Aston Villa have a lion on their crest, so I can call them the Lions...right? Because otherwise my clever pun doesn't work.
We always knew James Milner was going to South Africa. He's been a lock since March, it seems. He'll bring more depth to midfield--and if Steven Gerrard can't shake off his knee niggles, or can't play well with Frank Lampard, he'll be a welcome force in the center. Plus, if Glen Johnson keeps forgetting how to defend (see Japan, 7th minute) and Jamie Carragher somehow hurts himself, we can use James at right back. He's so handy to have around!
Emile Heskey is in, prompting a flurry of jokes throughout the internet. Heskey is a big target who provides fun fodder--mostly to people who look to shiny shiny goals and forget the fact that sometimes a forward's sole purpose isn't just to get the ball in the net. While I might not love Heskey for Villa, anyone grumbling about him today clearly didn't have their eyes open for the last fifteen minutes of the England v Japan friendly. Yes, he missed an absolute sitter--but he also won a free kick, controlled the ball, and would've had a goal had Nakazawa not managed to poke the ball into his own net. And Wayne Rooney loves to play with him. If England fans want their talisman to be at his best, then give the Heskey jokes a rest.
The surprise this morning (afternoon) was the inclusion of Stephen Warnock over Leighton Baines. Considering I've yet to hear anyone who is not a fan of Everton make a case for taking Baines to South Africa, and after his pitiable showing against Mexico it would've been difficult for Capello himself to justify that decision. Yet Warnock didn't set foot on the field on Sunday, leading many (including me) to assume that nothing he'd done in training would warrant a trip to the World Cup. Perhaps it's simply a case of not messing up? Whatever it is, Villa fans are proud of you, Stephen. You might not see time on the pitch--even a Villa fan knows that Ashley Cole is world-class--but just having you go is a testament to your skill.
Full England Squad:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green
Defenders: Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry , Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock
Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillip
Forwards: Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney
Watching at home: Leighton Baines, Darren Bent, Adam Johnson, Scott Parker, Michael Dawson,Tom Huddlestone, and Theo Walcott