Thursday, May 27, 2010

England vs Japan Friendly 2010: Last Chance for the Three Lions Players to Impress

England manager Fabio Capello is expected to deploy the fringe players in the upcoming friendly match against Japan in Austria on 30 May. England’s performance in Monday’s 3-1 win over Mexico could not impress the fans who were expecting a dominant show from the Three Lions.

Chelsea’s FA Cup winning players, who were not considered for the Mexico friendly, would be available for the Japan match, and it is expected that the four Chelsea players: Terry, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole, and Frank Lampard as well as Portsmouth goalkeeper James would play at least some part of the Japan match.

Players like Rio Ferdinand, Terry, Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney and three goalkeepers are pretty much certain for their places in the final 23-man England squad.

However, several players are now uncertain about their chances to make the final cut. Those who were not featured in the Mexico game are expected to get a final chance against Japan to strengthen their claim for a place in the final world cup squad. Capello may like to give those fringe players a last chance before reducing the provisional squad to 23 on 1 June.


David James is almost certain to start against Japan with Green and Hart getting their fair share of chances against Mexico.


In the central defense, Ferdinand and Terry are among the certainties for the final cut, while Carragher and King seem to have impressed Capello with their performances on Monday to get the final nod from the coach. Now, uncapped Dawson and Upson would vie for the fifth centre back position in the squad, and both of them are expected to feature at some point against Japan.

Left back Leighton Baines was not impressive against Mexico. So, a good performance from Stephen Warnock against Japan could win him a place in the final squad. However, Ashley Cole is expectedly the first choice for the left back position. In the right back position, Glen Johnson is the only candidate with Carragher being a possible back up.


In the England midfield, Frank Lampard would almost certain to be in the starting line up against Japan, while Gerrard could be rested. Barry has not yet fully recovered from the injury.

In the right wing, Lennon may start instead of Walcott. Following his impressive show against Mexico, right winger Adam Johnson could be given another chance against Japan. However, Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips, who are the competitors for the right back position, are also expected to play at some part of the Japan game. Both of them did not play against Mexico.

In-form James Milner is almost certain to get the final nod from Capello for his versatility and he is seen as the possible replacement for Barry in the centre of the midfield, if the City man fails to get over the injury.

Michael Carrick, Scott Parker and Tom Huddlestone are all vying for the central midfield role in the final squad. Parker is expected to feature against Japan as the West Ham midfielder was not given a chance against Mexico.


Darren Bent is still doubtful for the Japan match as he is yet to recover fully from his injury. He missed the Mexico match too, and thus, gradually losing his claim for a place in the South Africa-bound squad. Should he get fit, he would play at least some part of the game, while Emile Heskey is expected to get a final chance against Japan.

Rooney is less likely to be rested; rather Capello would like to see how his most prized asset fares in the 4-4-2 formation.