Potential replacements for Goldenballs
I think everybody associated with football will feel genuinely sorry for David Beckham this morning as a ruptured Achilles tendon all but ends the legendary midfielder’s chance to appear in a fourth World Cup finals.
Although Fabio Capello has sent his best wishes to the injured 34-year-old, he will allow little time for sentiment as he plans for the summer’s tournament. Beckham’s injury further compounds the bad news form Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp regarding Aaron Lennon.
The winger hasn’t played since December with a groin injury, and is still nowhere near a return to action. England’s once over-subscribed right-wing position is starting to appear a little threadbare. So based on Beckham and Lennon not making a return, who goes? Well, I think Sunday may have also presented a very strong candidate.
A stunning last-gasp equaliser from Adam Johnson helped Manchester City stay firmly in the fight for Champions League qualification. Does this goal, capping a succession of fine performances since his January move from Middlesbrough, put him firmly on Capello’s radar?
Having scored in the friendly against Egypt, Shaun Wright Phillips will be hoping that he’s done enough to warrant a ticket on the plane but the City winger often frustrates with his decision making often dribbling into trouble. Given his versatility, James Milner would be in most people’s squad.
In addition, although he has a tendency to blow hot and cold, Gabby Agbonlahor can be employed either out wide or as a centre forward. And let us not forget about England’s hero in Zagreb, Theo Walcott, although he struggles to maintain a regular place in the Arsenal starting line-up at the moment.
I feel that Johnson, like Beckham, offers something different. Rather than set pieces, Johnson would be something of an unknown quantity. He is confident in possession, and is unusual in being a left-footed right winger. His final ball is usually good, and as yesterday shows, he is capable of a bit of magic. Capello will be all to well aware, that moments like that can often make the difference.