With only a year until the London 2012 Olympics, we look at which players could represent Great Britainat the historic event.
Although Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have objected against the proposal let’s imagine that everything gets sorted out and that players from those nations will participate.
Firstly for the men’s competition, it is an under 23 event however three players over the age of 23 are allowed to compete. There is no age restriction for the women’s event. In Beijing in 2008 we saw the likes of Ronaldinho turn out for Brazil and Roy Makaay play for the Netherlands. We even saw ex Fulham striker Brian McBride play for the USA at the ripe old age of 36.
18 players will be selected to make up the final squad.
So bearing that in mind, we put together what we think the team will look like in a years time:
Manager: Who else but Sir Alex Ferguson. The most successful manager in British history by winning 47 trophies as the gaffer. Nobody else would guarantee a gold medal like he would.
Unfortunately though, in reality is looks as though Stuart Pearce will be in charge after the FA decided in early January. This the man who couldn’t take the England under 21s past the group stage of the euros.
Goalkeepers: Unfortunately the likes of Joe Lewis and Scott Loach miss out because they will both be 24 and this team can have better players than them to fill up the over 23 spots.
For this reason the two ‘keepers will be Alex Smithies of Huddersfield and Rhys Taylor of Chelsea. Smithies is a regular fixture for Huddersfield and his rise to stardom has coincided with Huddersfield flirting with the play offs season after season.
He has been linked with the likes of Stoke and Aston Villa and has a big future ahead of him. Taylor spent last year on loan at Crewe and impressed greatly.
Defenders: Kyle Walker should feature at right back after impressing during the second half of last season at Aston Villa. The 21 year old has been called up to the full England squad though is yet to feature. Danny Wilson of Liverpool had an excellent year in the reserves and is set to play first team football this year. The versatile Scot can play anywhere in defense. Craig Cathcart was highly rated as a Manchester United player but left them for regular first team football. The Northern Irish centre back enjoyed a season in the Premier League with Blackpool and should be back amongst the World’s best very soon. Ashley Cole would take the left back spot. Arguably the best fullback in the World and has a vast amount of experience.
Midfielders: With a lot of talent in midfield from all of the home nations this was tricky. Jack Wilshere is one of the hottest prospects in world football and has been likened to Xavi, Iniesta and even Gazza. He will be key should Britain win the gold medal. Joining him in the centre of the park is Arsenal team mate Aaron Ramsey. Should Fabregas leave Arsenal this summer the 20 year old Welsh captain has stated he is ready to fill the void left by the Spaniard. On the left is Gareth Bale. The player of the year showed he can tear the best teams apart with impressive displays against Inter Milan and would be the first name on the team sheet. Finishing the midfield is non other than Mr England himself. David Beckham. It will probably be the last International tournament he plays and you can’t leave him out. Not just for sympathy, but for skill too. There is still no one in the world better a crossing the ball. (This will be important when you see who the strikers are). His work rate is incredible too. Even at the would-be-age of 37 he would still do a very good job.
Strikers: Andy Carroll! Enough said. Two reasons England didn’t do well in the European under 21 competition. One of the reasons is Jack Wilshere’s absence. The Other was Mr Carroll’s. The £35,000,000 man scored a lot of goals in not so many games last season and is expected to grab even more this year. In a Liverpool team that has Downing and Gerrard supplying the crosses, the 6 ft 3in striker will be troubling the likes of Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres at the top of the scoring charts. Partnering him up front has to be Daniel Sturridge. With his pace and Carroll’s heading ability the two will compliment each other fantastically. If he can nail down a first team spot at Chelsea or go out on loan next season, there is no doubt he will score a lot of goals.
There is still one spot available for an over 23 year old and that could be given to a handful of players such as Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard or Chris Brunt.
There were literally hundreds of players to choose from and other players that could be involved include Andy King, David Goodwillie, Corry Evans, Theo Walcott, Connor Wickham and Leigh Griffiths.
Whoever is selected, let us hope that all four nations agree to compete and we can watch a United game of football!
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