ON PAPER, Fabio Capello’s squad looks well-rounded, but I just can’t help thinking he’s missed a trick with young Adam Johnson.
If you’re picking players on form, there’s no-one quite in the mould of the Manchester City winger right now and I just think that blend of confidence, raw pace and a ‘no fear’ element that he possesses would have been a nice weapon in the armoury.
Johnson’s omission leaves Capello with no naturally left-footed attacking player, although you can only assume it was the versatility of James Milner and Joe Cole which swayed the Italian.
Leaving Theo Walcott out is a brave shout by Capello – now we will see what the Arsenal winger is made of.
After his single-handed demolition of Croatia in Zagreb, Capello was looking for Walcott to grow in stature, but whether it be through injury or indifferent form, he hasn’t found himself and matured in the way he would have liked.
Now, it will be interesting to see how the young man reacts. It could crush his confidence completely or it could make a man of him. Thankfully for Walcott he’s got someone like Arsene Wenger to put an arm around his shoulder.
At the same time, the luckiest man in Capello’s 23-man squad this morning is Shaun Wright-Phillips. I can’t remember the last time I saw Wright-Phillips terrorise defences like he used to and I think he’ll be breathing a mighty sigh of relief at getting the nod over Walcott.
Some may say that Leighton Baines is also unfortunate to miss out to Stephen Warnock, but any fears of homesickness, as Baines has hinted at over the last couple of weeks, have to be eradicated. It’s a World Cup, there’s nowhere to hide.