Dean Ashton out: Blow to England and Hammers
Is it just me but just when England makes the right moves, appointing John Terry as captain, getting rid of David Beckham, up comes the X factor and upends all plans; the football injury. Yes, Deam Ashton broke his ankle colliding with Shaun Wright Phillips in training for the match against Greece. Worse, he is probably gone for at least three months, just when I had picked West Ham to finish 7th. Alan Pardew says it won't be a problem because he has Zamora, Cole, Shearingham, and Harewood to do duty. Pardew knows better, this is a big loss for the Hammers. The bookies have placed 350:1 odds on West Ham to finish first >>
England squad against Greece
England Defoe, Crouch, Downing, Gerrard, Lampard, Hargreaves, Ferdinand, Terry, A Cole, G Neville, Robinson.
Substitutes (from) Foster, Kirkland, Bridge, Brown, Carragher, Dawson, P Neville, Young, Jenas, Lennon, Richardson, Wright-Phillips, Bent.
Greece Charisteas, Samaras, Karagounis, Giannakopoulos, Zagorakis, Basinas, Fyssas, Anatolakis, Kyrgiakos, Dellas, Nikolopidis.
Substitutes (from) Chalkias, Antzas, Vintra, Kafes, Katsouranis, Lagos, Amanatidis, Gekas, Papadopoulos, Salpigidis.
Head to head
England won 6 drawn 2 lost 0
Stewart Downing starts on the left with Joe Cole out with an knee injury. Steven Gerrard plays his natural position down the right as he does for Liverpool. Steve McLaren and Terry Venables are sticking to the 4-4-2. I don't see any space for Lennon in this line up. Unless McLaren experiments with a 3-5-2, an improvised 4-4-2, with Hargreaves dropping back in defence. Then we could see Lennon move out to the right flank, Gerrard move in, Hargreaves as the holding midfielder, Lampard, and Joe Cole on his natural left flank, when he gets back from injury.
McLaren and Venables can afford to tinker around a bit before all the Euro 2008 hype begins.