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Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Monday, 31 May 2010 17:32 UK

World Cup 2010 scouting: England's final squad

Bent, Cole, Carrick and Johnson
Bent and Johnson get into Shearer's England squad but not Cole or Carrick

Alan Shearer
By Alan Shearer
Former England captain and BBC Sport pundit

Fabio Capello said after the Japan match on Sunday that little had changed in his mind in terms of naming England's World Cup squad, which could spell danger for Joe Cole.

I said before the game that the Chelsea midfielder might be struggling to make the final 23 names, to be announced on Tuesday.

And although Cole had a decent second half, I just go back to what Capello said when he first took over - he said he wanted players who were fit, playing regularly and playing well. Cole hasn't been playing a lot for Chelsea, so he can't be playing well.

I don't think it matters that England were not convincing against Japan. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the result and the team performance were irrelevant.

606: DEBATE
Alistair M - BBC Sport

England did not replicate the performances of the qualifying campaign for the simple reason that the manager has chopped and changed the team. But he will now know his starting XI for the game against the United States and if these games have helped him make up his mind then they have been worthwhile exercises.

It will be a desperately disappointing day and summer for the seven lads that miss out because they will have their hopes dashed of playing in a World Cup finals, so I feel desperately sorry for whoever they might be.

The three goalkeepers are already decided so David James, Robert Green and Joe Hart know they will be on the plane to South Africa.

But as for the rest of the squad, nothing has changed my opinion after the win over Japan either. So if I was the England boss, I would pick the following 23 players for the World Cup, starting with the forwards:

STRIKERS

In: Rooney, Crouch, Heskey, Defoe, Bent.
Out: none

I'm going to start back-to-front as I would take the five strikers already in the squad. So Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey, Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent would all be on the plane to South Africa.

People might question why, but it all comes down to maximum goalscoring options for me. Rooney needs no discussion, Crouch gives you goals and has a fantastic record for England, Heskey can offer a focal point for the team to relieve pressure on the defence, while Defoe and Bent can stretch teams and both finish well.

Taking all five can also allow us to change the system, particularly late in a game where you might need to nick a crucial goal.

MIDFIELD

In: Gerrard, Barry (if fit), Lampard, Lennon, Walcott, Milner, Johnson
Out: Cole, Carrick, Huddlestone, Parker, Wright-Phillips

Of course, taking five forwards to the World Cup has a knock-on effect on the midfield.

I would pick seven in all: Gerrard, Gareth Barry (if he is fit), Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, James Milner and Adam Johnson.

Unless Barry does not recover I would leave Michael Carrick at home, simply because the lack of games at Manchester United this season has counted against him. His form has suffered but he does have the experience so if Barry does not make it Carrick would replace him.

Tom Huddlestone
Huddlestone's run into the England team has come too late for Shearer

In my book Tom Huddlestone and Scott Parker would also miss out because they have not established themselves.

If you think that might leave us short in central midfield then I would point to Milner who can play there and I am of those people who believe that Gerrard and Lampard can work together.

I would actually play Gerrard off Rooney in a 4-5-1 formation. Lampard and Barry would play behind him with Aaron Lennon on the right, and perhaps Milner on the left.

Based on the form of Lennon and Walcott, I don't see how Shaun Wright-Phillips can make the trip. Walcott looked good at Wembley, although his final ball let him down a bit, but both he and Lennon offer pace and it was also good to see Walcott show a willingness to get back and cover for Glen Johnson.

I would pick Adam Johnson ahead of Joe Cole just based on the form he has shown for Manchester City in the last two months of the season.

DEFENDERS

In: Cole, Ferdinand, Terry, Johnson, Baines, King, Upson, Carragher
Out: Dawson, Warnock

Lastly in defence, I would pick Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Ledley King, Matthew Upson, Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher.

That means Stephen Warnock and Michael Dawson would be watching at home on TV. Warnock and Dawson have both had good seasons for their clubs, particularly Dawson, but I think if the Spurs centre-back was going to go to the World Cup then Capello would have had a look at him at some stage in the two friendlies.

Alan Shearer was talking to Alistair Magowan



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see also
Walcott left out of England squad
01 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
FA confident over Capello future
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: strikers
27 Apr 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: left midfield
20 Apr 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: attacking midfield
15 Apr 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: right midfield
16 Mar 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: defensive midfield
06 Apr 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: centre-backs
23 Mar 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: left-backs
02 Mar 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: right-backs
12 Mar 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: goalkeepers
30 Mar 10 |  World Cup 2010


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