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Aston Villa And England: Fabio Capello Names Squad, Not As Young As They Could Be

Fabio Capello insisted that young players would have a run out in the friendly against France. So what's with this squad?:

Ben Foster (Birmingham), age 27, 4 caps

Joe Hart (Man City), age 23, 7 caps

Rob Green (West Ham), age 30, 11 caps (this seems low)

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), age 21, 1 cap

Ashley Cole (Chelsea), age 29, 85 caps

John Terry (Chelsea), age 29, 65 caps

Phil Jagielka (Everton), age 28, 8 caps

Joleon Lescott (Man City), age 28, 10 caps

Micah Richards (Man City), age 22, 11 caps

Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), age 32, 78 caps

Chris Smalling (Man Utd); age 20, no caps

Theo Walcott (Arsenal), age 21, 14 caps

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), age 18, 1 cap

Ashley Young (Aston Villa), age 25, 10 caps

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), age 30, 88 caps

Gareth Barry (Man City), age 29, 43 caps

Adam Johnson (Man City), age 23, 5 caps

James Milner (Man City), age 24, 14 caps

Jordan Henderson (Sunderland), age 20, no caps

Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), age 24, 3 caps

Jay Bothroyd (Cardiff), age 28, no caps

Andy Carroll (Newcastle), age 21, no caps

Peter Crouch (Tottenham). age 29, 41 caps

Average age: 25 1/4 years. Which I suppose is young, but in the life of a footballer? That's about prime, I'd guess. But I sincerely question some of these decisions. What's the point of Gareth Barry? Are there really no better central midfielders in England? Do we really need to see more of John Terry, and has Capello actually watched much of John Terry this season? Even Peter Crouch seems slightly unnecessary, but I guess England have a shortage of uninjured strikers right now.

I'm happy for Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor, I really am, but I find it hard to believe that Capello was fully present at Villa Park today. Yes, England have plenty of speedy wingers, but if you're really testing out young unknowns, give Marc Albrighton a run out in a game that doesn't matter. The football world was abuzz today about the young talent of Villa, and yet Capello insists on the devil he knows--and you better believe that if Rooney was fit, there would be no Agbonlahor on that squad.

I really have to question Capello's ability to evaluate talent if he sincerely thought that Young deserved a call over Stewart Downing. Yes, Young is versatile, but Capello will never play him anywhere but the right wing, that doesn't really matter. Downing has been on fire this season. His shot at the end of the match missed by maybe half an inch, and if Albrighton hadn't misdirected a header, Downing's cross to him would have been lauded as pure perfection. Meanwhile, Young spent the first half of the game giving the ball to United, whether it was through a misplayed pass or a gentle nudge to Van der Sar. I guess with Frank Lampard out, England need someone who can take a penalty kick.*

Grow a spine, Capello. Your inclusion of two youngsters with no caps, and two with one, doesn't show me that you've actually managed to find your backbone. It's time to take a chance. It's called a friendly for a reason.


*keep in mind, I still adore Ash. It's just that he's had a couple of really crappy games recently.