Paul Parker

Are big club players more worthy of caps?

Paul Parker

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I was a bit surprised to hear that Bulgaria are struggling to get a good crowd for the visit of England this evening.

Their team has been struggling in this Euro 2012 qualification campaign. It is certainly not a side full of star names. They were spoiled during the early mid-1990s when they boasted the likes of Stoichkov, Letchkov et al in a team which reached the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup (a more recent appearance in the last four than England), and the international retirement of Dimitar Berbatov must only make Bulgarians pine for those days even more.

But still, you would have thought that England would have been a bigger draw. Then again, despite somehow being ranked at number four in the world by FIFA at the moment, Fabio Capello's side are not good to watch, to be brutally honest. It just goes to show how little stock the world rankings hold.

There has been a lot of fuss made over Manchester United's great start to the season, and rightly so, but I am not sure the clamour to see the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley immediately thrust into the team is a good thing.

Jones looks to be a complete defender, very mature at such a young age. But does playing four games for United instantly make him a better player than he was at Blackburn?

Jones was just as impressive for Rovers as he has been for his new club, but he was not anywhere near the senior squad at that point. Suddenly he plays a couple of games under Alex Ferguson and in he comes.

Capello has a policy of generally only picking players who play at the highest level, and there is some merit in that, but Jones has played as many Champions League games at Old Trafford as he did at Ewood Park. Gary Cahill must be wondering what he has to do to get into the England team if Jones is selected ahead of him in Sofia. When I got my first England call I was playing for QPR, another unfashionable club.

As for Smalling, I still do not see him as a long-term solution at right-back, for club or country. He has played well there, but whether or not he can sustain a career as a full-back is still open to question.

At this moment in time I would still plump for Micah Richards, a player of vastly more experience who is himself playing in an excellent team. Then there is of course Glen Johnson to come back from injury, and Kyle Walker's development at Tottenham should throw him into the mix too.

Capello seems to be giving call-ups to whoever fans and media demand of him at the moment. It is not surprising really, given that he will be leaving his post in July whatever happens in Poland and Ukraine. He gets paid the same obscene salary between now and then regardless. I think he is just looking for an easy ride until he leaves, and is just going through the motions.

Capello seems to be picking whoever the media say he should. Shows how seriously he takes the job, just wants an easy ride until he leaves.

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