England assistant coach Gary Neville has bizarrely claimed that the current Three Lions’ front men are the envy of world football…
SOURCE: The Sun
England face two potentially defining World Cup qualifiers over the course of the next week that could ultimately decide the international futures of both head coach Roy Hodgson and the man that he surprisingly brought in to help coach the team, former Manchester United captain Gary Neville.
With England currently trailing Group H leaders Montenegro by two points ahead of their crucial showdown in Podgorica next Tuesday evening – a qualifier Hodgson and Neville dare not lose if they wish to keep qualification for Brazil 2014 in their own hands – perhaps it should be thought of as morale boosting that Neville feels so strongly about the quality of England’s attacking options.
Just to recap, Neville picked out Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Jermaine Defoe and big Andy Carroll as being the strikers that the rest of Europe would jump at the chance to have in their starting line-ups, which is quite some statement.
For starters, the pony-tailed on-loan West Ham United attacker Carroll has not even been called up by Hodgson for the upcoming World Cup qualifying double header with San Marino on Friday and then away in Montenegro a week on Tuesday, so that already casts some doubts on Neville’s assertion.
And as for the other four strikers that the assistant coach picked out, only Rooney is clearly a wolrd-class international forward, although even he has struggled of late to reproduce his eye-catching club form on the world stage for all to see, and especially for England in the finals of major international tournaments dating all the way back to his breakthrough campaign with the Three Lions as a fresh-faced 18-year-old at Euro 2004 in Portugal.
Which leaves us with Tottenham Hotspur’s inconsistent attacker Defoe, Liverpool’s young, mercurial and as yet at the highest level, untested striker Sturridge. Last but not least, United forward Welbeck – a player who has actually brought his scintillating club form with him to the national set up under Hodgson and who could (if he continues to progress at the same pace) actually live up to Neville’s description.