Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Tuesday September 6 2011
Bwin's Burning Issue - should Capello dispense with the old guard?
Bwin has teamed up with Vital Football to give fans the chance to air their views on football's biggest issues.
Every Monday, we're inviting readers to offer their take on what we consider to be the biggest talking point of the week.
Today, in the wake of England's win over Bulgaria, our burning issue is: Should Fabio Capello ditch the likes of Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand in favour of emerging talent like Phil Jones and Chris Smalling?
So it looks like England have made it to Euro 2012. The Three Lions' impressive 3-0 away victory over Bulgaria, coupled with Wales' 2-1 win against Montenegro, means Fabio Capello's side will, in all probability, be playing in Poland and Ukraine next summer.
Three points ahead of nearest challengers Montenegro and with a healthy goal difference, only an unlikely defeat to Wales tomorrow and a subsequent loss to Montenegro in Podgorica can derail England's qualification bid.
Given the form they showed in Sofia, this eventuality can be discounted with confidence.
Indeed, England are now 1/100 to top Group G, with Montenegro 10/1 outsiders in bwin's group winner betting market.
However, Capello still faces some difficult decisions in the months leading up to the finals in June, with his squad and best XI far from assured.
The Italian's chief worry will be what to do with the established England stars who played little or no part in his side's win over Bulgaria.
With Frank Lampard a substitute and Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand and Glen Johnson injured, the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley were added to the squad as Capello gambled on youth.
The big question is, should Capello continue down this path or revert back to putting his faith in the players who failed so miserably in the 2010 World Cup? In short, is it time for a definitive changing of the guard?
Ashley Young, Joe Hart and Gary Cahill have all impressed having been given more game time in the wake of the South Africa debacle and there is no reason to suggest Smalling, Jones, Cleverley & co can't do the same.
Couple this with the increasing susceptibility to injury of England's older players and it is easy to see why the ruthless Capello could soon be tempted to leave the likes of Lampard and Ferdinand out of squads on a regular basis.
However, the danger in this policy is if a tendency to overhype English youngsters as potential world beaters comes back to haunt the country and a youthful side fails spectacularly on the big stage.
This is where the experience of the older players becomes such a huge asset - tried and tested at championship level, Capello at least knows what he will be getting from his senior pros.
But England's performances in recent years suggest this is the time to gamble. History tells us that the likes of Gerrard, Lampard and Ferdinand are unlikely to get us past the quarter-finals, so why not roll the dice?
That said, not everyone will see it the same. So what do you think - would you rather see a young England team try their luck in Poland and Ukraine, or should Capello stick with the old guard? Should Capello go even further and dispense with John Terry, Gareth Barry and Scott Parker in favour of emerging talent? Or should the youngsters be jettisoned as soon as the big guns are ready to make a return? It's over to you…
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Date:Tuesday September 6 2011
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