Early Doors

Early Doors’s uncapped England XI

Early Doors

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Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster's England call-up confirms what we already knew about the Three Lions.

In the modern age, you barely need to break wind, much less play a Premier League to find yourself in some pointless friendly.

With the days of quality capless players like Steve Bruce over, here are the last 11 Englishmen not to have represented their country - and why they deserve a chance to follow in the proud footsteps of Seth Johnson, Gavin McCann and Michael Ricketts.

Goalkeeper: Steve Harper (Newcastle, age 37)
Why he deserves a call-up? Fraser Forster is in the squad, having been deemed worse than Harper and released by Newcastle. 112 Premier League appearances in 20 years might not sound like much, but it is 112 more than Forster and Jack Butland have between them.

Right-back: Tony Hibbert (Everton, 31)
Why? Never noticing full-backs used to be a good thing. Like the ref, they were only doing their job when seen and not heard. These days, when you have to be Dani Alves to get any praise, for some reason going 13 seasons without scoring is seen as a bad thing.

Centre-back: Mike Williamson (Newcastle, 28)
Why? A late bloomer he might be, but Williamson has a habit of playing in successful defensive units. The fact he is not an automatic choice at Newcastle merely gives him something in common with England regulars Joleon Lescott and Gary Cahill.

Centre-back: Anton Ferdinand (QPR, 27)
Why? Just to irritate John Terry and the numbskulls who defend his conduct. Also, how would Rio react if his kid brother got a call-up and he didn't?

Left-back: Liam Ridgewell (West Brom, 28)
Why? Because our back four needs a swashbuckling kick up the backside, and Ridgewell's 19 career goals basically make him Roberto Carlos next to the rest of this lot.

Right midfield: Leon Osman (Everton, 31)
Why? It's actually hard to be flippant here. Quite why Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson and Jake Livermore are deemed worthy of call-ups ahead of the consistently excellent Osman is anyone's guess. Fact: The 5' 8" midfielder is the brother of 6' 7" Pointless presented Richard Osman.

Central midfield: Kevin Nolan (West Ham, 30)
Why? He's got the middle name Jance, if Wikipedia is to be believed. And with no Lampard or Gerrard we need to populate our midfield with two different highly-rated but excessively attacking players.

Central midfield: Mark Noble (West Ham, 25)
Why? The other half of our tactically-illiterate engine room, Noble continues the long tradition of West Ham products being inserted into the England team before they are ready.

Left midfield: Nathan Dyer (Swansea, 24)
Why? Token bad boy. In 2008 the fun-sized winger was found guilty of burglary after stealing items from staff at a bar in Southsea.

Striker: Rickie Lambert (Southampton, 30)
Why? Because he's the new Grant Holt. You know, the same Grant Holt who hasn't played for England and does

Striker: Gary Hooper (Celtic, 24)
Why? He scores goals. Against Raith Rovers mainly. But he certainly knows where the back of the net is - at one end of a sparsely populated stadium north of the border.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I'm definitely not closing the door on Rio, and there is no way I would ever indicate I wasn't going to use a player in that way. All I remember was that I was talking to quite a lot of people on the Tube and one guy asked: 'Is Rio in the next squad?' and I think I might have said: 'I don't think so.' But it's a mistake and I need to apologise for that. I've paid for it." Tube-gate is one of the saddest stories Early Doors can remember. If you want to know why people in football are so hopelessly detached from the public, look at what happens the minute you talk to a guy on the Tube.

FOREIGN VIEW: Didier Deschamps has delivered a verbal slap to the noble jowls of Arsene Wenger after the Arsenal boss said Abou Diaby should not have been called up for France.

"I want to remind him that I am the only one to decide who will be picked and how long those who are picked will play," Deschamps said.

"There is only one to decide and it's me."

COMING UP: The full weekend preview shebang, including Jim White and our weekly Fantasy Football chat.

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