Making his debut for The False Nine, Joe Hall looks at a list of potential wild card picks for England next summer…
The World Cup Wildcard: the final, desperate attempt of an England manager who has suddenly realised the impending humiliation and dejection he is about to face.
Ahead of recent World Cups, every England manager has seemed to pick one player he knows nothing about in the blind hope he could be the next Gascoigne. The “wildcard” will not have played for England much (if at all) and will nearly always have displayed some form of skill or invention that deludes us into thinking he can have an effect.
The results have been mixed. In ’98 Hoddle caved into public pressure (The Sun ran a campaign of course) to pick Michael Owen and it worked a treat.
In 2006 not one, but two “wildcard” choices made their way to Baden-Baden. Aaron Lennon, uncapped but impressive for Tottenham, was a bold but typical choice from Sven-Goran Eriksson. Theo Walcott, who had run really fast in the Championship, was inexplicable.
And then there was Mike Bassett’s inspired and redemptive selection of Kevin Tonkinson.
Who will it be this year? Here’s five players who, with a late surge of form, could convince Hodgson they will be the man to send England into the promised land of a semi-final.
The False Nine’s Simon Smith looks at the curious case of the wide-forward. Why does nobody like them, and not least the players themselves?
The wide forward has long been something of a misfit within English football. They play an important role in the increasingly popular 4-3-3 formation, but don’t sit easily with the 4-4-2 we continue to think in terms of.
2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the January Transfer Window, Freddie Mickshik looks at some of the transfers that have become part of football folklore…
It’s the start of 2013, which aside from futile resolutions and intense hangovers means the opening of the January transfer window, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. This mid-season shopping window gives managers the chance to add to their squad and potentially find those extra few goals or tighten a shaky back four enough to secure a title or beat the drop. The shortness and timing of it, however, means the new year sees many a panic buy (Savio anyone? Thought not.)