In the weeks running up to Brazil 2014, there was a lot of debate concerning who would be part of Woy’s Boys and there was a faint sense of optimism concerning West Ham fans as to the prospect of seeing one their own play for the Three Lions.
However, it was frankly unsurprising not seeing one West Ham player on the plane to Brazil with the poor performances in the league last season. And if this week has taught us anything as West Ham and England fans, there is a lot of hope but not often a lot of follow through. Seeing England bow out of the World Cup with two defeats and a draw surprised even myself as a ‘pessimistic’ England supporter, to have seen England’s lacklustre performances, especially against Uruguay and Costa Rica, despite breakout seasons or continued supremacy for many of these players in the Premier League.
So that got me thinking; does England really need a bit of Claret and Blue? Leaving out the Hammers’ famous World Cup in 1966, recent England players such as John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Glen Johnson have strived in their football careers, for club and country. And, you guessed it! They all spent their academy years at the Hammers (but not to take credit for their success!).
So let’s see if we really do have what it takes to field some England players in the next few years.
Firstly, in terms of defenders, the only real prospect I am seeing at the moment is James Tomkins and after having a solid season despite a lot of transfer talk at the beginning, I think he is settling down into Sam’s set up and definitely has a strong case, if he does well this year, to be in with a shout. But it’s an outside chance. Cahill is starting England player no matter what in my eyes, but I don’t see Jagielka being around for much longer but Smalling and Jones are waiting to snap up his place when the time has come.
There is also a chance that Dan Potts may be more involved in the West Ham set up this season which could give him some much need top-level experience, however, this all depends on how meteoric or not his rise in top tier football is. And if West Ham sign Micah Richards, I don’t see any reason why a previously capped England right back can’t come back to challenge an older and slower Glen Johnson for his position. They’re all ‘ifs’ though.
West Ham are strong in terms of home-grown talent in the midfield roles, but certainly not all of them can start for The Three Lions! My two biggest nominations for a call-up is undoubtedly Mark Noble and Ravel Morrison. There has been much debate about these two in their own ways in the last 6 months, but I don’t think there is a debate. England needs a player who will put 110% into each and every game and can take penalties. Then why look any further than Canning Town’s very own Mark Noble.
He’s reliable, makes more passes than anyone else in the West Ham team, is one of the best penalty takers in Europe and hasn’t even been given one cap for England. Madness! As for Rav, I think he is an outstanding English talent with the world at his feet if he chooses it to be. However, there are still a few attitude adjustments that need in order to turn Ravel into an incredible professional, both on and off the pitch. That, and a few minor improvements in his game and he is a dead cert to be in the England squad in the next year or two. As for the others, I don’t see Jarvis or Stewart Downing getting another crack on the international stage or Kevin Nolan blocking goalkeepers during corners for England, which means they can focus on bringing home the titles for us!
And finally, Andy Carroll, one of the finest mysteries to ever occur in English football. He is the most expensive English transfer in the game, but is sold to us for £14 million, scores a goal for England in the Euros and doesn’t get another say afterwards. I think Andy is pivotal for England, especially for the next two years. It is evident that Wayne Rooney is either past his best or bad at handling the media in the greatest tournament known to the game. Although I still see him being involved with England, I can’t see him retain his favourite role (whatever that is) which I think is as a forward.
He is a mystery for another day, but as far as I see, Andy Carroll is a brute force and although some teams know how to handle him in the Premier League, other countries will be none the wider and defenders will have a long game trying to keep Andy Carroll quite. Whether he is providing the assist or banging them in himself, Andy Carroll could be a luxury for England and hopefully one that doesn’t end up like Dean Ashton (as a side note: I still think Deano would be playing for England right now if not for his unfortunate injury……. caused by England!
I think, therefore that we do have a lot to offer in terms of England players, but the team will need to prove it this season as I know they are capable of doing.