One Response to World Cup blog: who will play in midfield?

  1. Dan Perry says:

    I’d go 5 in midfield. From left to right – Cole, Gerrard, Barry, Lampard, Lennon.