Andre Villas-Boas rap!
Thierry Henry at 19.
Mario forgot to use the special dandruff shampoo for his neckbeard this morning…
This all seemed so distant not very long ago, but two tournaments are coming up in the football calendar that I want to focus on, it’s up to you which is more important.Those are the Olympic football tournament, and Euro 2012 . I originally was only going to discuss the Olympic squad, but they both over-lap so much, that it seemed inevitable to include the effect the euros have in this as well.
Their are two major differences between the criteria and rules of selection for both squads:
The Olympic squad will be made up of players from all U.K national sides, and all players in that squad will be UNDER 23 years of age (bar 3).
Selecting players for the Olympic squad effectively rules them out of the Euros, and vice versa as Stuart Pearce has already stated he won’t select players for the Olympics who are already selected for the euros.
Anyway, on to my picks for the Olympic squad.
The first and very key area of the 18-man squad is that of goalkeepers, and it makes sense to select two.
I originally planned to select Wayne Hennessey, but frustration set in when I realised he is 24, just over the age limit.
My two goal-keeping selections are:
Jack Butland (Birmingham & England) – A player with a fast-growing reputation for being a mature, calm and reliable goalkeeper, a sure future England player.
Grant Adam (Rangers & Scotland) – A regular selection for Scottish youth sides.
Though if Alex Smithies of Huddersfield returns from injury before the seasons end, I would surely replace Grant Adam with him, and shift Butland to back-up.
As any person knowledgeable of football knows, a solid defence is key to success. This makes the defensive selections equally as vital as the goalkeepers.
My five defensive selections are:
Chris Gunter (Cardiff & Wales) – A highly impressive right back with good attacking skills and blistering pace, also capable of playing left back.
Martin Kelly (Liverpool & England) – solid, dependable right back who can also play in the middle, will probably just miss the cut for Euro 2012, so makes my olympic squad.
Neil Taylor (Swansea & Wales) – the left back’s reputation is steadily rising as a capable left back and fits well into Swansea stylish passing play.
Darcy Blake (Cardiff & Wales)- the Centre-back is an unsung hero of cardiff’s team, and plays with absolute courage and is a decent defender to boot. An easy choice to make.
Steven Caulker (Swansea on loan & England)- the young Spurs defender earned rave reviews while on loan at Bristol City last season, for being a calm defender with composed passing play also, drawing comparisons to Rio Ferdinand.
Many of you may question as to why I didn’t select players like: Walker, Jones, Smalling. But I anticipate with high confidence they will be going to Euro 2012.
I have decided to select seven midfield players, and a key criteria being versatility to compensate for injuries.
My seven midfield selections are as follows:
Victor Moses (Wigan & England) - the young Nigerian-born winger seems to have finally adjusted to the EPL and also seems to be leaning towards representing the English national team; he makes my squad.
Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool & England) – the shiny-headed former Charlton youth star has drawn many glamorous comparisons (e.g. his team-mate and captain Steven Gerrard). His reputation has been massive for years now, and a recent loan spell at Blackpool and his performances at Liverpool upon his return show he can play brilliantly at a high level.
Chris Brunt (WBA & Northern Ireland) – one of my 3 over-age selections, the NI midfielder and WBA captain is well-known as a consistent and hard-working player with a decent eye for goal.
Charlie Adam (Liverpool & Scotland) – my second over-age selection joins his younger brother in the squad. The playmaker and set-piece wizard was the easiest selection to make. He has proven (to me at least) at Liverpool that his Blackpool heroics were no fluke.
Josh McEachran (Chelsea & England)– the wiry youngster has been nipping around the heels of Chelsea’s starting midfielders for a couple seasons now, and I feel will be a future England player, but I feel the Euros are too soon, so he is in my Olympic selections.
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal & Wales) - the Cardiff academy product has done very well to recover from serious injury and then some. He is a key player for Arsenal in their quest to reclaim former glories, another easy selection to make.
Gareth Bale (Spurs & Wales) - The tormentor of The San Siro would I’m sure be the first name down for many football fans, and in answer to his critics, the speedy winger has shown consistently high performances unlike last seasons supposed flukes.
Both Bale and Moses can play in more advanced roles further up the pitch, which gives me the security to only select four forwards which are:
Craig Bellamy (Liverpool & Wales) -
the Cardiff native has shown on his return to Anfield that he is still very much top-drawer, and his experience and passion would I feel be as important as his actual playing qualities. This experience compensates for my non-selection of the much touted David Beckham.
Nathan Delfouneso (Villa & England) -
the U21 regular needs to now buckle down and prove he is the real deal rather than just a prospect, and the young striker could do just that in London.
Andy Carroll (Liverpool & England) -
one of my more risky selections, I feel his form to date at Liverpool does not warrant a Euro 2012 squad place, but his eligibility and experience shouldn’t be ignored, and if he behaves and knuckles down, like Nathan Delfouneso, this tournament could be the making of him, or indeed the breaking.
David Goodwillie (Blackburn & Scotland) -another selection dogged by controversy (and a hilarious name), he has shown in his career so far glimpses of unquestionable talent, if in the time remaining of the season his form picks up as I predict, he will be an obvious choice and key player.
Those are my choices for Team GB!
Who would you choose? Feel free to comment, all views appreciated.
By Ben Coombs – Bristol City fan - @benmarksson