As England boss Fabio Capello eyes the future of English football by additions to recent squads such as Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker and Theo Walcott to name a few, it’s a tried a tested Premier League star Leighton Baines that I think deserves a serious thought for future selections.
Ashley Cole is one of the final few survivors from eras past as the likes of Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand seem to be falling from grace but I would question his selection ahead of Baines.
Cole is the obvious choice at left back and is a safe pair of hands but if England are to mount a serious attempt at winning a major tournament then Capello should pursue every avenue at face value.
While Chelsea full back Cole is arguably the quicker of the two, Baines possesses an excellent delivery from both set pieces and open play, he strikes a reliable and deadly free kick and I believe is a more potent attacking threat than Cole.
Not for a second am I suggesting that Cole shouldn’t be in the squad or even that if I were England manger he wouldn’t start certain matches but in fixtures were England aren’t playing particularly well or attacking fluent enough – and, let’s face it, this does happen frequently enough – then Baines – from a set piece, direct free kick or simply from a cross in open play – could be the man to unlock the most rigid defences whether it be from a set piece, direct free kick or simply from a cross in open play.