Scott Parker was one of the best things to emerge from a troubling season for the Hammers. Overlooked by Capello for England’s ill-fated trip to South Africa, the three caps that Parker has to his name is nothing short of scandalous.
He is one of the most talented midfielders of his generation and what he lacks in goals, he more than compensates for in his ball winning, fighting spirit and range of passing. But, for all his exploits at West Ham, Parker looks set to become another player who never lived up to his high expectations.
The steady rise to the top he began at Charlton was sadly curtailed by an ill-suited move to Chelsea and a succession of unfortunate injuries. The 29-year-old caught the attention of the Premiership big boys during his days at the Valley where he made over 100 appearances in seven years before his £10m transfer to Chelsea in 2004. It was at Stamford Bridge where he stagnated. Starved of first team opportunities behind Lampard, Tiago, Robben and Makelele in the pecking order, Parker was denied the opportunity to pull the same strings from midfield that he had done as the lynchpin at Charlton.
Inevitably it ended in tears and Mourinho shipped him out only a year later to Newcastle. He flourished on Tyneside where he replaced Alan Shearer as captain before Glandular Fever cruelly ruled him out of the England squad for World Cup 2006. His final international cap to date came only a year later when Steve McClaren played him out of position during our 2-0 defeat to Croatia in the qualifying stages for Euro 2008 before unceremoniously dropping him.
He has been able to recreate some of the incredible form he showed during the early days at Charlton now that he is at West Ham. He has been named Hammer of the Year for the last two seasons and effectively scored the goal, against Wigan, that secured West Ham’s top flight status for another season.
His form made him fully deserving of a place in the squad travelling to South Africa and his chances should have been inflated by the question marks hanging over Gareth Barry’s fitness. We will never know whether this was one of the decisions that could have changed England’s fate at the World Cup as Barry was exposed for his lack of pace and questionable fitness time and again including his utterly futile attempt to prevent Mezut Ozil from breaking away to set up Germany’s third goal during our meeting in the last 16. Whether Parker could have done better, we will never know but perhaps now is the time to give him a proper run out in the England setup.
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