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Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
BBC experts' judgement
Jamie Carragher (left) challenges Sweden's Niclas Alexandersson
Gray would have taken Carragher to the World Cup
The waiting is over, and Sven-Goran Eriksson has chosen his 23-man England squad for the World Cup in Japan. BBC Sport's panel of expert pundits give their views on his choice.


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I think this squad is far too negative, and I don't think Sven-Goran Eriksson should have picked so many defenders.

Picking eight men to play at the back gives the squad a bottom heavy look.

When you've got Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, Gareth Southgate and Wes Brown in the squad, there's no need for centre-back cover.

I'm also surprised that Brown has been selected ahead of Jamie Carragher.

For me, Carragher is better than both Danny Mills and Brown.

England are pinning their hopes on Michael Owen's goalscoring prowess, warns Andy Gray
Michael Owen is crucial for England
I also can't help thinking there's a major concern as to where the goals are going to come from.

If Michael Owen is not on form, then where's his back up?

England fans will no doubt be confident ahead of the tournament.

But at the back of their mind is the worry about who is going to get the goals if Owen is off form?

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Steve McManaman will be seething into his sangria after hearing that he's been excluded from Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad

I really think he should be on his way to Japan with England.

True, his previous performances for his country have often been less than impressive.

But McManaman can offer something that England do not have elsewhere.

Owen Hargreaves is quality, but he's the sort to break up the play of the opposition, and in that respect he is quite similar to Nicky Butt.

McManaman is playing for Europe's best club side, and he can certainly offer something that no one else in the current squad can.

Alan Hansen said England might miss McManaman's attacking skills
McManaman should have gone to Japan, says Alan Hansen
Elsewhere, there were few real surprises. In terms of the forwards, there is no one else I would expect to be there.

Kevin Phillips and Matt Jansen were both long shots to say the least.

Some might say Phil Neville was unfortunate, but I think he might have played his way out of contention in the first leg of Manchester United's Champions League tie with Bayer Leverkusen.

Jamie Carragher is, I think, a little unfortunate, but there is not anyone in the 23 who anyone could say did not deserve to be there.

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There are no real shocks in England's squad - it is much as we expected and the only slight surprise is that Sven-Goran Eriksson has gone for an extra defender.

As England play four at the back, it is a slight surprise that they have decided to take five central defenders.

Personally I would have gone for an extra attacking option and would have put in an extra striker, or at the very least another midfielder.

Joe Cole's selection was no surprise to me, and I think he could make a real impact as a substitute.

I feel very sorry for Phil Neville.

Trevor Brooking expresses sympathy for Phil Neville
Neville is facing World Cup heartbreak for a second time
He missed out last time and I think he has been penalised for not playing regular first-team football at Manchester United.

It's also sad to see Trevor Sinclair miss out, as he is a great lad.

He is good to have around, and Sinclair is a good squad man as he can play in several positions.

But he is not the only one to just miss the plane.

Frank Lampard, Jamie Carragher and Ray Parlour, who had a great end to the season, are all unlucky to miss out.


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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's World Cup pundit Andy Gray
"The squad is a little bottom heavy"
BBC's Trevor Brooking
"Scoring goals will be key"
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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

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