England Soapbox: bravo Fraizer Campbell, two cheers for Stuart Pearce

Pete Sixsmith enjoyed that goal, and so it seems did Stuart Pearce, that rare breed of England manager – caretaker though he may be – capable of seeing talent north of the north-west Midlands (ie Manchester and Liverpool) …

Another gem from Jake

I dashed off an email to M Salut earlier today, saying that I would do a piece of classic spleen-venting when the England squad was announced today for the friendly against The Netherlands next week.

My ire was up after I read a piece in The Guardian extolling the virtues of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the child who had spent the last two Saturdays at the Stadium of Light, firmly inside Kieran Richardson’s pocket and Tom Cleverley, who has played three games for Manchester United this season.

And what happens? Stuart bloody Pearce goes and spoils the whole thing by naming Fraizer Campbell in the squad.



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It’s a great boost for a player who could have lost his career to injuries that, 20 years ago, would have had him buying a newsagent’s shop in his home town of Huddersfield. He has worked so hard to get back and has looked sharp and lively and, most importantly, in goalscoring form.

I thought that there might have been a place for Lee Cattermole as he is the type of up and at ‘em player that Pearce loves, but it looks as if the permanently overrated Scott Parker has nabbed that place.

Jack Colback? Kieran Richardson? Craig Gardner? Michael Turner? Ryan Noble? All of them would, in the vernacular, “do a job” for Pearce and the England team, but they were left out in favour of the likes of Gareth Barry, Micah Richards, Steven “Stevie G” Gerrard, Gary Cahill and Darren B£nt. Anyone think that Cahill is any better than Turner? I don’t.

I doubt very much that Fabio Capello would have bothered with Campbell, seeing as the myopic and geographically challenged Italian multimillionaire had no idea of where Sunderland was, so well done to Stuart Pearce for taking a look at the most improved club in English football and picking one of our players.

In fact, of the five forwards selected, three of them are either current or former Sunderland players, with Danny Welbeck and the aforementioned B£nt making up the trio. Fraizer worked well with B£nt in the full season they had together and they could make an impact at international level, although the latter’s form has slipped as his club have begun to slide down the league and risk becoming relegation candidates.

Of the 22 outfield players, only Fraizer, B£nt and Leighton Baines come from clubs outside what the media regard as the top six – City, United, Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool – which doesn’t offer much of an incentive to players at other clubs to stay with them.

There are some decent players in the squad. I like Kyle Walker, the Spurs full back and think Cleverley has real potential.

However, I am a wee bit mystified to see what others see in Theo Walcott. At 22, he should be doing a lot more than he does for Arsenal, and he was probably the most disappointing of their players in the mini-saga played out on Wearside over the last two weeks. I can’t think of many at Liverpool who would have a good word to say about Stewart Downing.

But, by and large, this is a decent selection. No Lampard, no Carroll, no Mags, so I can at least offer some nominal support to the national team, although I shall be more interested in watching the action at the King George V Playing Field, where Guisborough Town are taking on the mighty Shildon.

Now, that’s proper football …

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6 thoughts on “England Soapbox: bravo Fraizer Campbell, two cheers for Stuart Pearce”

  1. Pleased as I am to see him in the squad it seems very soon after his long term injury with only a couple of full games under his belt. Let’s hope that he doesn’t get hurt and will still be available for selection next weekend.

  2. You are probably right Goldy. Maybe Mr Pearce thinks that he is as good (or potentially) at least as others who have been in and out of the team. Crouch and Defoe are getting on a bit now and there’s a real need for some youngsters to come through and make their mark. Despite my comments above FC is probably as good as anyone in that bracket right now.

  3. It’s probably just a statement to the regulars and a personal reward to him from his under 21 manager, for all his hard work. If it wasn’t a friendly he’d be nowhere near the squad. Can understand how that seems odd, but i get the logic behind it. I really do.

  4. I don’t want to burst any celebratory balloons here. I am a Sunderland supporter, who like so many others has grown extremely disillusioned with the England team (Evening Standard XI).

    It’s great that Campbell has been given a chance, but let’s be serious for a moment. Does anyone think that Campbell would have been within a country mile of the national side in any other era in living memory?

    Of course he wouldn’t. Best of luck to the lad, and I hope he does well. Credit to Pearce for thinking about things in a different way and I hope his punt on Campbell pays off. We had the Euro Golden Boot winner who couldn’t get arrested. Darren Bent who couldn’t miss the net if he tried, and he couldn’t get a proper look in either. Is Campbell in the same class as those two. No, and it’s an emphatic no at that. He may become a truly international class player, but he’s some way off. Lineker? Owen in his pomp? Nah, I don’t see that.

    Given that he’s barely back from an 18 month lay off, it is very surprising to me that he is getting a call up. It speaks volumes about the quality of English forwards right now more than anything else.

    Don’t get me wrong, best of luck to him. I hope he does well.

  5. Refreshing to see an England manager think outside the box, just a little. His comments indicating Campbell and England will benefit from his inclusion are too refreshing to put into words for me.

    I used to travel around to watch England, but as the national side, and friendlies in particular, have evolved into some exhibition of pompous footballers remaining in their own little cliques and strolling around an atmosphere deprived Wembley, it has became a chore, one i reluctantly stick with albeit through the medium of television nowadays.

    Rather than just sticking with the same old names and occassionally calling up a newbie before playing them in a untried, ineffective position (Henderson), it is about time that cliques were broken, form players were selected and teams were picked and systems changed in reaction to our opposition. WHo knows, if they start moving friendlies about the country, i may start going again. Happy memories.

  6. I hope Campbell does actually get a game and shows what he can do. I also hope he comes off the field in one piece. I’m not sure the Netherlands know what a “friendly” is. As the last World Cup showed, they’re possibly the most cynical national team on the planet. Whatever it takes…

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