With an England Wales theme
Obvious, but nonetheless a valid point: John Terry may be (finally) drinking at the last chance saloon. Although losing the captaincy made football a Heat magazine topic, it did at least seem a permanent decision. We were not to expect the armband on Terry under Signor Capello.
But after the debacle of the armband passing around the team, Terry is back. I’d like to think that the irony of seeing Ashley Cole wearing it when Terry was banned from doing so persuaded the England boss.
Many think that we overestimate the importance of the captaincy. It is only important when tossing the coin and lifting trophies, and England players only need to do half of that. But it matters to John Terry. Eff up this time, and he may lose his international career as well as a piece of cotton elastic.
There is a dangerous chance that Garry Barry could actually start for England on Saturday. Although not quite yet plummeted to depths worthy of attendance at the Michael Carrick school of central midfieldery, it is a dreary prospect.
Nottingham Forest used to have a player called Sammy Clingan, who was referred to as the crab (or sideways Sammy). Always passing sideways, never probing forward. Barry is the same.
But the biggest danger for the Man City man is if he doesn’t play. In Jack Wilshere England have their new trademarked Bright New Talent, and another rousing performance could see an almost constant starting berth for years to come. And if he isn’t starting for England, should he be in the Man City team next season?
Speed’s is a funny managing career. People have been given their first job managing their country, but has anyone got the gig after such an unsuccessful start in management? He left Sheffield United 20th in the Championship, and has lost his first two international games without Wales scoring a goal.
Wales are already adrift at the bottom of the group, so this could be seen as (another?) stage for rebuilding, developing young players and ignoring results for a period of time. But the Millennium Stadium crowd will be demanding, and they will require an example from Speed and his team that there are reasons for faint optimism.
See below for the final reason that Saturday’s game is big for Speed.
One of Speed’s biggest decisions was to hand the captaincy for the game to Aaron Ramsey. This is quite the strange one. This is a player that has played 76 minutes for Arsenal in the last 13 months, and only turned 20 last Boxing Day. Would it not be beneficial to allow the playmaker to play with a degree of freedom, rather than burdening him with self-imposed responsibility?
This is certainly the view of former Wales boss Chris Coleman, who had supposed James Collins would get the honour:
“He got it out in Ireland and is playing Premier League football week in, week out and is used to being in the thick of it. Gary was brave as a player and he’s been brave as a manager”
There is a fine line between brave and stupid.
Despite making England Under 21 appearances, being one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the Championship, and England calling up Frankie Fielding and Scott Loach, Camp has been consistently overlooked by the national side.
So much so, in fact, that he has made the decision to play for Northern Ireland. The crucial difference between the two countries is that with Maik Taylor injured, Camp will probably immediately walk into the starting eleven.
An away game in Belgrade is one of the more intimidating places to make a goalkeeping international debut, but not many eyes will be on the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper as Serbia currently have a UEFA ban on home supporters.
A way for OTP readers to make football predictions against me. Jesus, let battle commence.