The Arsenal winger Theo Walcott is the highest profile casualty in England managerFabio Capello’s official 23-man World Cup squad, with Manchester City’s Gareth Barry and Chelsea’s Joe Cole included.
Walcott and Sunderland striker Darren Bent are among the seven named in the provisional 30-man party for the finals who did not made the final cut when it was announced by the Football Association at 4pm.
They are joined by Everton’s Leighton Baines, West Ham United’s Scott Parker, Manchester City’s Adam Johnson, plus Tottenham Hotspur duo Tom Huddlestone and Michael Dawson.
Among the players who have been selected are Gareth Barry who was a doubt to make the trip due to ankle ligament damage. The Manchester City midfielder passed a fitness test this morning and should be present to perform his vital holding midfield role.
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick edged out Parker and Huddlestone to shadow Barry despite a lacklustre performance in last week’s friendly with Mexico.
Capello sprung a surprise by selecting Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock ahead of Baines to cover Chelsea left back Ashley Cole. Manchester City’s Shaun Wright-Phillips was also selected even though club colleague Adam Johnson has been favoured by Roberto Mancini since the latter’s January transfer from Middlesbrough.
Bent will not be in South Africa either, with Emile Heskey’s experience and selfless teamwork considered more of an asset than Bent’s goalscoring potential.
As usual, the focus will be on Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney to provide goals, with the main creative thrust seeming to come from the livewire pace of Aaron Lennon out wide.
The Italian contacted each of the players who missed out by telephone. The rest of the squad fly out to South Africa tomorrow to commence preparations for the tournament.
Overall, an unsurprising choice from Capello. Now the real work begins.