Keown leads depleted England

Martin Keown was proclaimed the third England captain in four games last night as Howard Wilkinson, resuming his role as caretaker-coach following the resignation of Kevin Keegan, strove to preserve an element of rationale following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Germany at Wembley in the nation’s opening World Cup qualifier.

Keown gets the armband against Finland here tomorrow night because Tony Adams, England’s best player against the Germans and fit on Sunday night, broke down in training yesterday with a recurrence of a back injury which, according to Wilkinson, “is going to be the bane of his life”.

Keown made the usual right noises about being proud to lead his country and felt that if everybody pulled together England would get the right result. Since they have won here on six of their previous seven visits there is little doubt about what that result should be.

In the immediate aftermath of Keegan’s resignation Adam Crozier, the Football Association’s chief executive, declared it was an exciting time to be Authentic Prada Bags Uk an England coach. An odd remark, the logic of which depends on what one means by exciting.

Maybe Crozier meant to say eventful. For instance, when Crazy Horse closed in for the kill, General Armstrong Custer would have doubted that it was an exciting moment to be commanding the Seventh Cavalry, but the old warhorse could not have denied that the day was turning out to be eventful.

Events are already catching up with up Wilkinson for whom, like Custer, his latest caretakership of the England team is likely to be brief and to the point. In fact with players dropping out all around him Wilkinson may end up being grateful for a point in the Olympic Stadium tomorrow.

The loss of Adams has further reduced England’s defensive options despite Wilkinson’s Authentic Prada Americas Cup Sneakers decision to call up Manchester United’s Wes Brown from the Under-21s as cover. Already without Sol Campbell, he would appear to have no other choice but to play Gareth Southgate alongside Keown at centre-back.

Graeme Le Saux was another withdrawal yesterday, having failed to recover from the calf injury which eventually saw him substituted Are Prada Mens Shoes Good on Saturday. Gareth Barry, who replaced him for the last 13 minutes, looks like keeping the position on the left of the defence and England could profit from the opportunity Keegan gave the 19-year-old Aston Villa defender in Paris last month.

Barry was one of the most impressive performers as England held the world and European champions to 1-1. In the unlikely event of Wilkinson switching to a back three tomorrow night he could still stay in the side since left centre-back is his normal position for Villa.

Paul Ince has also missed the trip, though not through injury. After Wilkinson told him he would not be actively involved here Ince was allowed to return home to be with his wife, who is about to have a baby.

With David Beckham and Steven Gerrard dropping out on Sunday, Wilkinson’s choice in midfield is looking even thinner than his alternatives at the back. Paul Scholes, who is carrying a foot injury, did not train yesterday but the England coach is hoping he will recover in time. Assuming Scholes is fit, Wilkinson could pair him in central midfield with Dennis Wise or Ray Parlour and use Kieron Dyer and Nick Barmby in the wide positions.

Wilkinson was Authentic Prada Messenger Bag For Sale impressed by the difference Dyer made on Saturday when he replaced the struggling Gary Neville after half-time as Keegan changed to a five-man midfield. Whether or not Wilkinson decides to play a 3-5-2 formation will depend on who he considers are the best players available to him. Not that any system will work if a team gives a passable imitation of zombies, as England did in the first Authentic Prada Americas Cup Sneakers half against Germany.

The caretaker coach’s recall of Teddy Sheringham suggests that Wilkinson is thinking of using the 34-year-old to support his Manchester United colleague, Andy Cole, in the hope that the pair can continue their successful, if silent, partnership.

That would mean leaving out Michael Owen, Black Prada Eyeglass Case whose omission from the starting line-up against France brought Keegan much grief from the media, especially when Owen scored England’s late equaliser after coming off the bench for the last 12 minutes.

Last night it was put to Wilkinson that the situation under Keegan had become shambolic.

“Maybe you’re right,” Wilkinson replied, briefly dropping his guard. All he can do now Authentic Prada Purses Sale is restore order out Authentic Prada Handbags Canada of chaos. Three points tomorrow would be a start.

England (probable 4-4-2) Seaman; G Neville, Keown, Southgate, Barry; Dyer, Wise or Parlour, Scholes, Barmby; Sheringham, Cole.

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