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Life President
May 29, 2005
With just 90 minutes of football seperating the thirty prospective England internationals from South Africa, which seven unfortunate players will find themselves on stand-by?

Michael Carrick: Unfortunately for the Manchester United midfielder, England have a relative embarrassment of riches in the centre of the park and Carrick offers too little to warrant a place in the final 23. His performance against Mexico was not of the calibre you would have to expect, and his inability to defend strongly will be held against him.

Darren Bent: Suffering a hamstring injury just days before the final friendly on English soil must have been gut wrenching for the striker who notched an impressive 24 league goals last term. The system that Capello tends to adopt could also go against Bent, who tends to play on the shoulder of the defender. Defoe has the edge on Bent purely for his superior experience in an England shirt.

Shaun Wright-Phillips: Not for the first time, England have three or four contenders for that right wing slot and there are two genuinely better players in Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott. Wright-Phillips has shown himself to be a useful impact player, but outside of the first eleven players are needed to play multiple positions and Shaun just can’t offer that. And no, Ian, it’s not because Fabio doesn’t like you.

Scott Parker: A lot hinges for Scott on whether or not he features against Japan. The midfielder has been in scintillating form for West Ham in the closing stretches of the season, but has rarely featured for the national team. The fact that Capello opted for Huddlestone instead of Parker on Monday night says it all.

Stephen Warnock/Leighton Baines: With Joleon Lescott omitted from the 30, England’s only proven left back is Ashley Cole so either Warnock or Baines are likely to be taken as back up. Before Monday night, Baines had the impetus and would probably just edge Warnock out of contention, but a poor performance has thrown the Blackburn defender right back into contention. Warnock is likely to play at least 45 minutes against Japan and a solid performance would, almost certainly, buy his ticket to Jo’burg.

Michael Dawson: The Spurs centre back, who has been magnificent in helping Tottenham to the Champions League, will probably fall victim to Jamie Carragher’s experience and positional sense. As is the case for Wright-Phillips, Dawson simply doesn’t offer enough outside of being to play in the middle of defence to warrant a place in the final 23.

Matthew Upson: Whilst Upson was previously considered a dead cert for South Africa, his form for West Ham since the turn of the year has been nothing short of disastrous. Ledley King has rightfully edged ahead of him as the “next in line” for that defensive slot and it’s now likely Upson will be canvassing the delights of Canning Town this Summer and not Johannesburg.

Just a quick bit of shameless self publicity... I'm the Southend blogger for ClubWorld's coverage of the World Cup this year, which basically means I'll be producing articles for them throughout the tournament. All the articles can be found by clicking Here and finding the Southend United page.