"Which England player from the past would you put in the current England squad? and why?"
For me, this is a question for which I will always have an answer prepared- now and most probably for the rest of my life. The one England player from the past that I would bring into this current national side is Paul Scholes.
The reasoning behind my answer is half-contextual, and half-universal. Quite simply, I can't think of any way in which you could arrange any combination of England players from any point in time together that would negate the need to include Paul Scholes. At the peak of his ability to contribute to the national team (in my opinion, around the time of the 2006 World Cup), he was the kind of player that even all-time creative greats of the game such as Xavi and Iniesta revered- a regista who would simply never misplace a long ball but was equally comfortable dictating the tempo by mixing his attempts at killer assists with short, metronome-like passes. He is, quite simply, the most gifted all-round playmaker to have ever turned out for the Three Lions.
Furthermore, in this current England side, Scholes would be so much more than a 'great to have'-type of figure- he would address a crippling shortcoming in the way the side plays. Though Roy Hodgson has no shortage of creative options in the centre of the park, none can quire provide the kind of versatility and intelligence in the engine room that would truly push England towards 'elite' status. Steven Gerrard, for all his ability to pick out a teammate at a range of distances, simply isn't mobile enough any more to function as a metronome that can keep England ticking over with rapid possession recycling. Michael Carrick on the other hand suffers from very much the opposite sort of problem- comfortable carrying water for the No.10s and forwards with short, responsible passes, but not capable of playing a defining role in attacking buildups. Jack Wilshere's game has switched to a focus on high-energy and strong tackling in recent years whenever he plays in the centre, and Tom Cleverley by my reckoning simply doesn't have the talent to be a creative fulcrum either for club nor country.
What Scholes would subsequently give to this side is the benefit of a playmaker who combines the traits of vision, reading of the game and mixed passing ability- a true all-round creative outlet. That two successive England managers failed to make him a convincing pitch to represent his country again at two recent tournaments to which he could have contributed is possibly the greatest tragedy associated with the English national team in the past decade.
I was torn between several players, Gary Lineker was the first as he was just a deadly finisher. Then I thought about Bobby Moore who captained the side to World Cup success, an absolute rock who read the game better than anyone (apparently, I'm not that old). We need someone like Moore in the modern day England set-up, someone is cool and assured on the ball but passionate about wearing the shirt. However after a little more deliberation and some careful thinking, I have decided to introduce England's all time leading goalscorer, none other than Bobby Charlton himself.
He does play a more advanced role what we may consider the supporting striker these days, just like Rooney. However he like Rooney had terrific ability on the ball and his defensive capabilities were vastly underrated. I have read numerous times how it was Bobby Charlton who marked Franz Beckenbauer out of that World Cup final. He could score from anywhere and despite having the dodgy hairdo (being generous), he was just an outstanding footballer who played the game the right way and knew what it meant to represent your country.
I've been banging on about packing the midfield over the past few weeks, well I would stick Charlton in a central attacking midfield role, give him license to roam but I'd also make sure he'd drop back in when defending. He's my guy.
Bobby Moore. Just think a veteran in the back who is reliable would be good.
I'm going for Bryan Robson in the centre of the park. I would love to see a proper midfield maestro who give everything they have got to wear the England shirt playing again. Not sure I can say too many English players love pulling on the England shirt these days - just see it as another game and not a privilege!
As the blog's resident Chelsea fan, I'll go with the expected answer and offer John Terry as my choice. Arguably the finest English centre back of his generation (if not all time), an experienced player and a born leader, Terry benefits immensely from still playing (and having one of his finest seasons yer) and being a key part in Jose Mourinho's revamped Chelsea squad. Statistically England's winningest captain (as per Simon Kuper's Soccernomics), Terry is a great aerial threat, is a strong voice at the back and would be a key figure in any Premier League side. What he lacks in speed, he makes up in all other qualities, and, off-field transgressions and whatnot aside, he is a magnificent footballer.
To sure up England’s defense, especially entering a creative and difficult World Cup group, I would select Tony Adams. The Arsenal defender appeared 66 times wearing the Three Lions. An expert in quashing the opposition by maintaining an effective offside trap, he would certainly help England prevent the powerful attacking forces of Uruguay and Italy from testing Joe Hart.
My personal pick would be Gary Lineker, granted I've never seen him play, but his goalscoring record of 48 goals in 80 games for England is excellent, and I think the current England side would benefited hugely from having a goalscoring threat like him, Wayne Rooney would benefit playing off him, and England's midfielders/wingers can also exploit the spaces that defenders left behind from having to pay attention to him.
I nearly pick Terry Butcher, but that's only because the sight of him with torn bandages and white England shirt with blood all over will just scared the hell out of opposing attackers. Especially Suarez. I think.
What do you think of our choices? And which past England player would you pick? We'd love to hear your thoughts below!