Fabio Capello is starting with at least three players under 30! I know, I was shocked as well. I mean, I didn't know he could count that low.
No, all jokes aside I'm a little bit impressed with Mr Capello's squad choices this time around. Hey, I only said a little. And not just with his squad choices but with the team we're hearing he will start with. It's a team that mixes expperience and youth and a team that points all the way to 2012.
KEVIN DAVIES of Bolton Wanderers has my sympathy on missing out on the squad, but on the basis that this friendly is all about planning for the future then his inclusion would've gone against that. I was a little shocked to see CARLTON COLE called up, I like him as a player but he is not even first choice for his club. Which goes against Capello's 'must be playing regularly' manifest.
As for JAY BOTHROYD, all I can say is congratulations. I remember his time at Arsenal and the cloud he left under clearly damaged his early career. But you have to respect the way he has learnt from his mistakes and rebuilt his career at Cardiff. The way he has matured is commendable. Having watched JORDAN HENDERSON a few times this season, his cap will not be a surprise to me. He is a talented young man and under the tutelage of Steve Bruce, I have the feeling he will go far.
JACK WILSHERE will be disappointed to be out of contention but as an Arsenal fan, I'm secretly glad he'll be resting and hopefully he'll be fit for the North London derby on Saturday morning. But, I think it can be agreed he has lots of time to become an England regular. I'm happy that KEIRAN GIBBS will be starting, after his injury problems it will be a good run out for him. It will also give him the opportunity to show why he is being called the natural successor to Ashley Cole.
French manager Laurent Blanc has played down his teams' abilities. Since the abysmal events at the World Cup the French have been in a transition period. Like Capello, the former World Cup Winner is rebuilding for the future as well as attempting to restore his nation's faith in the national team. Although he didn't make it to South Africa, SAMIR NASRI should start tomorrow. Hopefully he can take his club form to Wembley and inspire his team mates. They will still be without PATRICE EVRA who is still serving his ban, for going on strike during the WC. It will be down to the new boys to show they are good enough to keep their places when the qualifiers re-commence in March.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINE-UPS
ENGLAND: Foster; Richards, Ferdinand, Lescott, Gibbs; Walcott, Barry, Henderson, Gerrard, Milner; Carroll.
FRANCE: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Moxes, Abidal; Gourcuff, M'vila, Nasri; Valbuena, Benzema, Malouda.
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