In case you’ve missed it (and if you live in England that’s impossible) the English national side start off their challenge for the World Cup later today. The whole country now thinks it’s a foregone conclusion that they’ll be lifting the trophy for the second time ever, 40 years after their only win in the tournament. Expectations are high.
Jamie Carragher looks set to miss out on a start today – despite being (in our completely impartial opinion) a far better central defender than the nervy looking Rio Ferdinand, the player who was suspended for six months for drug-testing offences is preferred. John Terry lines up alongside him and deservedly so, but it really should have been a Terry-Carra central defence.
Carra showed how much of a good right-back he can be too when he stood in for Gary Neville last weekend. His defensive abilities are unquestionable, but he got forward too and set up Crouch with a cross of the type Neville rarely manages to put in these days. He also got used in midfield in the friendly before and did an excellent job, until Neville got injured and Carra had to move to do his job for him.
Steven Gerrard is likely to be shackled to the more defensive of the two midfield roles today as the player with less ability to adapt is allowed the more attacking role. Frank Lampard likes the glory of the role he gets for England, or at least that’s how we see it from our completely impartial viewpoint. He’s not capable of playing the more defensive role, and as he gets older he’s less likely to ever be able to adapt. Most of the England players could play different roles if an injury crisis struck the squad, but not Lampard. That’s all he does. His most memorable action for us was probably when he broke Xabi Alonso’s ankle. Xabi actually tried to play on with that fracture – he even stamped his foot a few times in case it was just cramp,
Gerrard of course even got to play up front in the first of the two recent England friendlies, his national manager having a bit of an experimentation session to the horror of the national press. He wore the number nine and scored a goal, but it doesn’t look likely that he’ll be doing that again unless there’s a real emergency. For the second international it was the latest Anfield “character” who got the number nine shirt, following on from a subs appearance the game before. Peter Crouch has been a legend in the making for most Liverpool fans since he made his debut for the club almost a year ago in a pre-season fixture. The more the press got on his back the more the Reds fans loved him. Now he’s the press darling, we Reds fans still love him – and we are ready to catch him when the nation tries to knock him off his pedestal.
Crouch can’t have an “OK” game for England any more. If he doesn’t score a winner and take every chance, he’ll be heading for heavy criticism. If he misses one easy chance in a game then that’s the end of his hero status for the papers. Thankfully, he’ll be unaffected by it. The idiots at www.nocrouchforengland.co.uk got so much stick they took their site down, with a notice appearing briefly trying to hide their embarrassment, before they went into hiding with their tails between their legs. Nobody likes a bully, and Crouch is the sort of guy you can imagine had to take a lot of bullying and name-calling as he was growing up. Liverpool fans especially don’t like bullies, and those at that site soon found this out. The Press Association reporter who tried to take Crouch’s goals off him during the season is probably also in hiding now, hoping that nobody remembers his name.
A much more positive use of the Crouch phenomenon comes from “Robokop” who’s brought out a single he wrote on the spur of the moment called “Doing the Robocrouch”. A great bit of fun and unbelievably catchy, it’s ideal for getting everyone singing at the barbies this summer during the tournament. I defy you to be able to hear the words “Six foot seven” again without instantly wanting to sing “Touch like heaven” straight afterwards once you’ve heard this tune. You can hear a snippet of it at www.therobocrouch.com where you can also download for just one pound. It’s well worth a quid, I assure you.
Another Liverpool and England player is of course Scott Carson. Although he’s not likely to get a chance seeing as he’s third choice keeper, it’s good that he’s gone along with the rest of players as the experience will do him no harm.
Good luck today to England – but remember those four players belong to Liverpool. You are borrowing them, and you must treat them with respect, otherwise we might not let you lend them again.