They say the players pick the formation, not the other way around so the team is in a 4-3-3 formation this time out. Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Goalkeeper – Alex McCarthy (Reading)
With Joe Hart not featuring in Manchester City’s 6-0 humiliation of Tottenham and conceding two at home in the less convincing 4-2 victory over Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League, the Number 1 jersey was again up for grabs this week. A demoralising display from John Ruddy in Norwich’s 2-1 loss to Newcastle and a resounding 3-0 loss for Fraser Forsters Celtic against AC Milan in this weeks Champions League see’s some recognition going the way of Readings Alex McCarthy. McCarthy (still just 23) produced a man of the match display to keep a clean sheet in Reading’s 0-0 home draw with Blackburn last week. Much more of that and I think we can expect to see the young Englishman making his way back to the Premier League come January.
Right Back – Joel Ward (Crystal Palace)
Don’t ever accuse the team at ThreeLionsRoar of just carrying bias towards the ‘big clubs’! Again it was a shaky week for some of England’s more recognised right backs (Kyle Walker was part of the Tottenham horror show; Glen Johnson a piece of the Liverpool defence that conceded 3 at Everton; Nathaniel Clyne’s Southampton conceded 2 at Arsenal – I could go on!) so I think a lot of credit has to go Joel Ward and Crystal Palace who despite being reduced to 10 men, kept an in-form Hull City (or is that Tigers?!) at bay and picked up their first Premier League victory with a 1-0 result at the KC Stadium last Saturday.
Centre Back – Ryan Shawcross (Stoke)
Shawcross is another one who for me deserves a great deal more attention than he is getting. A stalwart of one of the most secure Premier League defences of the last few years and still only 26 years old, he has the strength, aerial ability and composure required to at least be considered for England (especially given the apparent concerns currently overshadowing his position on the international stage). Stoke have experienced some teething problems under Mark Hughes but they produced an assured performance to put Sunderland to the sword last week and despite the loss of Robert Huth, kept a clean sheet as part of the bargain – easily enough to justify Shawcross’ inclusion in my book!
Centre Back – Gary Cahill (Chelsea)
I personally don’t understand the criticism of Cahill. He always looks the part in a Chelsea shirt whenever I’ve seen him and his ability on the ball is something that you need at international level. He formed part of the Chelsea back four that comprehensively dealt with a West Ham side admittedly short on strikers but a clean sheet is a clean sheet and he deserves his place this week.
Left Back – Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal)
Kieran Gibbs is one of those players who I looked at when he was (even) younger and wondered what he was – a winger? A full back? His ability has never really been in question but I think his determination to assert himself within this Arsenal side is highly commendable. He is now an integral part of a much more solid Arsenal foundation which has seen them rocket to the top of the table this season. He was rested against Marseille in midweek but having helped secure a significant victory and clean sheet for the Gunners at home to Southampton in the Premier League he gets the nod at left back.
Central Midfield – Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea)
I think eyebrows were raised when Shelvey made the summer leap from Liverpool to Swansea but most saw it as a shrewd piece of business for the Swans. Still only 21 Shelvey definitely has the ingredients of a top class midfield player; aggression, vision, composure, finishing and mobility. He’s not exactly a stranger to the odd moment of controversy but the more winners he scores like the one he got against Fulham last weekend then the more attention he is going to get for all of the right reasons. On that kind of form I would consider him an outside bet for the plane to Brazil.
Central Midfield – Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
It never ceases to amaze me that every year Lampard goes back to West Ham he takes a script with him that the Hammers fans seem more than happy to play their part in. It goes a little something like “Frank Lampard takes to the pitch at Upton Park, gets vilified from three of the four corners of the ground and turns in a match-winning performance”. This year was no different. Two more goals. Three more points. An absolute no-brainer for team of the week.
Central Midfield – Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Ever since I saw a 19 year old Jack Wilshere become the standout midfielder in a contest between Arsenal and Barcelona I stopped doubting his ability. The only concern for me with Wilshere is his propensity for injury – if he can stay fit he is the future of English football without question. If there was any doubting his admission into this team on Saturday, it was put to bed with two outstanding goals in the midweek Champions League game against Marseille. Fantastic talent and an easy decision for central midfield.
Right Sided Forward – Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)
Now I’m willing to put my tin hat on for this one because admittedly Daniel Sturridge played just 11 minutes of the Merseyside derby on Saturday. That said, the moment he took to the pitch you just knew he was going to have an impact. Ten minutes later the ball is in the net, it’s the equaliser in a six goal thriller that will rightfully take its place in the history books of all-time great derbies and the man with his arm in the air is Daniel Sturridge. Of course. Quickly asserting himself as one of English football’s hottest properties. I would want him in an English starting 11 – so he is!
Centre Forward – Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
2 games, 1 goal, 4 assists. Manchester United unbeaten in 11. Need I say more about the man behind their upturn in fortunes?
Left Centre Forward – Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff City)
Fraizer Campbell’s third goal of the season contributed to another strong result at home to one of the Premier League’s top clubs for Cardiff City. Campbell has had to pay his dues since he first burst onto the scene with the club he scored against on SatuWith a number of our English players taking part in competitions both domestic and European, we take a look back at this weeks top performers.rday. Tough spells sidelined with injury and a somewhat nomadic existence seeing him spend time with Royal Antwerp, Sunderland, Hull and now Cardiff have prevented his rise from being meteoric. Now 26 and playing regularly in the Premier League you start to see what he can bring to the table with pace and incisive finishing. I think it would take an injury crisis up front for him to make it to Brazil but either way I think he deserves some recognition with a spot in this weeks team.