A season that started promisingly for Cardiff ends in a sour note, as the Welsh club will be staring at a 46 games schedule back in The Championship following their relegation from the Premier League last weekend. It has been a topsy-turvy ride for the
Bluebirds Dragons club that has experienced plenty in their brief stay at the English football top division. Now with the focus shifting to the World Cup, we'll take a look at those hoping to wash away the relegation disappointment with an England call-up.
Steven Caulker, defender, 22
Caulker has been ever present for Cardiff this season, starting 37 games and also captaining the club in his first season after a summer move from Tottenham. His 8.7 clearances per game is 10th highest in the Premier League, a testament to his alertness to danger and also to the amount of attacks he has to faced while manning Cardiff's defense. He also averaged 1.5 block shots, which led the league.
On the plane or on the beach? Caulker definitely stands a chance of winning a spot on the plane, having been a regular for Cardiff and was also included in the 30-man squad in the last friendly against Denmark. His competition is probably Manchester United's duo of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, but with ManU's slide in performance, this might just play into Caulker's benefit.
Fraizer Campbell, attacker, 26
The former Manchester United and Sunderland striker played 36 times in the league scoring six goals and providing two assists in the process. His six goals makes him the club's second top scorer for the season, which probably is one of the reason why Cardiff will be playing in the Championship next season.
On the plane or on the beach? Campbell will be looking for a nice summer holiday, with competition for England's back-up striker to be hotly contested among other better performing attackers, Campbell stands no chance.
Ben Turner, defender, 25
Turner is another regular in Cardiff's back line, appearing 30 times thus far in the league. Similar to Caulker, he clears the ball out of danger quite a lot (he averages 9.4 clearances per game) and is able to put himself into position to block incoming attempts on goal (with a blocked shot per game). If both Caulker and Turner stays put, there's no reason why Cardiff should not have a strong defense in the Championship.
On the plane or on the beach? Unfortunately, there is plenty of other names ahead of Turner in competition for an England spot, including club mate Caulker. So a summer vacation to the beach is more likely here.
Peter Whittingham, midfielder, 29
Whittingham has played 31 games for Cardiff in the league this season with his most significant contributions in the assists department in which he has five of them (he also chipped in with two goals). Among his strengths are his crossing and set-piece delivery, he is also able to play as a left midfielder and centre midfielder making him a versatile option for Cardiff.
On the plane or on the beach? No doubt that Whittingham will be on the beach this summer, as there are quite a lot of players vying for a spot in England's midfield. His age doesn't help him either at this stage of his career.
Jordon Mutch, midfielder, 22
Going in to the season, Mutch was someone I thought deserves a closer look and could play a key role for Cardiff's survival bid. He hasn't disappoint (well the relegation part is disappointing) in terms of his overall contribution. With seven goals and five assists he led both categories for Cardiff. However his passing game is one area where he can improve, as his passing success rate stands only at 74%.
On the plane or on the beach? The beach. Mutch could be a useful player for a mid-table Premier League side, and if he can continue to improve on his game, at 22 he still has a chance in the future of getting an England call.
Andrew Taylor, defender, 27
Taylor has the odd distinction here in TLR as our inaugural winner of "Faller of the week" award. That doesn't paint a convincing picture for the left back, and his stats confirm this. He hasn't scored a goal or provide an assist, his offensive contribution is minimal (other than around 2 accurate long balls per game), and defensively he only does enough to pass as a defender.
On the plane or on the beach? Leighton Baines, Ashley Cole, Luke Shaw, Kieran Gibbs, Danny Rose, Joel Ward, and Ryan Bertrand. Those are the reasons why Taylor will be on the beach come summer.
Craig Noone, midfielder, 26
Noone has only played 17 times thus far with a contribution of a goal and an assist. He gives the ball away a bit too much for a side that doesn't always dominate possession and doesn't provide defensive cover for his full back. Add with a 71% pass success rate, he might be better suited finding his groove in the Championship.
On the plane or on the beach? Beach, definitely beach.
Wilfried Zaha, midfielder, 21
Zaha has been discussed here previously by my colleague David, where he believes that Zaha won't make the England squad. 12 appearances in with Cardiff, hasn't change the outlook for Sir Alex Ferguson's last signing.
On the plane or on the beach? The beach, but Zaha has plenty of talent which only needs the right kind of situation. Another season on loan with regular playing time will do a lot of wonder for him in what has been a difficult season.
Matthew Connolly, defender, 26
Has only played three games (and earned two yellow cards in the process).
On the plane or on the beach? Next.
Mark Hudson, defender, 32
Played two games in January, where he cleared the ball 21 times. Busy.
On the plane or on the beach? He's probably already on the beach!
Joe Lewis, goalkeeper, 26
Played one game back in September.
On the plane or on the beach? Has anybody seen him?
All stats courtesy of whoscored.com