Posted by: mdegeorge | August 9, 2010

Something we should know, Fabio?

Monday has come to an end in London and for the first time in three days, no one has called time on their England careers.

Paul Robinson put an end to his days in a Three Lions shirt on Saturday, and Wes Brown followed suit on Sunday. Both announcements served a perplexing celebration of the players’ returns to the squad after long exiles.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=paul+robinson+england&iid=3127234″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/3127234/sports-october-2007/sports-october-2007.jpg?size=500&imageId=3127234″ width=”380″ height=”549″ /]

It makes you wonder just what the atmosphere around the England camp is feeling like these days. Both players have remained on the fringes of the squad under several different coaching regimes, and with both turning 31 within two days of each in October, age is hardly a factor with the specter of participation in another European Championships looming in just two years. Brown and Robinson’s unwillingness to stay and fight for their place on the bench is indicative of severe disbelief in the future direction of the squad.

In Robinson’s case, an opportunity to warm the bench two years after he bumbled and spilled the number one keeper’s gloves away didn’t much appeal to him:

As a professional who wants every chance to play football, I do not see myself as No3 or No4 goalkeeper. I find that role very frustrating. I haven’t had the opportunity to be anything other than this in recent years. Therefore I feel it’s in the best interests of myself and my club, Blackburn Rovers, that I concentrate solely on my club football. I wish the England team every success.

Yet the player most associated with England’s absence from Euro 2008 still remains (in the eyes of many) the best option between the sticks for Fabio Capello until the youth tandem of Joe Hart and Ben Foster begin to serve wins.

Were this a team with a more certain future, perhaps Robinson would be more willing to provide a seasoned presence on the bench, driving the talented youngsters to succeed while vying for his time on the pitch as well. Instead, he’s deemed his club aspirations more important, an earned the backing of Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce.

Brown’s case is more interesting, as roles in the defensive contingent are much less defined. Capello’s selections have been more perplexing, standing by ageing fixtures while young talents—and both terms are applied quite loosely—are shuffled in and out with alarming regularity. The door is open for Brown, a versatile player capable of playing in the center of defense and on the wing, fight for a place, though being the fourth centerback on his club team’s depth chart probably isn’t an advantage.

The sudden haste of Brown and Robinson to distance themselves from Capello’s squad illustrates an imposing specter of doubt hovering over the program. Were it not for the debacle of historic proportions in France, the Brits would be garnering considerable headlines for the unrest in the squad. But there’s still a plethora of questions to be answered by the program in the coming months.

They have the fortune of an easy qualification group for Euro 2012 (Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales, and Montenegro), but if they stumble out of the blocks, you could see a mutiny on the HMS Three Lions.

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