There was no great fanfare to the announcement of England’s 23 man squad tasked with ending 34 years of hurt. Instead, the identities of the unlucky seven to be dropped from the provisional squad were disclosed in farcical fashion via Twitter.
The final 23 was subject to much speculation and rumours over the past week but as the situation became clearer it emerged that Fabio Capello had named the oldest ever England squad for a World Cup finals.
The most deliberated action of the day was the omission of Arsenal winger Theo Walcott. Capello’s decision to leave out Walcott came as a surprise despite Walcott’s indifferent season for Arsenal. The 21 year old, who was surprisingly included in the 2006 squad was devastated to learn that he would not be making the trip to South Africa. In a statement released after the announcement he said, “I am very disappointed not to be included in the squad going out to South Africa, but completely respect Mr Capello’s decision. I would like to wish the team the best of luck and hope they have a really successful tournament.”
Elsewhere, Ledley King trumped his Tottenham colleague Michael Dawson for the final defensive berth. While Stephen Warnock got the better of Leighton Baines in the struggle to be Ashley Cole’s understudy.
The squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Robert Green (West Ham United), Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth)
Defenders: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur), Matthew Upson (West Ham United)
Midfielders: Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), James Milner (Aston Villa)
Strikers: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur), Peter Crouch (Tottenham Hotspur), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa)