Thursday, January 31, 2008

Beckham left out of England squad

David Beckham has been left out of Fabio Capello's first England squad to play Switzerland on 6 February.

It means Beckham will be left still searching for his 100th cap, although Capello has not fully closed the door on the 32-year-old former captain.

The Italian dropped Beckham because of doubts over his match fitness.

Keeper Paul Robinson has also been left out of the 30-man squad, while Aston Villa's Curtis Davies and Gabriel Agbonlahor win their first call-ups.

Beckham has paid the price for not playing a competitive game since England's Euro qualifying defeat by Croatia on 21 November.

Capello said: "The reason that David is not in the squad is because he has not had any real match practice since playing in November.

"When I spoke with David on the phone yesterday I advised him that he is still part of my plans and once he is playing regularly in America we will look closely at him again."

Beckham had been training at Arsenal and told BBC World in Brazil on Tuesday that he "is as fit as I can be. I'm fit and sharp and I'm ready to be selected".

But the LA Galaxy midfielder will now have to wait to join Peter Shilton, Bobby Moore, Sir Bobby Charlton and Billy Wright in the exclusive club of players with 100 caps.

Or indeed face up to the distinct possibility he may not play for England again.

Capello, who will name his final 23-man squad on Saturday, also has to make a decision on the issue of who will be captain.

Chelsea centre-back John Terry, was the leader of choice under Steve McClaren, but he is out of the squad because of injury.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has given his endorsement to Rio Ferdinand, while Liverpool's Steven Gerrard will also be in the running.

As for the uncapped players, Agbonlahor makes the step up from the under-21 team after scoring seven goals in 24 games for Villa, while Davies has led Villa's defence while on loan from West Brom.

"There were a number of players that we already knew about but there are many we have seen playing live for the first time," Capello said.

Davies - who compared his debut Villa performance with a pub player - initially thought his inclusion was a wind-up.

"I'm completely shocked but absolutely delighted," said the 22-year-old.

"I was thinking about those who might get into Mr Capello's first squad, but I didn't think I'd be one of them. I'm really happy.

"When I got the news I thought it was a wind-up. I had to check several times before I realised the message was genuine. I really didn't have a clue I'd be called up.

"It makes the waiting to get in the side during the first part of the season all worthwhile."

Capello also explained some of the reasons behind his selection, but made no reference to notable absentees Jermain Defoe and keeper Robert Green.

"Some players like Joe Hart, Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott and David Wheater are with the U21s this time because they have a very important qualification game against Ireland on Tuesday.

"In the future these are players that could feature in the senior squad."

Striker Defoe and goalkeeper Green will have to wait and see if the same applies to them.

England squad to play Switzerland:

Goalkeepers: David James (Portsmouth), Scott Carson (Liverpool on loan at Aston Villa), Chris Kirkland (Wigan)

Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Curtis Davies (West Brom on loan at Aston Villa), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicky Shorey (Reading), Wes Brown (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Everton), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Matthew Upson (West Ham United), Jonathan Woodgate (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders: Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham Hotspur), Owen Hargreaves (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), David Bentley (Blackburn Rovers)

Forwards: Emile Heskey (Wigan Athletic), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Michael Owen (Newcastle United), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Peter Crouch (Liverpool)

Source: BBCi

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At 7:36 pm, Blogger Paulsworld said...

It's a shame he hasn't been picked but it is not a surprise. The fact he hasn't played a competitive game since November is a key factor which training isn't going to match.

This is going to be the down side to playing in America! I don't know why Galaxy can't loan him out for a few months - seems a bit unfair to restrict his suitability to play for England.

Hopefully he will be picked and get his 100 when he is back playing for LA.


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