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KANE AND?

Only seven of the current England crop would have made the 2006 World Cup squad

Much has been made of the relative weakness of the current England squad compared to the 'Golden Generation'

Many pundits and fans have labelled Gareth Southgate’s latest crop as the ‘worst England squad’ in recent memory.

By a means of comparison, we thought it would be fun to consider how many of the players in consideration for England’s 2018 World Cup squad would have got into Sven-Goran Eriksson’s 2006 squad.

If Sven was capable of having nightmares they would feature Gerrard and Lampard tripping over each other

PA:Press Association
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If Sven was capable of having nightmares they would feature Gerrard and Lampard tripping over each other

In the spirit of fairness, we’re judging the 2006 ‘Golden Generation’ on their reputation at the time, rather than what they went on to achieve.

And similarly, the modern players are measured using their current form, rather than what they’ve achieved in the past (*cough cough* Joe Hart).

KEEPERS

2006 options: Paul Robinson, David James, Scott Carson

2018 options: Joe Hart, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Jack Butland

Get there, Paul! Get there!

AFP
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Get there, Paul! Get there!

 

Bit of a lottery to start.

Robinson had established himself as a superb shot-stopper with Spurs an but his main attribute was his comically gigantic kick.

After discarding Hart and Carson, we had James, Pickford, Pope and Butland battle it out for the last two spots and went with the trademark blend of experience and youth.

ON THE PLANE: Robinson, James, Pickford

If he was a forward we would use the phrase ‘PICK that out’ after every one of his goals

Getty - Contributor
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If he was a forward we would use the phrase ‘PICK that out’ after every one of his goals

FULL-BACKS

2006 options: Gary Neville, Ashley Cole, Wayne Bridge

2018 options: Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Ryan Bertrand, Danny Rose, Ashley Young, Luke Shaw, Fabian Delph

This is the only acceptable photo for this situation

Getty Images - Getty
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This is the only acceptable photo for this situation

We need two right-backs and two left-backs here.

Neville and Cole are shoo-ins and given that Eriksson didn’t even bother picking a second right-back in 2006, Walker gets the nod as well.

We held a vote in the office for the last spot and Rose just edged it over Bridge.

ON THE PLANE: Neville, Walker, Cole, Rose

Why does he look like he’s about to Pedigree the Undertaker at Wrestlemania?

David Klein
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Why does he look like he’s about to Pedigree the Undertaker at Wrestlemania?

CENTRE-BACKS

2006 options: Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Sol Campbell, Jamie Carragher

2018 options: John Stones, Joe Gomez, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson

They used to be friends

Action Images - Reuters
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They used to be friends

This is an absolute walkover for the old guard.

The 2006 quartet is a who’s who of legendary Premier League centre-backs and even at the time that was clear for at least three of them.

Possession-enthusiasts would argue for Stones over Carragher but we’ve got it down as a clean sweep…

ON THE PLANE: Ferdinand, Terry, Campbell, Carragher

Sol to soul

PA:Empics Sport
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Sol to soul

MIDFIELDERS

2006 options: Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Owen Hargreaves, Jermaine Jenas, Michael Carrick, Aaron Lennon, Stewart Downing

2018 options: Dele Alli, Lewis Cook, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Jesse Lingard, Jake Livermore, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling, Jack Cork, Jonjo Shelvey

PICTURED: Not Jake Livermore

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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PICTURED: Not Jake Livermore

Eight midfielders to pick and for the sake of our sanity, we decided not to worry too much about formation.

Becks, Lamps and Stevie G is a good starting point and unlike most England managers of the last 15 years we’re not going to overlook Carrick.

Joe Cole was in his prime in 2006 and possessed a creative spark while Sterling’s 15 league goals this season is difficult to ignore…

ON THE PLANE: Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham, Cole, Sterling, Carrick, Alli, Hargreaves

“Raheem, tell me, what would Pep do?”

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“Raheem, tell me, what would Pep do?”

FORWARDS

2006 options: Micheal Owen, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Peter Crouch

2018 options: Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck, Glenn Murray

Rooney turning Ricardo Carvalho’s testicles into sandwich spread is an underrated World Cup moment

AP:Associated Press
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Rooney turning Ricardo Carvalho’s testicles into sandwich spread is an underrated World Cup moment

We can all agree on Owen, Rooney and Kane, can’t we?

One spot left and for us it comes down to the speed and tenacity of Vardy versus the sheer height of Crouch.

In the end we went for the better goalscorer…

ON THE PLANE: Owen, Rooney, Kane, Vardy

The boys, the boys!

Getty - Contributor
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The boys, the boys!

FINAL COMBINED SQUAD:

KEEPERS: Robinson, James, Pickford

DEFENDERS: Neville, Walker, Cole, Rose, Ferdinand, Terry, Campbell, Carragher

MIDFIELDERS: Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham, Cole, Sterling, Carrick, Alli, Hargreaves

FORWARDS: Owen, Rooney, Kane, Vardy

So in answer to our question, seven of the current crop would have got into England’s 2006 World Cup squad — Pickford, Rose, Walker, Alli, Sterling, Vardy and Kane.

Becks gets the armband on the account of his jawline

AP:Associated Press
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Becks gets the armband on the account of his jawline

That may sound bleak but here’s the thing, the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ never even reached a semi-final.

Perhaps an unburdened squad, free from the superstar egos and pressure of living up to intense expectation, may actually perform better on the big stage?

We can’t do any worse than the last couple of World Cups…

Nope, still not over it

Getty Images - Getty
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Nope, still not over it

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