FanDuel - WFBC

May 09, 2006

Meet Theo Walcott of Arsenal Reserves... and England: The 17-year-old striker has made it into the provisional squad for Germany, in spite of never making a first-team appearance for his club since signing from Southampton. Then again, no-one had heard of Pelé in 1958, either.

posted by etagloh to soccer at 12:48 AM - 36 comments

Full provisional squad here. I'm delighted that Downing's in, though he's likely to be brought on from the bench for left-hand width. And Walcott's inclusion is certainly going to stop people talking about metatarsals for a day or so.

posted by etagloh at 12:50 AM on May 09

Only four recognised strikers? Seems a bit thin with Rooney's injury to consider. But who else could they pick? Marcus Bent is not an international striker, neither is Andy Johnson. But we said much the same thing about Steve Bull in 1990, and they made it to the semis...

posted by owlhouse at 01:37 AM on May 09

Well Sven is sure aiming to go out on a high/low... I was heading into this World Cup full of optimism. As an ex-pat, I still support England, and was really looking forward to this years cup... Starting to get nervous now though. Rooney potentially down, Owen looking potentially dodgy...

posted by Drood at 02:56 AM on May 09

Well Sven is sure aiming to go out on a high/low... I was heading into this World Cup full of optimism. As an ex-pat, I still support England, and was really looking forward to this years cup... Starting to get nervous now though. Rooney potentially down, Owen looking potentially dodgy...

posted by Drood at 02:57 AM on May 09

Seen the kid Walcott play a couple of times for Southampton this season (the missus is a Saints fanatic). He has blistering pace but he's very raw yet. Might frighten slow defenders for the first ten minutes he's on the pitch but if Championship defenders could get the hang of him then International defenders surely should be able to. Don't get me wrong, he's a fantastic prospect but I would guess his inclusion is a year or two early as he still has no guile when his pacey running and hard shot fail to beat a defence. I'm not quite sure what Sven thinks he's up to with that squad. Liverpool fans will tell you that we never got any change out of Owen for two months after an injury and Rooney might make the final on crutches, so at the moment we're going into a major competition with only Peter Crouch as a recognised striker. As much as I love Crouchie, he's not a natural goalscorer: he needs the right partner. Surely at least Defoe who has impressed for England in the past should get the shout? Let alone the inclusion of Lennon who again is a fine prospect but is not Sean Wright Phillips. And don't get me started on Hargreaves and Jenas instead of Parker. The only positive thing I can find to say is that at least Downing is in the squad: England with a natural left winger? Never thought I'd see it in my lifetime. Probably won't get a game.

posted by walrus at 03:04 AM on May 09

Theo Walcott on YouTube, just in case you want to take a gander...

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:23 AM on May 09

Cheers worldcup2002. Some atrocious defending in those videos! And of course they don't tell the whole story: Walcott started very well for Saints last season but his star faded rapidly as defenders got the hang of him. Those clips showcase his talent, but not the occasions where he came on for twenty or thirty minutes and couldn't get in the game. That's my main quibble: he obviously has massive potential, but will he get a look in with no experience against top International defenders? If he can produce his best on that stage at seventeen years old then he will be a special talent indeed. Not saying it can't happen, but personally I would be pleasantly surprised going on what I've seen of him as yet.

posted by walrus at 03:36 AM on May 09

I should say "this season", not "last season" above. Sorry for the typo.

posted by walrus at 03:41 AM on May 09

Perhaps worse than none of us having seen him play in the Premiership - Sven hasn't even seen him play in a match. "I've seen him perhaps three times in training," said Eriksson. "At Arsenal training on Saturday I saw him play 11 against 11 on a half pitch. "You can see how good the technique is because space is very small. And I saw him do some finishing."

posted by JJ at 04:02 AM on May 09

I also want to know why the hell Boris Johnson didn't get picked.

posted by JJ at 06:42 AM on May 09

England with a natural left winger? Never thought I'd see it in my lifetime You must be old enough to remember Steve Guppy, surely? "Good left feet are like bricks of gold, and Geoff Hurst had a hammer in his." - Kenneth Wolstenhome, I think.

posted by owlhouse at 07:52 AM on May 09

"You must be old enough to remember Steve Guppy, surely?" Actually I'm so old that I'd completely forgotten that friendly against Belgium. What was the score again? Liking the quote about Hurst.

posted by walrus at 08:21 AM on May 09

I support all things England when it comes to the World Cup, and I am certainly anything but a casual afficionado - yet even I think this squad is looking pretty fucking dubious. Damn. Rooney's injury looked like a career ender when it happened - I only actually saw the footage last weekend. Get it? Footage? Swish.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:35 AM on May 09

Seems to me that Bent or even Fowler might have been a better selection than Walcott (and I'm an Arsenal supporter). Sven says he left off Wright-Phillips because he hadn't seen enough of him, but picks Walcott? Sorry, I just don't understand it.

posted by scully at 09:01 AM on May 09

Think of Sven as a poker player (of little talent). The showdown is approaching (i.e. he's out of there come July 10th) and his chip stack has taken a couple of nasty hits (Rooney and Owen) and plenty of little nibbles (Ashley Cole, John Terry, Sol Campbell) in recent months. So now, he's going all in with Walcott (who I think of as being ace, seven off suit - standing alone, it's worth nothing, but it has the potential for greatness) rather than trudging on with Bent (pair of 5's) or Defoe (Jack Queen off suit). The only real problem with my analogy is that the whole world knows Brazil has pocket bullets and the Italians might be slow-playing something similar. So there you go. Germany to win - put a monkey on it.

posted by JJ at 09:19 AM on May 09

No offense to Walcott but I think this squad is Sven's surreally evil parting gift to the madness that is English football. And JJ, I'll raise you a monkey that Brazil lift the trophy once more.

posted by billsaysthis at 09:37 AM on May 09

Great analogy JJ. I guess that makes the US a 2 /5 off suit. A shot at a surprise low straight that gets them through, but easily beaten by any other good hand.

posted by trox at 10:09 AM on May 09

trox - no offence to a rapidly improving outfit, but the US are the two of clubs and the Bridge Scoring Rules that someone forgot to take out of the pack before they shuffled.

posted by JJ at 10:18 AM on May 09

Bill - I'll take some of that action - the South Americans don't tend to shine in Europe for some reason.

posted by JJ at 10:18 AM on May 09

Although, now that I've said that, they're nailed on.

posted by JJ at 10:19 AM on May 09

no offence to a rapidly improving outfit, but the US are the two of clubs and the Bridge Scoring Rules that someone forgot to take out of the pack before they shuffled. So, um, yeah. Ranked fourth? Fluke? Scam? Rigged? What?

posted by rgchappell at 11:21 AM on May 09

Someone above mentioned Scott Parker. He's got 'glandular fever', which as I understand is the same as Mononucleosis. He isn't going to be playing for a while...

posted by sauril at 11:26 AM on May 09

rgchappell: I won't speak for everyone here, but many people feel that the rankings are just not based on sound science. It's been discussed before, and off-topic in this thread. I took think this may be Sven's revenge.

posted by scully at 11:53 AM on May 09

And here I was saying that England could win! Then Owen and Rooney get screwed and now we have an untried youngster on the team. Bloody bad luck if you ask me.

posted by Goyoucolts at 03:02 PM on May 09

Rooney's just not meant to play the World Cup, is he? Man. And to pick Walcott (whose greatest achievements -- I watched several of those highlight videos -- are beating the pants off a bunch of his peers and a couple of games in the Championship) is surely madness. Maybe Sven needed another "youth hero" to replace Rooney. Except that, if Walcott can get picked for the World Cup, then Freddy Adu should be a first-teamer for the US World Cup team. My word, they could've picked any of a number of EPL strikers to replace Rooney, such as the oft-mentioned Darren and Defoe. In terms of EPL goals, one might have picked: Bent (18), Harewood (14), Beattie (10) - OK, maybe not Beattie. Sorry if I picked any non-Englishmen - I don't pay much attention outside of Liverpool. Heh.

posted by worldcup2002 at 10:01 PM on May 09

Sven picking this Walcott kid isn't bad luck...seems downright idiotic if you ask me. I agree with the Rooney/Owen assessment being bad luck though. I think Robbie Fowler with his recent form at Liverpool would have made a great choice. As for the US being garbage, you guys haven't paid attention to our players and matches very closely. We have held our own in most games (with the exception of the last couple when our Europe players were not yet available). The US are a force in the world of football now and there are a lot of people who don't want to admit it. Do I think they're fourth in the world? No. They are a legitimate top 10 team however and stand a decent chance of moving on to the elimination round. And if we can get a little bit lucky and win our group then our bracket to the quarterfinals isn't very strong (assuming Brazil win their group also).

posted by Ricardo at 05:04 AM on May 10

Ricardo - no one said they were garbage - they're clearly not - but I don't agree that they're the fourth best team in the world, in fact I don't even agree that they're a top ten team. Brazil, England, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Holland, France, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden. There's a dozen I'd put up there as better - with the likes of Mexico, Croatia and Ukraine also possibly better. But, as you say, they have a decent draw that could see them progress - and it's the World Cup, so anything can happen! They're much improved, and far from the plucky outsiders they once were, but they're not a top tier team yet.

posted by JJ at 07:35 AM on May 10

The US will need to be more than a "little bit lucky" to win a group including the Czechs and Italians. Especially as everyone knows that if you finish second in the group, you're almost certainly up against Brazil in the first knockout stage. It's not just a bad group for the US, it's a bad pairing, (runner up probably faces Brazil) and even the order of games conspire against the US, as I've mentioned previously. There's no doubt that the US has improved in the 12 years since they hosted the World Cup, but I'll be interested to see what happens to the support when the very solid performance of '02 is followed by a likely early exit in '06.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:32 AM on May 10

"Maybe Sven needed another "youth hero" to replace Rooney. Except that, if Walcott can get picked for the World Cup, then Freddy Adu should be a first-teamer for the US World Cup team." Well they do say "if you're good enough, you're old enough". So I'd give them both a couple more years ... but then I'm not a talent scout. It's a big gamble and if it pays off Sven will be lauded as a genius, but if it fails then he was losing the job anyway. The cynic in me says that Walcott's selection is all about Sven and not at all about Walcott, whose confidence will take a huge knock if he's selected and then bombs.

posted by walrus at 08:36 AM on May 10

they have a decent draw that could see them progress In light of Bismark's comment - where the hell did I get that from? They'll need a miracle to get out of that group, and if they do, they'll need another to get past Brazil.

posted by JJ at 09:58 AM on May 10

I have 50 bucks that says the USA won't beat Ghana. Any takers?

posted by owlhouse at 05:56 PM on May 10

I'd say player wise, most of those teams are better than the US, but when you factor in coaching, I think we have a soccer genius in Bruce Arena who hopefully will be at the helm of US soccer for many years to come.

posted by Ricardo at 09:48 PM on May 10

but when you factor in coaching, I think we have a soccer genius in Bruce Arena Good God, Ricardo, what are you on?

posted by owlhouse at 11:39 PM on May 10

Are those Aussie bucks you're throwing around there owlhouse? Even if they are, I'm not taking that bet.

posted by JJ at 06:13 AM on May 11

I suspect a few people in England would rather Arena in charge than Steve McClaren. But I'll take some of Ricardo's cakes nonetheless.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:34 PM on May 11

Are those Aussie bucks you're throwing around there owlhouse I'm happy to offer 50 Pacific Pesos, USD, Swiss Francs, Tongan Pa'anga or cans of Kilkenny.

posted by owlhouse at 05:34 PM on May 11

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