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McClaren names his first England squad

Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:00 pm

By Jon Bramley and Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - David Beckham was left out of new England coach Steve McClaren's first squad on Friday, raising speculation that his international career is over.

Beckham, who quit as captain after England's quarter-final exit from the World Cup in July, did not feature in McClaren's list of 25 for next Wednesday's home friendly against Greece.

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But the 31-year-old Real Madrid player swiftly signaled in a statement to Reuters that his passion to play for England remained "as strong as ever."

Former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell and goalkeeper David James were also omitted from the squad while McClaren announced that ex-England coach Terry Venables would be his assistant.

West Ham United striker Dean Ashton and Tottenham Hotspur defender Michael Dawson were handed the chance to win their first caps and there were recalls for forwards Jermain Defoe and Marcus Bent, both surprisingly left out of the World Cup squad by former coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"I spoke with David last Monday and notified him of my decision," McClaren told a news conference.

"I told him I was planning for the future, looking to change things and go in a different direction, and David wasn't included within that.

"I have great respect for David, he has been a fantastic captain for England, a great player and still is a great player.

DOOR OPEN

"He took it well although he was disappointed, but I got the reaction that I wanted which is that he will continue to fight for his place and I will never close the door."

McClaren said he liked speedy wingers on either flank and Beckham did not fit into that category. "I wanted to establish a team for 2008 (European Championship). I like width, I like pace and I like penetration," he said.

"We'll do it my way with the players I've picked and I'll live and die by it. I am the head coach and it's my decision at the end of the day."

Beckham limped off with an Achilles tendon injury during England's defeat by Portugal on July 1 and the following day announced that he was standing down as captain after six years.

In his statement after he was dropped on Friday, Beckham said: "Having spoken to Steve McClaren this week I can fully understand that a new manager should want to make his mark on the team and build toward the next World Cup.

"I'm proud to have played for England for 10 years and my passion for representing my country remains as strong as ever."

McClaren's association with Beckham goes back to the days when he was assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, but he did not let sentiment get in the way of his thinking as he made his first big decision as England coach.

It now opens the question of whether Beckham, who has 94 caps, 58 as captain, will reach a century of appearances, a feat managed by only four other England players.

Beckham, who made his England debut in 1996, became the first England player to score in three World Cups when he netted the winner against Ecuador in June.

YOUNGER PLAYERS

Despite standing down as captain, Beckham had insisted that he still wanted to be part of McClaren's plans, although many have questioned his value to the team with the emergence of younger players in his position.

Tottenham Hotspur's Aaron Lennon, who is in the squad, is widely tipped to replace Beckham on the right side of midfield as is Chelsea's Shaun Wright-Phillips, back in favor after not being picked for the World Cup by Eriksson.

The leader of England's so-called golden generation, Beckham's hopes of emulating the late Bobby Moore by captaining his country to a first major trophy since 1966 have always ended in frustration and despair.

Beckham's highlights in an England shirt include his fantastic last-minute free kick against Greece in 2001 which rescued a 2-2 draw and a place in the 2002 World Cup finals and his penalty winner against Argentina in Japan.

There have been some lows, however, most notably his red card against Argentina at France 98 for a kick at Diego Simeone -- an act that led to vilification at home.

On Thursday, Chelsea defender John Terry was named as Beckham's successor as captain by McClaren.

"He has great hunger and desire to succeed and plays with great passion," McClaren said of the man he has entrusted to lead the team to the Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland.

(Additional reporting by Simon Baskett in Madrid)

Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:17 pm

And here's the squad:

Goalkeepers:

Paul Robinson (Tottenham Hotspur)
Chris Kirkland (Liverpool)
Ben Foster (Manchester United)

Defenders:

Wayne Bridge (Chelsea)
Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)
Wes Brown (Manchester United)
Ashley Cole (Arsenal)
Michael Dawson (Tottenham Hotspur)
Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)
Gary Neville (Manchester United)
Phil Neville (Everton)
John Terry (Chelsea)
Luke Young (Charlton Athletic)

Midfielders:

Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich)
Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough)
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham Hotspur)
Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur)
Kieran Richardson (Manchester United)
Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea)

Forwards:

Dean Ashton (West Ham United)
Darren Bent (Charlton Athletic)
Peter Crouch (Liverpool)
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur).

A few surprises here, although I thought Beckham and Campbell would be omitted, a new broom and all that.

Clearly, McClaren has named a squad with 2008 in mind, hence the exclusion of David James in favour of Kirkland (a great keeper, but prone to injury) and Foster (strange choice).

10 defenders? WHY? Far too many if you ask me. No need for any more than eight. Didn't think Dawson would be picked - I was expecting Woodgate to receive a recall but perhaps McClaren considers his time has past.

With the new boss stating that he was looking forward and moving in a new direction, I was shocked to see Everton's Phil Neville earn a recall. Don't get me wrong, as a staunch Evertonian I'm thrilled but thought he would be passed over from now on. His inclusion is likely to be met with consternation from most fans, but he's a versatile and reliable player.

Pleasing to see Wes Brown's included; he should've gone to Germany instead of Campbell. Who will be left out though when Ledley King returns?

Not sure if Luke Young has what it takes to be a reliable international.

Richardson is only in for Cole but he's a fine player, but Downing will start. However, I'm raising an eyebrow at Jenas' selection. Yes, he's a good player, but I'd have prefered a fifth striker (Johnson, for example) or even Nolan as a midfielder. Wright-Phillips deserves to be back in the squad, but has Lennon stole a march on him in the pecking order?

Surprised to see no involvement for Rooney as he was eligible for the friendly. I remain unconvinced by Bent, although Defoe probably warrants a recall. Ashton's selection is also deserved, can he make his mark at this level?

BTW, no Owen, Carrick, Joe Cole, King through injury.

Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:26 am

Andrew,

Are you sure Rooney was eligable? I assumed he was ineligible and was expecting his omission. I agree regarding the defence, TEN for crying out loud! Three cheers for the new attacking England. :wink:

I see no point in including players who will not figure in Euro 2008, therefore the inclusion of Phil Neville baffles me. The most worrying aspect though is the front, four decent players but they won't strike fear into any top international defence. Owen's too injury prone so he nees to decide on a consistent partner fopr Rooney fast.

As for Beckham, perhaps it was expected but the fact remains he is still better than half the squad. I think the clincher is the circus he attracts and he wants to start with a clean slate with Terry. With Beckham in the squad it would all be about Vicky and the WAGs. :D

No doubt though he was a fine England captain and player.

Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:10 am

I am not suprised at Beckham's absence. He hasn't performed for England for a long time. Long gone are the days when he used to influence games for us. I think that the time is right to drop him. Even at his age, you never know what dropping him from the squad can do. No one should be an automatic choice, if they are not playing well.

I too was under the impression that Rooney couldn't be involved. I can't see Mclaren not picking him if not. :shock:

Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:09 pm

When we have someone who can cross a ball from a 100 yards directly onto a moving coin then Beckham should be replaced.

I missed who it was in the new squad who can do that.

Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:32 pm

Steve_M wrote:When we have someone who can cross a ball from a 100 yards directly onto a moving coin then Beckham should be replaced.

I missed who it was in the new squad who can do that.


And he could do that Steve :shock: fair play :lol:

He was once the passion of the team. Sadly thats not been the case in the last year or so. I am a big fan of Beckham. Was superb during his Premiership days. I think the move for him as a footballer did him no good. He has never been the same since. He is still a threat of course...and dropping him might well just spur him on to get back...something like his best. I hope thats the case.

Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:55 am

I wasn't ever really a fan of his.

women swooned at his feet, he had more money than he could spend in 3 lifetimes and apparently he's mega good looking. i just thought he didn't need me as a fan - I'd hate to cramp his style.

Yep, he is not as good as he was, but that's like saying Elvis was past his peak in 1974 so why bother going to see him again.

Show me all the squad of 22 can play better than he currently does and I'll buy into the concept of dropping him at what is still a comparatively young age.

Tue Aug 15, 2006 6:46 pm

I'm pretty sure Rooney was available (he's suspended from our next two competitive games).

I read something about an injury, though, so that might explain his absence.

Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:01 pm

Steve_M wrote:When we have someone who can cross a ball from a 100 yards directly onto a moving coin then Beckham should be replaced.

I missed who it was in the new squad who can do that.


There's more to football than crossing a ball. Tackling, heading, going past defenders, attacking the defence and tracking back covering the right back, ALL are essential parts in a great footballer, NONE of which Beckham has EVER done but Gerrard and Lampard etc can do.

I remember Gerrard f##king Beckham out of it for not tracking back and covering during the World Cup.
During the WCup all the players stayed in regular hotel rooms but Beckham stayed in a top Suite! WHY? Who the f##k does he think he is?
:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:06 pm

Beckham did cover at right-back during the World Cup - I think it was one of the group games when Lennon replaced Carragher - but yes he wasn't one for defending, although he wasn't in the team for that.

One thing I will say about Beckham is that he should still be in the squad, if only to come off the bench for the last 20 minutes. His football brain is intact - it's his legs that are on the way out - and his passing and free-kicks could still get us out of trouble, as they did against Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and Ecuador in Germany.

Beckham on the bench is not a bad sub to have!

An encouraging win last night.