2010 World Cup – The 23-man England squad according to A Different League

The World Cup is going to Africa and with less than a year until the big kick off the team at A Different League have got together and made Fabio Capello’s job easy by picking England’s 23-man squad for him. Below is our choice of England’s finest along with a brief look at the players who have just missed out but could still force their way in.

We shall follow the form and fitness of our selected team along with the players who might be in Capello’s thoughts and update the squad as the 2009/10 season unfolds and the World Cup draws nearer.

1 David James

Club – Portsmouth

Age – 39 (January 8, 1970)

Caps/goals – 48/0

England position – Goalkeeper

2010 target – The often brilliant and occasionally gaffe-prone David James is in the twilight of a great career and will now look to this World Cup as his last chance for international success. Fitness and form are his only concerns and should he keep both, it will be hard to give the number one jersey to anyone else.

13 Robert Green

Club – West Ham United

Age – 29 (January 18, 1980)

Caps/goals – 4/0

England position – Goalkeeper

2010 target – Off the back of a good season for West Ham where he played every Premier League game, Rob Green will look to push on and challenge David James for the number one spot. His biggest chance will be a drop in form for James and he will need to step up and take his opportunity should Capello call upon him.

22 Ben Foster

Club – Manchester United

Age – 23 (April 3, 1983)

Caps/goals – 2/0

England position – Goalkeeper

2010 target – One of England’s brightest young talents, Foster will have the biggest task on his hands to get England’s number one spot as, barring an injury to Edwin van der Sar, he is not a first team regular at Old Trafford. This World Cup will more than likely see him as third choice and perhaps the next tournament is a more realistic proposition for him.

6 John Terry

Club – Chelsea

Age – 28 (December 7, 1980)

Caps/goals – 53/6

England position – Centre-back

2010 target – England’s fearless leader will be desperate to lift the World Cup for the first time since 1966 and he has every chance of doing it. Terry has re-committed himself to Chelsea and will look to get another successful season under his belt with his club before leading England in South Africa – only injury will deny him a place in the team.

5 Rio Ferdinand

Club – Manchester United

Age – 30 (November 7, 1978)

Caps/goals – 73/3

England position – Centre-back

2010 target – Ferdinand and Vidic form an impassable central defence for Manchester United and Rio will look to do the same with Terry for England. As with Terry, only injury will prevent him from lining up alongside the England captain and he will work towards success with United before switching his attentions to what could well be his last World Cup.

3 Ashley Cole

Club – Chelsea

Age – 28 (December 20, 1980)

Caps/goals – 73/0

England position – Left-back

2010 target – Arguably Chelsea’s player of the season in 2008/09, Cole has made England’s left-back spot his own in recent years. Full of energy and running, only injury will scupper his plans for an African summer as along with his Chelsea team-mate Terry he is now one of the first names on Capello’s team sheet.

2 Glen Johnson

Club – Liverpool

Age – 24 (August 23, 1984)

Caps/goals – 15/0

England position – Right-back

2010 target – Johnson will be hoping that his move to Liverpool will cement his position as England’s first choice right back for many years to come. Some stability would be good for him having played for four teams in his career so far. Playing at Champions League level will only improve him as a player, which is great news for Capello and England fans alike.

15 Joleon Lescott

Club – Everton

Age – 26 (August 16, 1982)

Caps/goals – 7/0

England position – Centre-back

2010 target – Many argued that Everton’s central defence was just as solid as the Ferdinand and Vidic partnership at Man Utd last season and that has seen Joleon Lescott break into the England set-up. He will surely be unable to dislodge Ferdinand but a place in the squad is all but assured should he carry on his good form in 2009/10.

19 Phil Jagielka

Club – Everton

Age – 26 (August 17, 1982)

Caps/goals – 3/0

England position – Centre-back

2010 target – Lescott’s partner at Everton has also found himself in demand at international level. The former Sheffield United player has come on leaps and bounds under David Moyes and he will look to recover from the injury that kept him out of the FA Cup Final and book his place in the squad for South Africa.

21 Matthew Upson

Club – West Ham United

Age – 30 (April 18, 1979)

Caps/goals – 15/1

England position – Centre-back

2010 target – Upson is attracting interest from several Premier League teams after an excellent 2008/09 season and will look to carry on that form this year. It is unlikely that he will figure heavily in South Africa but he is a solid and dependable player that will do the job should he be called upon to replace an injured player.

23 Wes Brown

Club – Manchester United

Age – 29 (October 13, 1979)

Caps/goals – 21/1

England position – Centre-back/right-back

2010 target – Wes Brown had an injury hit 2008/09 but if he can stay fit this season then he should be on the plane to South Africa next summer. His fitness will be the biggest challenge for Brown who has only made 317 appearances for Manchester United in 13 years at the club, but with a bit of luck he can hope to stay in Capello’s plans.

7 David Beckham

Club – L.A. Galaxy

Age – 34 (May 2, 1975)

Caps/goals – 112/17

England position – Right winger

2010 target – England’s most capped outfield player of all time just refuses to give up on his England career and this desire and good form might just be enough to keep him in the squad. Playing in the MLS might harm his chances and it seems like Beckham will look for a move back to Europe in order to guarantee World Cup football.

4 Steven Gerrard

Club – Liverpool

Age – 29 (May 30, 1980)

Caps/goals – 74/14

England position – Centre -midfielder/Attacking winger

2010 target – A talisman for his club, Gerrard is not quite that effective at international level but he is still integral to England’s plans. One of the first names on the team-sheet, all he needs to do is stay fit and he will hopefully play a huge part in trying to reclaim the World Cup for England.

8 Frank Lampard

Club – Chelsea

Age – 31 (June 21, 1978)

Caps/goals – 71/17

England position – Centre-midfielder

2010 target – Frank Lampard is the wrong side of thirty but continues to have exceptional form for his club and country. Another player whose involvement in South Africa is all but certain, Lampard can be guaranteed that if he continues in his current vein he will be crucial for England next summer.

11 Gareth Barry

Club – Manchester City

Age – 28 (February 23, 1981)

Caps/goals – 30/2

England position – Centre-midfielder.

2010 target – A new recruit at Manchester City, Barry has cemented a place

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