World Cup Group Competition: England’s Roster

International Friendly: England 3 v 1 Egypt

Fútbol for Gringos spent much of last week discussing the United States’ recently released provisional World Cup roster and its implications. Today marks the first post in a series examining the rosters of group stage competitors England, Slovenia, and Algeria.

We’ll start with superpower England.


Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock.

Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Forwards: Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney.


England lined up in a 4-4-2 during World Cup qualification, but there has been some talk of a 3-5-2 for this summer. However, until we see it in action, we’ll assume manager Fabio Capello will utilize the 4-4-2. Here’s their projected lineup:

English Superstars:

Wayne Rooney – Even casual sports fans may have heard of Rooney, as Manchester United’s star forward is talented enough to win a few games by himself. US center backs will struggle to cope with his pace, power, and technical ability.

Frank Lampard -The sparkplug of Chelsea’s title-winning midfield, Lampard is perhaps the best box-to-box midfielder in the world, equally capable of a crunching tackle, silky pass, or thunderous shot.

Steven Gerrard – Liverpool’s captain terrific could end up as England’s skipper this summer. Gerrard lines up as an attacking midfielder for his club but has recently been used by Capello as a left midfielder, though he does roam into more central areas.

Ashley Cole – Perhaps the world’s best left back, Cole gets forward with terrifying efficiency. Landon Donovan does have a mental advantage on the Chelsea fullback, though. This spring Cole broke his foot in a challenge with Donovan.

Rio Ferdinand/John Terry – The two center backs have been one of the most-feared defensive pairings for a half-decade. Both combine top class tactical awareness with rugged tackling.

Potential Impact Players:

Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joe Cole – Though one or two of these wingers might not make the final 23, all four are very fast and very skilled. Any combination will give fits to US fullbacks Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Spector, Jonathan Bornstein, and Heath Pearce.

Scott Parker – Parker, Spector’s teammate at West Ham United, is the sole England midfielder capable of filling the the traditional playmaker role. Superstars Gerrard and Lampard may get the press, but Parker threads better passes than either. He only has an outside chance to make the team, though if he does, Parker could come off the bench to maintain possession and protect a lead.

Darren Bent/Jermain Defoe: While only one of these strikers is likely to make the final squad, they’re the only English forwards capable of replicating Rooney’s pace and power.

Weaknesses the US Could Exploit:

England has one of the best squads in the world, but there are some flaws the US could take advantage of. For starters, Terry and Ferdinand are in the twilight of their careers (ie they’re not that fast), and if they make a single mistake, Jozy Altidore has the capability to blow by either. England’s wingers should, in theory, drop back to help in defense, but while they need to be feared in attack, none provide any defensive bite (Lennon and Wright-Phillips may, in fact, be Smurfs). Their lack of defensive presence, coupled with Gerrard’s free-ranging role, will occasionally leave space to exploit on the wings. And, if the USMNT can manage some shots on goal, England’s goalkeepers might fluff a save or two.  England is infamous for poor goalkeeping, and none of their keepers have played well enough to firmly grab a starting spot.

If any gringos have opinions about England’s national team, now’s the time! Let’s hear from you in the comments.

4 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Rupert J Pelfrey says:

    Why is there no mention of their best player, Peter Crouch? He has the moves and height to make any play in the box!

    • Gringo_Prime says:

      Crouch is any intriguing player. For those who don’t know, he pushes 6’7″ – abnormally large for a striker – and has excellent technical ability.

      However, I’m pretty sure Oguchi Onyewu could sneeze and blow Crouch off the pitch. The striker is as skinny as he is tall.

      As long as Onyewu is in the squad, Crouch shouldn’t present any problems.

  2. Dan says:

    I don’t know…I think “Crouchinho” could be a difference maker as a sub in some of these games. He may not be able to get his his body thrown around for the whole game, but I could see him coming on as a sub and really making life uncomfortable for defenders.

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