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Saturday, 3 June, 2000, 21:05 GMT 22:05 UK
Has Keegan got it right?
England coach Kevin Keegan has named his squad of 22 for Euro 2000 - but is it a winning formula?
The door has closed on Manchester United's Andy Cole, with Keegan blaming an injury worry while the striker insists he is fit for the trip.
Aston Villa keeper David James also misses out, along with West Ham defender Rio Ferdinand and Newcastle's midfielder Kieron Dyer.
Andy Cole was joined on Wednesday by David James, Rio Ferdinand, and Kieron Dyer as the four players left out of Keegan's 22-man squad for Euro 2000.
And while that quartet was left to make alternative plans for the summer, those toasting confirmation of a trip to Holland and Belgium included strikers Robbie Fowler and Kevin Phillips, teenage defender Gareth Barry and midfielders Nick Barmby and Steven Gerrard.
So is this the right 22 to carry England's chances into Europe? Who would you have left out or included? Can this team lift the trophy?
What do you think? Email now.
Has Keegan got it right?
There have been comments put forward by some that Mr. Keegan should have left Alan Shearer out of the team. That would be the way to go, wouldn't it? Leave out one of the leading scorers and someone who led them to their only championship of importance in decades in France? Get real!
"Kevin Keegan has done as well as he
could have, given the players available"
I think not. KK has some of the best
players in the world available to him.
By rights, England should be looking to
win every tournament they play but
have only managed to do so once. I
don't think KK is a good enough manager
to make any difference to this tournament.
I believe that Keegan has chosen the right squad for the tournament. The standard of English football is forever rising, we may not have won in Europe this season but we were up there with the best.
Phillips has earned is place in the squad, he has had an outstanding season with Sunderland lets hope he can net a few for England.
My views on Cole are even if he wasn't injured he has not earned a place in the squad from this season's performance. As with previous seasons I feel he is too inconsistant to feature in the squad. He has not shone this season and this was the right decision. As for Dyer I was surprised he was not selected, but with the strength of the squad who could Keegan have left out. Dyer is at the start of his career I think he will will feature strongly in the squad in years to come.
I was pleased to see McManaman in the squad, in my view he is a strong minded talented player. He just needs chance to prove this with England. He has had a good season on the European scene let's hope he can shine for England as is expected of him.
I can't believe Keegan has left Cole out.
He regularly plays at the highest level in
the Champions League, which none of the
other strikers do. Fowler has hardly played all
season, Owen is constantly under the
threat of injury, even though he must go
as he is an obvious threat. I can't believe
Heskey is going, he is totally unproven
and doesn't look the part at all. I feel sorry for Keegan really, as he
just hasn't got any quick central defenders of real quality
Surely people can't suggest that the exclusion of fringe players such as Rio Ferdinand, Kieron Dyer, Andy Cole and David James is going to have any significant effect on whether England can win Euro 2000 or not. Their omission from the squad is a mere detail rather than a crucial factor in our success or failure.
I can't wait till Shearer retires from
international football. Maybe then
we won't be constantly hearing
"Who should partner Alan Shearer?"
If Keegan really wants to experiment
to find the perfect striking partner-
ship, he should drop Alan Shearer
and play Fowler & Owen, or Cole &
Nigel Martyn should be first choice keeper and Alan Shearer should be left on the bench. When are the England managers going to stop listening to the old boys at Lancaster Gate?
The squad is good combining both youth and experience but I still think England don't have the kind of depth of France or Holland. I would say the furthest England will go is the next round.
I think the England squad has the most powerful attack in the world. Shearer, Owen and Beckham are much better and more clever than Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Romario. I hope we don't have to play against each other in the next World Cup.
I feel compelled to say that I am disgusted with the way Alan Shearer has been treated by 'fans' and the media during his entire career. He is the best striker in the country and one of the deadliest finishers England has ever produced and yet he is unpopular, criticised and hounded at every turn. If this is how people treat one of England's finest footballers, what sort of message does that send to the England stars of the future?
Keegan is a good manager; he picked the right squad but is too positive. The way he talks it sounds like we have a chance of winning the contest. Let's face it, we can be rubbish and that costs us. Kevin's right for leaving Cole out of the squad. He only works well when linking up with Yorke and sitting in the six-yard box. Owen has speed, Shearer has power, Heskey has guts to take on defenders, Fowler has charisma and Cole is a goal punter.
I think Fowler is still not match fit and Ferdinard has had a rubbish season for West Ham and should not be in the England Squad anyway.
Heskey and Shearer are overrated and Richard Wright proved his ability today by conceding two penalties to Malta! Southgate can bury the ghost of '96 if England actually get past the group stage but I believe Germany will be too strong once again.
What does Nigel Martyn have to do to claim the England Number One shirt? He's been the best 'keeper in the Premiership for two years and has performed well in every England game he's been allowed to play. At the same time, David Seaman knows that he's unlikely to be Arsenal's first choice next season yet Keegan continues to pencil him in for England as a matter of course. I fear a costly mistake is just around the corner.
Richard Wright is a big mistake for the third keeper jersey. As shown against Malta, he can't hack it and has little or no experience. David James would have been a far better choice. Other than that I think the squad looks good. In the starting line-up I would want to see Southgate in there instead of Adams or Keown and Gareth Barry is a better choice at left wing-back.
I believe the older defenders in the England squad are overrated. When Adams and Keown meet quality opposition their age begins to tell. How come Keegan persists in playing Keown when he really is not international standard? England needs a classy, continental standard defence like France or Holland. This can only be acheived by bringing in younger players such as Woodgate and Barry and sticking to a recognised back four for as long as possible.
Keegan is best placed to make these decisions - he is the manager and works with the players on a regular basis.
However, the sooner Shearer retires the better for England; he holds the team back - look at his attitude towards Owen during the last World Cup. Cole's ommission has much more to do with the relationship (or lack of it) between him and Shearer than anything else.
Shearer is the one I would have left at home. The younger talent needs to be given centre stage. Owen, Heskey and Fowler have synergy. Philips is on a complete high but Shearer's inclusion prevents what I would consider to be stonger, younger and more creative strike-force.
We all know that it was going to be difficult for Keegan to decide the 22 players for Euro 2000. He is a quality coach and I'm sure he took a lot of things into consideration when picking the final 22. He deserves praise; I think he has picked a great squad and after all, some were always going to have to be left out and Cole has not had the best of seasons. As long as the whole team put in 100% effort, I know England can do well this year.
Why does Shearer seem to have a guaranteed place in the England team? He hasn't played well for England in any of his recent games. He always seems anonymous when he plays. Having said that, I do agree with the rest of Keegan's England squad, and England should do well this summer.
When will we learn that good attacks start from the back and leaving Rio Ferdinand, our one good ball-playing player, is criminal.
I think Kevin Keegan picked a pretty good squad. It was a fair decision to leave Cole out as Phillips is a better goalscorer and Heskey has more pace.
Kevin has got it all wrong because he has chosen to keep one of the best strikers at home. Cole has scored more goals the session then all three Liverpool strikers. I think he should have droped Fowler instead.
How can you leave out Dyer? This young man played a crucial role in getting us there in the first place and yet we drop him when we want to win a major tournament. Andy Cole is not the best striker in Europe but he has certainly proved his worth at the highest level. Finally, Seaman and Shearer shouldn't be starting. They are not the best in their positions at the
moment and they I am sure, as real England fans, they themselves will acknowledge this.
Andy Cole was not dropped but injured. If he had been fit he would have gone to Euro 2000. These are the words Mr Keegan uttered the other day. As for Gareth Barry, we need left-sided players and Keegan had no choice but to bring him. I would loved to have seen two inclusions to the squad: Steve Guppy who has been sensational this season and Teddy Sheringham who has proved his value in one off games for England and Manchester United.
Again we see the consistently best striker in the league left out. I would have taken a half fit Cole than a fully fit Phillips. Cole has scored at the highest level and I don't think there's another striker who has scored more European goals. Remember, these are the same players we'll be facing in Euro 2000.
Keegan was right to drop Andy Cole. If he's injured the worst thing that could've happened was for Andy to make it worse and then we'd been a man down. I'm glad we have different ages playing from a mature Tony Adams to a young Gareth Barry.
I think Keegan got it right. Although I am a Man Utd supporter I agree with Keegan leaving out Cole as he needs 20 chances to score a goal.
Why is Barmby in the squad instead of Dyer? It's criminal. What was Keegan thinking?
First of all, I would like to congratulate Kevin Keegan for choosing, in my opinion, his strongest possible squad. I would also like to thank him for taking not only the best natural goalscorer in the premiership but probably the world. The only problem that I have with the team is the selection of David Beckham as our direct free-kick taker by both Keegan and our previous manager Hoddle. Fair enough he probably is the best crosser of a ball in the world but one goal in 30 England apperances isn`t exactly the greatest ratio considering he takes every direct free-kick and always shoots. I think some other options should be tried like Wise, Barmby and the fiercest shot of them all - Shearer.
I think the England squad this year is pathetic. I think Keegan shouldn't have picked so many Man Utd players. Couldn't he have chosen someone from Barnsley or Celtic instead?
I think that England's loss is Manchester United's gain. It is disappointing but sadly someone has to miss out. Hopefully, Keegan will keep his word and give Cole a proper try following Shearer's retirement.
I think Keegan has made the right choices, with a mixture of experienced players and up-coming youths who will cause problems for our oppositions. Leaving Dyer out I think is the only wrong move, he has proved in the past that he is good enough to play. On the Andy Cole situation, so what if he was left out, we have players of high quality. I believe that have Phillips and Shearer up front will be a deadly combination. Good Luck England, win it for us!
Given the inability of many fans to be objective in their views and the polarisation in this country over Manchester United, the omission of Andy Cole was always going to be a contentious decision and Keegan was going to be damned by his decision regardless of which way he went.
Alan Williams, England
Keegan has named the squad we all expected him to name, and we all have our own opinions on who we would have taken but, barring injuries, this is our England team and we should now stop second guessing the manager and getting behind our nation.
I want to be controversial and suggest that Alan Shearer should have made way for Andy Cole. Cole has had a great season and is hungry to prove to England that he can do the job. Shearer, on the other hand, is retiring and is way past his sell-by date. It is time for big decisions and Keegan failed with this one. But the squad is strong and will do better than most expect.
It still shocks me that no matter how many times Alan Shearer proves himself, punters still fail to give him any credit. Give him the service and he will provide the goals. Surely the concern over England's strikers should be that a true partnership up front has not yet sparked off. My hope is that Shearer and Phillips will revive the classic bulldog approach to the attacking game in Malta.
I would have liked Dyer to have been included. He burst onto the scene like a breath of fresh air but that was then! Good luck to those left in but can England win? My heart says yes but my head knows we have no chance!
If we are going to have Shearer in the England team then why don't we go the whole way and include Sheringham? Everyone appears to be obsessed with age. If he is good enough to play in the Premiership's best side then surely he should be in the England squad. What we need is a team capable of winning now, not just one that will be successful in a couple of years time.
There are really only four automatic places in the first 11; namely Campbell, Beckham, Scholes and Owen. With the French, Dutch
and Spanish teams one can easily write at least seven players who are going to start a match and as a consequence these teams have a large amount of experience playing together at international level. The problem with the selection of Wise and Ince is that they are
very prone to picking yellow and red cards and will eventually prove to be a liability. No matter what team is selected by Keegan I cannot see England making an impact as they are just not good enough.
Kevin Keegan is a winner....at every level whether as a player or a manager.He has flair style and for me will unquestionably do well in the European Championships this summer.
I think Nick Barmby and Gareth Barry thoroughly deserve their places in the squad after Wednesday's performance against the Ukraine, Barmby not only adapted to the pace of the game, but he controlled it with two or three wonderful passes (especially the chance made for Heskey). Barry linked well on the left side with a few of the more regular players which will have increased his confidence.
Anthony Jackson, England
I think that Kevin Keegan has done well in picking a squad easily capable of winning the tournament. His desision to take Robbie Fowler and not Andy Cole was the correct one without doubt, as even a half fit Fowler can be lethal, as he showed on Wednesday.
The fact that he has scored three goals in his thirteen games (only two of which he has started), when his main rivals for a squad position, Heskey, Phillips and Cole, haven't managed one between them in as many games, speaks for itself. In other areas, Nick Barmby has deserved his recall, and (with the exception of Steve McManaman) seems to be the form player going in to the tournament. So I say get behind the boys, and we can go all the way!
Manny Otiko, USA
I think Keegan's choice was top notch. He chose a well balanced squad full of experience and youth.
Unbelievable how everyone talks about the lack of creative players who can take the ball to the opposite defenders, and then when the time comes to select the squad, Dyer is left out. Simply unbelievable. Even as a full-back, Dyer would be better than Gary Neville in his current form. Cole's exclusion isn't a big deal; he was after all going to be fifth in the pecking order even if he went, and I highly doubt he'd have ever played. Give Phillips a chance. He's proved everyone wrong by bagging 30 goals in the Premiership. And please play Martyn instead of Seamen, and stick to 4-4-2. Jack, US
Ng Chon Hsing, Singapore
I believe that Kev has got the squad right. Fowler and Barmby are coming into form, and Fowler and Owen are fresh due to playing not so many games in the last season. Barry and Gerard are young, skillful and hungry for success. It is sad to see youngsters like Rio and Dyer ommitted, but someone has to go. People talk about Rio's distribution skills, but the bottom line is that he is not that good a defender and Kev has opted for experience with the two Nevilles - whom I do not rate. Cole being ommitted was correct, and so was calamity James. The English team looks very solid and positive right now. Apart from question marks on Sol, Adams (fitness), and the Nevilles, England could win Euro 2000, however, it all comes down to the day and a better team may still lose...Good Luck - I'll be watching from Sydney.
Wasim Younis, UK
Why is everyone having a pop at Fowler? He is quality. More to the point, what's all this Heskey stuff about? It's no good having pace and power when you trip over the ball. I feel sorry for Dyer. For the Man Utd supporters that always leap to Cole's defence, Heskey aside, of the remaining strikers going who would have scored less if presented with the chances Cole gets?
People keep going on about Kevin Phillips only scoring in the Premiership but he's scored 30 goals in a team less superior than Man Utd so he's had to work harder for his chances than Andy Cole.
Don't you think England looked better when Barry and Dyer took up the wing-back roles? I think Keown should be kicked out for Rio and Heskey should be dumped for Dyer I just want everyone to shut up about Cole, he takes one chance in six. At this level that is not good enough. That is why the man Phillips has replaced him. England will get into the semi's but no further.
It doesn't really matter who made the final 22 as long as every one plays with the passion demonstrated by other players who, when representing their countries, consider it to be an honour. We are not consistent enough to win such prestigious competitions and will not be so until we reduce the Premiership to 16-18 teams and play more internationals either as friendlies or small organised three or four-nation tournaments.
I think that leaving Cole out was a mistake for Keagan to make. Though he made this mistake, I still think that England will pull through.
It never ceases to amaze me that we always have this argument when England enter an international tournament. There is certainly a case to be argued for every one of the players that has had to be sadly dropped. Let us just be thankful that we have the quality and strength in depth to be able to leave out such great players. Arguments over, let's get behind Kevin and the boys and hope for a great tournament.
I agree with the squad that Keegan has picked, but it would have been interesting to see who would have been left out of the squad if Redknapp and Parlour were both fit. I think that the Cole decision was fair because he has not proved himself at international level when he has been given the chance.
Cole is the only arguable decision, but I guess we have to believe Keegan about the injury, until Cole speaks. The balance of the squad is OK but for me it is the formation adopted that will determine how far England can go. Hoddle used 3-5-2 to good effect with the same set of defenders during the run up to and the World Cup so any confusion at the moment I'm sure will be ironed out. Whatever the case, Keegan realises that he will have to be flexible, if he wants to do well and I think that's the key.
I think Keegan has got the squad just right. He has a plethora of centre-backs and strikers, with good competition in midfield. Gareth Barry looks an excellent player and Keegan could find it hard to get a better left-footer. The main problem is in midfield with Beckham and Scholes certain to play, but what about the other two or three places?
Thank God Keegan has had the sense to leave out 'calamity' James and Andy Cole, both of whom are liabilities. I'm mystified to see Ince anywhere near the England squad and the lack of Guppy. Bravo on the selection of Barry, a great prospect for the future who like Gerrard needs the experience. All in all a good team but can we stand up to the likes of the Dutch and French?
I can't believe that Kieron Dyer has been dropped from the squad. The only real pace they have in the team are Owen and Heskey, who are both strikers. England really need a player who can take people on and inspire the team. His debut match for England promised much but it seems that Keegan is opting for a squad with great passing credentials.
It has always been the same with England, talented players like Andy Cole are eliminated from major tournaments because priorities are given to hyped players like Shearer. If it was up to me, I would rather use young talents like Owen, Fowler, Cole and Phillips than the overrated Shearer.
As long as Shearer is first choice for Keegan we have a problem. Owen is world class, and Phillips is hungry so why is he not given a chance to replace Shearer. We need a new manager, someone who is not scared.
I think Heskey should have been dropped, not Cole. Cole has proved himself at the highest level but has been left out of the squad three times! Also, Kieron Dyer has shown he can perform for England and when Keegan selected Gerrard he had never played for England. I think Keegan should have given all the players their chances against Malta and the Ukraine and then decided.
This is an England squad of individuals and not a team. To leave Cole out was a mistake.
I believe Scholes will come up with the goods once again.
Despite Robbie Fowler being a quality player he is not match fit and Andy Cole should have gone.Kevin Phillips has been treated very badly how can he prove himself when he's occasionally given six minutes. Heskey has proved in his six games that he can run around, fall over and miss chances all of which he does very well at club level. Finally, if we play 3-5-2 decent sides will tear us apart. The top three English sides play 4-4-2 as do France, Holland, Spain and Brazil. Enough said.
I'm not too sure about the team that Keegan has picked. For starters, Wise should not even be there and leaving Cole out was a big mistake. Fowler is a good striker, but for me Cole is better and he's proved it time and time again in Europe and in England. I can't see what more he has to do to get his chance!
Is Cole really injured or is there some other reason? Phillips is good but Cole is more experienced and definitely better. Keegan has not convinced me with the 'unfit' story. Besides,at the moment Cole is better than Fowler having played more games and scored more both at home and in Europe.
Cole is a far better choice than Heskey. Cole might seem uninspiring on the field but his track record of goal scoring both in the Premiership and internationally makes him an obvious choice. Also with key players such as Beckham and Scholes who are used to supplying him with match winning passes then obviously he poses a threat to any European team. Though I think Kevin Keegen is a good coach, he's made the wrong decision about Cole.
In goal Martyn should be first choice now as he shows much more consistency in his performances. The defense is strong yet do I hear cries for Chris Perry? The Spurs defender has had a better season than Campbell yet he has not even been considered. Not taking Dyer is a mistake and I also feel Guppy should be there creating an extra dimension on the left side. The strike-force is strong but Heskey has no right to be there, Sheringham would have been a better choice. Furthermore, the pivoting factor on whether success in this tournament is achieved will be the level of performance produced by Owen. Come on England you can do it!
How does one ever know until a match is played? I personally think Keegan has his best players, but whether they are good enough is another matter. On any chosen day England can beat any team, so let's hope that every time they play it's the chosen day. Best of luck England.
I think Kevin Keegan has picked a fairly good squad. We knew that he was going to stick with the mediocre Nevilles and Shearer even if he hinders England's attacking shape. However, it was good to see Barmby and Barry get in. I have to disagree with the large number of correspondents who believe that Rio Ferdinand should have been included; his distribution is indeed better than most English centre-backs, but have you seen his defending? It's a shame that Kieron Dyer has been left out and it appears that Cole's chance will never come. Heskey does add another attacking option to England, bringing pace and power in equal measure up front. All in all not a bad squad, a bit better than could have been expected.
Keegan's choice of squad is definitely questionable. Dyer, Ferdinand and Cole should all be in the squad without a shadow of doubt. Keegan ought to be moulding the England team to look like this: Martyn, Dyer, Ferdinand, Campbell, Neville, Beckham, Scholes, Gerrard, McManaman, Owen, Cole in a 4-4-2 formation. With players like Barry, Wise, Barmby, Phillips and Heskey on the bench. Let's hope that England get a new manager soon so that these boys can be given their respective chances.
Kevin Keegan has had to do what he thinks is best and we should realise by now that the England manager always knows what's best for the team because he has the priviledge of working with the best English players available. Only time will tell if we are good enough but who are we to say that Keegan's got it right or wrong. It's all about opinions which makes the game so interesting for all. However, I think it's not just down to who's in and who's out it's about how we intend to play the game.
I would say from the back forward the squad is quite balanced apart from the strike force. I would have left Heskey and Fowler, in favour of Sheringham and Cole. Sheringham has proved time and time again that he is a class act at the highest level, remember the 4 - 1 trashing of Holland? As for Cole the stats speak for themselves, people say that he misses too many chances, but at least he's there to take the chances. Anyway good luck to the boys, hope they do well, although I must admit they will be up against some of the best.
Fowler has the best goals per game ratio than any other striker over the last six years, therefore Kevin Keegan was right to pick him. My team would be: Martyn, Gerrard (RB), Adams, Campbell, Southgate (LB), Beckham, McManaman, Wise, Scholes, Fowler, Shearer
I think Keegan has got it right. I am not surprised at the exclusion of Cole - he can hardly be considered a team player when all he does is moan about not having his chance. At the end of the day, Keegan picks the squad and we should get behind the team, not just one player who sulks to the papers when he doesn't get his own way.
Nice team choice Kev! Come on England, all the way!
My biggest concern is the inclusion of Phil Neville who is not a left-back. Keegan should have left him at home, played three at the back and included Dyer because defences would struggle to handle his pace. Given the way England qualified, I find the optimism surrounding their prospects alarming. Nevertheless, come on!
Keegan had a very tough decision and no matter what he decided it would have led to discussion. I believe that his emotions, for which he is famous, could ruin England's chances this summer. Heskey shouldn't be going as he hasn't even proved himself in the Premiership, Fowler hasn't been fit all season and Phil Neville is hopeless and can't even get into the United side! Philips has never been given a fair crack at the whip and the same could be said for Cole who is or isn't injured. Dyer is a perfect squad player thanks to his versatility and so I can't see why he's been left at home. Seaman is no longer the best 'keeper in England and so Martyn should be given what he deserves and finally, Shearer doesn't justify his automatic presence in the line-up and I think other more exciting strike partnerships should be given a chance. Unfortunately, I believe that Keegan will hang on to his stalwarts to give them the perfect finish to their England careers that he feels he was robbed of by Bobby Robson which could hurt the team.
While England are good all round, I think Andy Cole, Kieron Dyer and Rio Ferdinand deserved to be in the squad. Despite being wasteful on some occasions, who among Keegan's preferred strikers has a better strike rate than Cole? As a fan, I wish the team all the best.
Mr Aryee, you say you're not a Man Utd fan but Sheringham? He has played less games than Fowler and he's been fit all season! As for Cole, there is obviously something going on behind the scenes within the camp and I wouldn't be surprised if ol' Alan had something to say on the matter. But regardless of fitness, Fowler is a striker in a different class and the majority of Premiership managers seem to recognise this judging by all the reports of 'Fowler going'.
I have no problems with the squad that Keegan has selected. What is now important, is whether he will select players due to sentiment or form. Martyn deserves to get the Number One position after an outstanding season for Leeds, underlined by the performance against Ukraine. I also would like to see Shearer at least substituted during matches if he is being ineffective, and possibly giving a chance for an Owen/Phillips partnership to appear from the start of matches.
There's definitely something funny about Andy Cole being left out of the squad. He insists that he's fit, but Keegan chooses to drop him. I don't think it was all Keegan's doing because Keegan and Cole flourished together at Newcastle and I used to think that Keegan becoming England manager was Andy's best chance at getting a regular England place.
Fowler hasn't been playing, Shearer hasn't been performing and Heskey doesn't score goals...a strange combination then, don't you think?
I, however, see England's biggest problems in midfield. Keegan seems to want to play with wide players to suit his golden boy Shearer, but he only has one...David Beckham. Without a wide left player, I think England should change their shape and their main striker (Shearer) and then, perhaps we will see this very talented squad reach its true potential.
Andy Cole's 'foot injury' notwithstanding, his recent comments
about Alan Shearer are not going to help his cause when it comes to
consideration for the England squad, regardless of how true they may be.
Goals-to-shots ratios (and all other statistics) are meaningless, particularly
when talking about the Premiership. If a player plays once, scores
once with his only shot all season, he gets a 100% goals-to-shots ratio. Should
he then be picked for England? I agree that Fowler hasn't played much this season, but that will make him fresher and few can argue there is not a better natural finisher in the country,
a fact which he proved against Ukraine by being in exactly the right place at
the right time. Dyer and Ferdinand are good players, but they are young and are
competing for places with good, experienced players. Their time will come.
If England are to stand any chance at all, they will have to do it without Shearer. The man has always been overrated and, as a matter of fact, is not that good, as far as those of us outside England know.
With an excellent season behind him, Andy Cole should have gone ahead of Robbie Fowler for the simple reason that he has scored and played far more times.
Although overall it looks like a strong English squad I would be concerned about the lack of individual creativity. The last couple of games have shown that we still lack creative individuals of the calibre to wreak havoc on the world stage. Yes, we have Beckham who can cross inch-perfectly, Gerard who is also a fine passer of the ball, but where is the flair? I'd like to have seen Dyer and maybe Rio Ferdinand involved, definitely the former as he has consistantly shown that he can beat defenders. There are several good players coming through but brilliant players are what England are desparately short of. Could we clone Gazza?
I think Heskey should have been left out. We've other, better strikers who didn't make the squad such as Cole and even Sheringham. Kieron Dyer should definitely be in, perhaps instead of Heskey. He is versatile, and would be a good squad player. Four strikers should be enough, with Scholes, McManaman and Barmby as other attacking options if necessary. Apart from Heskey instead of Dyer, Keegan's squad could really do well; a good combination of youth and experience, and grit and flair.
It surely must leave some questions lingering in any fan's mind. First of all is Cole really unfit as Keegan claims? I understand the England manager holds the trump card in the final analysis. And can Robbie Fowler's inclusion be justified? A player who spent most of the entire season on the sidelines finally makes into the final squad. I really think this is grossly unfair, not just on a player like Cole who had fantastic season, but also on other strikers who happen to be a lot fitter - this is where names like Teddy Sheringham comes to mind. I am not a Man Utd fan but I think Keegan hasn't got it quite right, especially with Fowler. Keegan has proved he has his own subjective preferences.
I think that leaving Rio Ferdinand out may be a mistake. Out of all of the defenders he is the most comfortable at bringing the ball out of defense. I would have left out Southgate instead. Heskey has scored about 30 goals in three or four seasons, so why is he in the squad then? He was a surprise package against Argentina but, as Glenn Hoddle has pointed out, every coach in Europe will have watched that tape by now and will be ready for him.
It is unfortunate that Cole is injured. He is always criticised but he has the best shots to goals ratio in the Premiership. Scholes and McManaman are the keys in midfield. Scholes needs to stop playing so deep and start to play just behind the two strikers while Macca needs to get the ball more and run at defenses. I hope that golden boy Shearer justifies all the faith that Keegan has in him.
There is no better squad with the view of system, ability and fitness. I would say, even if we lose, at least we have tried our best for the tournament. Well done Kev!
Largely, the squad is as good as it can be at the moment (not a good sign for our chances). However, how can Phil Neville consistently get picked for England when everyone, including Alex Ferguson, knows he is an awful left-back who can't tackle or use his left foot? Rio should have gone instead with England playing a 3-5-2, Beckham in the middle and possibly Gerrard on the right.
I think Keegan has picked a good team but the problem will be with the left-hand side where, as we all saw in the England vs Ukraine game, the crosses were not up to scratch. It was good to see Barmby picked; he was only on for 15 minutes but showed real class and awareness - something that we sometimes lack, especially against teams like Ukraine. I also think Sheringham would have been a better bet then Fowler; even as sub he can produce real problems. But overall, not bad.
While I agreed with the inclusion of new players such as Barmby and Barry I am still in shock as to the inclusion of Heskey. He wasted a sitter for a top-draw striker and why Keegan prefers him to Phillips I do not know. Overall a good squad but take Dyer instead of Heskey; he can play anywhere if needed and his speed is a major asset .
Shearer should not start every game. Sometimes experience isn't everything as Owen has proved. I think an Owen/Phillips or Owen/Fowler partnership will have defenders wishing they'd stayed in bed that day. This is Shearer's last major tournament, so don't be surprised if Keegan gets sentimental and starts him every game. The young players need to flourish at this level, so Keegan should give Phillips and Fowler their big break. Owen got it and look what he did!
It is a big mistake to leave Andy Cole out of the squad. Cole has proved in the Champions' League that he can score goals at the highest level. I would have left out Heskey. He does not have the experience at that level and he cannot score goals. All of Philips' 30 goals came in the Premier League which is not the same as playing in Europe. Fowler did not play for a large part of the season and Owen was out for a long time as well. Shearer has only managed a few goals for England lately; it appears Scholes would be a better striker than him. Cole would have been my first choice because he had the highest goals-to-shots ratio in the Premiership last season.
I cannot believe that Keegan has left out Kieron Dyer but overall it is a good squad without calamity James and the overrated Rio Ferdinand.
I really do hope England can hold their own at Euro 2000. The squad is looking very strong with the likes of Beckham, Scholes and Wise in Midfield and Owen, Fowler and Shearer up front. The players he left out must have been gutted, but I'm sure that this will not be the last chance for those players. Dyer and Ferdinand are still young and have a bright future ahead of them. The squad he is taking is the strongest and I was them all the luck in the world. COME ON ENGLAND!!!!!!
I'm not sure about Gareth Barry or Nick Barmby, but I would not have left Rio Ferdinand and Kieron Dyer at home. They are two of the most promising talents in the English game. They have lots of skill, confidence and are exciting - just what England needs.
Leaving Cole behind is the right decision, leaving Ferdinand behind is not. He has too much ability to be left watching Euro 2000 on TV with the rest of us. I am a David Seaman fan, but Martyn is now more consistent and should get the chance ahead of Seaman. I think we have every chance of getting to the Final, Go on Boys!
I feel that Keegan has included one too many central midfielders in his squad. There is only one natural winger (Beckham), assuming that Mcmanaman will get a free role. The choice of Wise, Ince, Scholes are all justified, but then I think that either Barmby or Gerrard should have been picked. Shearer has shown at club level that he plays better and scores more goals with wide players supplying him. It just seems a very strange choice by Keegan not to include another winger, such as Guppy. All the same I hope that Kevin can use the resources that he has choosen to their best effect and we can mount a serious challenge for the trophy!
I think playing Beckham as a wing back is a good idea. It gives us the opportunity to counter attack accurately rather than just booting the ball up the field like we normally do. Just give it to Beckham and he'll pick out an England shirt every time.
Rio Ferdinand's ommission from the squad is sad, but not unexpected. He was part of the squad that went to France 98 and by now, with proper forward planning, should have been at the heart of a back three. England have been crying out for a defender who can actually pass, and run with the ball for years. Now we have finally got such a player, the management lacks the imagination or the guts to play him. His ability to step up into midfield when England have possession, would have given the side an extra dimension that Keegan's chosen defensive personnel simply do not provide.
I don't believe that Andy Cole was left out through injury. How many goals has Heskey scored this season? How many matches has Fowler played? Alan Shearer is the captain but we are still in the situation of having him automatically selected. He is a great player but is he really better than Owen or Fowler? Cole has played against the top Euro club sides and comes up trumps time and time again. Leaving him out is a disgrace.
Keegan has picked a good team, but I feel he is letting Andy Cole down. I fear Andy Cole is going the same route that Ian Wright did. Ian Wright was never given a chance even when he scored the highest number of goals in the country's top division. He was only picked when he was at the end of his playing career. Andy Cole plays for one of the best teams in the country and proves his worth by scoring goals. Do you remember how many games Shearer played without delivering? He wasn't dropped and his confidence grew. Fowler has had a shaky season but still gets in ahead of Cole. England are due a win, but they will never achieve this unless players are picked on merit.
Andy Cole has scored 20 goals plus for the last three seasons and he still has not been given his chance to prove himself to the nation. Everyone knows that he is a quality striker and he is hardly ever injured, unlike Owen and Fowler. He was not even given his chance to form a partnership with anyone in the two friendlies that England played. So what if he needs a couple of chances before scoring, so does every striker. Cole is an experienced player with European experience whereas Kevin Phillips has just come up from the First Division. Cole should have been given his chance!!!
Overall, I thought there were few surprises in the squad, bar the exclusion of Kieron Dyer. He was the only player who I felt derserved to go, due to his versatility and undoubted talent. It was a surprise to see him excluded, considering his recent performances. The inclusion of Fowler and Phillips over Cole is, in my opinion, justified too. Fowler showed his sharpness on Wednesday and Phillips is clearly on form so they seem ideal back-up for Shearer and Owen.
I think the squad he has picked is not worthy of winning the tournament as there's no left-sided player in there that's of the class to supply the goals for Shearer and co. Andy Cole should have been there but they say he's not fully fit. Just look at Fowler - Cole has played and scored more this season and surely he should have gone. Poor Kieron Dyer. He's a superb young player who is adaptable down both flanks and again is top class. Martyn should be in goal, Campbell and Adams at the back with G Neville and P Neville, (not by Choice) Beckham, Scholes, Ince and Barmby(who showed just what playing for your place is all about on Wednesday night) then up front Shearer and COLE! and I'm not a Utd fan. GOOD LUCK ENGLAND - please prove me and everyone else wrong.
Samuel Mansell, England
I think Kevin Keegan has got it just about right. Maybe Cole is
injured, maybe he isn't, but it speaks volumes when he didn't have
the bottle to join the other disappointed players at Wembley on Wednesday night. As for the others Dyer will only improve and must have a big future. Ferdinand is paying the price for a dip in form perhaps brought on by his restlessness at West Ham. James always knew he was fourth in line and showed that his old frailties have not
dissapeared with his faux pas in the cup final. Having said all this the likes of Sol Campbell and Robbie Fowler must be thanking the Gods for looking over them. Good luck Kev but please try and avoid penalties !
I'm pleased with the overall group, I think Shearer shouldn't start every game, but a Phillips/Owen forward line could prove deadly to weak defending teams. As for Cole not getting picked, it's not that big a deal as we have so many good strikers to choose from already. Provided none of them get injured on the concrete pitches in Malta.
Andrew, Belgiumium (English)
Andy Cole misses a very high proportion of chances which come his way. If he didn't play for Manchester United, everyone would be asking why such a player is ever included in the England squad in the first place, I'm not whinging about why he has been omitted.
Kieron Dyer should have gone. Nicky Barmby has had his chance at international level and he has hardly set Merseyside alight now has he? Phillips is a better prospect than Cole too. On that score Keegan has got it right.
Peter Moore, UK
Right personnel - wrong formation! First 11 should be Martin, G Neville, Campbell, Adams, Wise, Beckam, Scholes, Ince, McManaman, Shearer, Owen - 4-4-2 formation, with Wise at the back. Wise has excellent distribution skills, which will be very important in Euro 2000. He can also push up into midfield to create 3-5-2 formation if required, this role can also be taken by Barry.
Marcus Smith, N Ireland
How Robbie Fowler ever made this squad I will never now having played very few games recently. Great to see Gerrard and Barry out there and I think both of them should start with Barry at left-back so we can play 4-4-2 and not waste Beckham at wing-back. Finally how you can leave a player like Kieron Dyer out who is not only one of the most exciting young players around, but who can play anywhere and would be ideal cover at right-back, wing-back or anywhere in midfield. Also I think Martyn has shown that he is without doubt the best goalkeeping option we now have and he should start.
I think Keegan's decision to leave out Cole was the correct one. A striker at international level needs to have the ability to put away the crucial few chances he might get, and despite th
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