Are England worthy of comparisons to German stars?
Fabio Capello has got ahead of himself by comparing his England team to their German counterparts
Fabio Capello last week claimed England’s rising stars are fit to rival Germany’s impressive young 2010 World Cup squad.
“I told you that we’ve got some players, young players, who are really good for the future,” said Capello after the 1-1 friendly draw with Ghana at Wembley. “We have used players like [Danny] Welbeck and [Matt] Jarvis, Wilshere and [Andy] Carroll.
“These are really important players for the England future. Another is [Gary] Cahill – a really young, interesting player who has big confidence – and there is [Joe] Hart in goal.
“I hope that people will talk about us like they did about Germany. These players are improving a lot and playing with confidence.”
The dismal campaign in South Africa appeared to mark the end of the road for some of England’s veterans amid calls for a complete overhaul of the national side.
Capello has since initiated the process – and the early signs are positive. But comparing England’s developing side to the breathtaking Germany squad that blew away their opponents in South Africa is simply premature.
Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere possesses all the qualities necessary to succeed at the highest level. He has been a regular fixture in an Arsenal side pushing for honours this season and not once has he appeared fazed by the pressure.
But Wilshere aside it is difficult to pinpoint other potential world-class talent amongst the younger players in the squad.
Defenders Gary Cahill and Leighton Baines have excelled at their respective clubs and are now quite rightly on the fringes of the national side.
But at Bolton Wanderers and Everton, neither are in a position to compete in Europe to gain further experience at the highest level like many of their German counterparts.
In midfield England are looking to the likes of Ashley Young, Adam Johnson and Theo Walcott to take over from senior members such as Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard as creative outlets.
The trio possess pace and trickery in abundance but often lack that decisive cross or timely pass.
They are three promising talents but cannot yet be compared to Germany’s excelling duo of Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira.
Ozil, 22, sealed a €15m move to Real Madrid last summer following an outstanding World Cup and is already an instrumental member of Jose Mourinho’s first team.
His 23-year-old colleague Khedira also completed a move to the Spanish capital and has formed a formidable partnership with Xabi Alonso in the heart of Real’s midfield, and the pair are gaining invaluable experience by playing in La Liga and the Champions League.
Winger Marko Marin is marked as another emerging talent despite having played a minimal role at the World Cup. The Werder Bremen midfielder produced a number of eye-catching performances in the Champions League this season.
Up front Fabio Capello is pinning his hopes on Liverpool’s record signing Andy Carroll.
The traditional number nine has strength and power in abundance and will inevitably become a force for the national team in years to come. But the 22-year-old simply doesn’t have the creativity of his European counterparts.
Danny Welbeck is yet to break into the Manchester United first team and despite a productive loan spell at Sunderland, any comparison to Germany’s exciting forwards would be nothing but thoughtless.
Germany boss Joachim Low blooded Thomas Muller in South Africa and the 20-year-old repaid his manager’s faith with number of superb displays that helped Germany reach the semi-finals. Muller even collected the tournament’s golden boot thanks to his five goals and also won the Best Young Player award.
Muller’s Bayern Munich team-mate, Mario GÃƒÂ³mez, tops the Bundesliga goal charts with an impressive 19 goals this season, and 30 in all competitions. The imposing striker again played a minimal role in South Africa but is clearly an asset for the future.
Only in the goalkeeping department can England legitimately claim to spar evenly with their German rivals. Joe Hart has made the number one spot in Capello’s side his own while Manuel Neuer looks set to become a regular for Germany.
Capello is right to be optimistic about England’s emerging talent, but the Italian must focus on developing a team ethic akin to that of Low’s squad in South Africa if the national side is to realise its potential.