West Ham United is a football club deeply rooted in the history of the English national team. Whether it be providing both the goal scorers and the captain in the 1966 World Cup Final or Tony Carr’s academy providing a whole host of players who would go onto represent England, including the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard.
This summer has seen a rapid growth in the number of strong English contenders at West Ham, players who can challenge for a place at the World Cup in 2014. The permanent signing of Andy Carroll as well as the recent signing of Stewart Downing means that most games this season will see a front four of English players and as many as 7 or 8 English players starting.
Now our defence rarely starts with any English players. We know the talent possessed by James Tomkins, and we wish we could start him, but the immense solidarity of James Collins and Winston Reid at the back means that Tomkins has become something of a permanent fixture on our bench. Perhaps we can allow two centre halves. The position of full back, on either side, does have room for an English player. With the likes of Jack Colback, Danny Rose and Luke Shaw around, it is surely worth a look at these exciting, English prospects. On the right, the likes of Ryan Taylor would not only be cheap, but provide added solidarity, good service to Carroll and the ability to hit a decent free kick (at last). I still can’t believe we missed out on the chance to pick up Nathaniel Clyne on the cheap last year!
Should England make it to Brazil, I can see a strong West Ham core to that squad. With goals, Carroll should make that squad and the quality of service that will surely be provided by Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing will maybe see each of them take a place given the lack of quality in English wingers. Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan are slightly more contentious as they get slightly older, but if both are scoring goals and playing their best football, I can see no reason why Joey can’t have an England revival or why Nolan can’t join the England squad for the first time in his career.