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All Things Footie | Monday, February 3 | Jordan

Prolific, Moi?

I guess I'll have to take all the bad things I’ve ever said about Emile Heskey back. Three in three clearly shows his unrivalled goalscoring prowess and a certain pick for England’s friendly against Australia a week on Wednesday.

Talking of England, with Sven announcing his squad on Thursday, I for one expect some fresh faces called up for action. None of this Trevor Sinclair nonsense. With Chris Kirkland injured and David Seaman playing so well it's unlikely that either will be included so I for one would like to see Russell Hoult given a go. It’s unlucky for him that it’s taken until now for him to show how good he is, but at thirty years old he’ still worth a shot as far as I'm concerned.

On Radio Five’s 606 phone in last night, I heard a baggies fan claiming a southern bias on England squad selection; citing David James’ perpetual inclusion despite the fact he’s dodgier than Del Boy. If Russell Hoult is not included and James is, then I would have to say (much as it pains me) that I agree with him.

Continuing the Midlands theme is a difficult one for me; if there's one footballing trait I've inherited from my Dad (a United fan) it’s his dislike for sides from England’s second city. Taking that into consideration, discussing England without mentioning Gareth Barry is nigh on impossible. Graham Taylor (great bloke who's taken far too much stick during his managerial career) has done an excellent job of reshaping Villa, as well as reviving Barry’s career. After making the left side of midfield his home for club, I have every confidence he can do it for country too.

John Terry is at least as good as Marcel Desailly and currently playing better than both Rio Ferdinand (who seems to average about three nutmegs a game) and Sol Campbell (who’s not having a bad season, just not one of his best). Why has he yet to win a cap?

If James Beattie, and to a lesser extent Wayne Rooney, aren’t in Sven’s squad then there’s something seriously awry. Only Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Alan Shearer are up there with Beattie’s goals/game this year, and Henry, Beattie and Shearer lead the Premiership goalscoring charts by some margin (with 17, 16 and 14 goals respectively). If anyone can convince me that Emile Heskey is a better choice for a starting place then I’ll change my name to Edward Sheringham.

England’s problem is that they’ been playing too much like Liverhoof; aimless long balls and strikers who can’t hold it up. Passing, moving, counter-attacking — all the things that Liverhoof used to be good at — are what Sven should be aiming for. Ban anything over head height in training. Even though he likes playing that kind of ball Beckham would cope, because he’s class, but I’d like to bet Steven Gerrard would be utterly lost.

I know everyone has already slagged them off enough, but West Ham. Ohh lordy. I don't think I’ve seen a poorer defence in ten years, and the best one of the lot all but retired yesterday. Nigel Winterburn will be out for eight weeks and is leaving West Ham at the end of the season — which effectively means he’s kicked his last ball for the club. At 39 years of age, despite wanting to play on; it’s unlikely he’ll find another club (best of luck to him though). I wouldn’t be surprised if yesterday marked the end of the playing career of a legend. We’ll miss you Nutty.

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