Pub debate: Is Kevin Davies good enough for England?
Published : 07 Oct 2010 12:51:25
In a new weekly feature, Football.co.uk's Joe Strange and Will Tidey take opposite sides on a topical pub debate sweeping the nation.
First up, is Kevin Davies a comical step backwards for England? Or could picking the Beast of Bolton prove a masterstroke from Fabio Capello?
(The arguments here do not necessarily represent the views of the writers)
THE CASE FOR KEVIN DAVIES
For too long the England set-up has been a closed shop to a certain type of player - the type who spills blood and guts playing for a less than glamorous club every weekend.
Kevin Davies has been doing just that in the Premier League for over a decade, where he's spent most of his playing time as an isolated striker, feeding off ugly scraps. And while Didier Drogba's combative approach to the very same task is regularly lauded, Davies has been unfairly cast a villain.
Without him, Bolton lack purpose and drive. You could argue they might have slipped out of the Premier League altogether if not for their captain's lead-by-example approach. Davies is a competitor of the most impassioned nature, and that is not a trait to be taken lighten when it comes to the England national team.
When we think back to England's dismal failure in South Africa, one of the main problems was mental application. We had the players, but they didn't function at anywhere close to their potential. Would they have performed so poorly with a fired-up Davies leading the line alongside Wayne Rooney? I think not.
Nobody is arguing that Davies is a prolific goalscorer, or a visionary passer of the ball. He's a dominant centre-forward who wins headers, can hold the ball up for eternity and instills a genuine sense of desire in those around him. Until Andy Carroll is ready to fill his boots, he could be the perfect compliment to Rooney.
When you're 33 years old and without a cap, you don't need much motivation to put a shift in. And who'll be complaining when he's kicking lumps out of opposition defenders at Euro 2012.
- Will Tidey
THE CASE AGAINST KEVIN DAVIES
When news of Fabio Capello's latest England squad was first announced, my heart immediately sank.
The Italian appeared to have taken on board the calls for a new, forward-thinking England. One full of youth and dynamism. And one capable of beating opponents in entertaining fashion.
But with the inclusion of Kevin 'I use my elbows more than my feet' Davies, Capello has taken yet another huge step backwards in his efforts to make this country proud again.
The fast, free-flowing football on show against Bulgaria and Switzerland replaced with the epitome of the boring, route-one game. How very, very depressing.
Davies is a solid Premier League player. He wins headers, holds the ball up well and occasionally bags the odd goal, but is he England quality? No chance.
The man is 33 years old. If he was really good enough for the national setup then doesn't Fabio think one of his predecessors would've already picked him?
Davies lacks the pace, skill and all-round ability to fit in with a side (or squad for that matter) that played a mixture of eye-catching, successful football in the last two Euro 2012 qualifiers.
If Fabio wants to undo his recent good work by returning to the days of lumping the ball forward to the head of Emile Heskey, then Davies remains an able deputy.
But if he wants to develop England's newfound style while keeping his critics quiet, then he could come to regret calling up yet another goal-shy striker.
- Joe Strange