Jason De Vos column

ONE of the hot topics on the training ground over the past few days is who should be on the plane to Germany.It seems 20 players are certs for the England World Cup squad but it is who else goes and of course we would all like to see Darren Bent included.

ONE of the hot topics on the training ground over the past few days is who should be on the plane to Germany.

It seems 20 players are certs for the England World Cup squad but it is who else goes and of course we would all like to see Darren Bent included.

I think he should be going because Sven-Goran Eriksson should take five strikers.

If it was down to me I would take three keepers, Paul Robinson, David James, and Chris Kirkland - I know some people say Rob Green but he is not for me. The other possibility is to take a very young keeper as the third choice, purely for the purposes of preparing him for the future.


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I would take seven defenders with Gary Neville, John Terry Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell if he was fit, along with Ledley King, Jamie Carragher or Wayne Bridge.

Bearing in mind how versatile King and Carragher are, I would have eight midfielders and that allows for five forwards.

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David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole are no-brainers and then Shaun Wright-Phillips, Michael Carrick and, again depending on who is fit, Stewart Downing, Kieron Dyer or Jermaine Jenas.

Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney with Peter Crouch are certain to go as strikers and while people are saying it is between Jermain Defoe and Benty, I would say take both.

Benty played 81 minutes last week and would not have played that long if he was not in with a serious consideration.

Other suggestions have been Bolton's Kevin Nolan and Kevin Davies as both offer something different. Nolan has been Bolton's best player and is an energetic midfielder who has got a case for inclusion, as has Joey Barton - but I can't see anyone getting a late call in now who has not already been in the frame.

THE gloss is quickly coming off Chelsea and their manager Jose Mourinho in particular. It is only right and proper that they should be charged by the FA for failure to control their players after their shabby behaviour against West Bromwich Albion.

It seems Chelsea have become the new Manchester United when it comes to harassing referees, although I was under the impression that besieging them the way that Chelsea's players did Mark Halsey is a straight red card.

While Mourinho is not out to win any popularity contests, they are not doing themselves any favours with their 'everyone hates us because they are jealous' which is very reminiscent of Sir Alex Ferguson.

It tends to rubs people up the wrong way and whereas when Jose first came here people were taken by his arrogance and demeanour that now seems to get under the skin.

Over the two legs Chelsea lost to a better team in Barcelona, who were simply superb. You would struggle to find a weakness in their team and I feel for any manager trying to find a way of beating them. They have a superb side and Ronaldhino is on a different planet to everyone else right now.

Perhaps Mourinho could have used his substitutes differently instead of putting Robert Huth on up front when he had already taken Didier Drogba off, but that is why he is paid the big bucks.

If it had worked he would have been hailed a genius, but there is often a fine line between genius and being labelled a madman.

You can be gracious in defeat or gracious in victory but Chelsea are neither. They are pompous when they win and spit the dummy when they lose.

The Premiership is theirs but if they really want to be recognised as the best they you have to win the Champions' League.

IT was good to see Rangers having a real go against Villarreal in the Champions' League even though they know manager Alex McLeish will be gone in the summer, with Paul Le Guen in line to take over at Ibrox.

The players have been very professional and that has been enough for them to go out and play their best for the manager, the fans and themselves.

I do find it a strange situation that Rangers have sacked McLeish and yet wanted him to stay until the end of the season - perhaps they wanted to use him as an excuse for a bad campaign.

Just as bizarre was the sacking of Mick McCarthy by Sunderland this week.

The timings defy logic and from what I gather by the players' reaction, McCarthy has never lost the dressing room.

Ironically enough the chairman Bob Murray admits Sunderland's flop is his fault - but unless you are privy to the inside workings, you never really know what has gone on. That said, it is well known that unless you invest after being promoted you will come straight down.

McCarthy took over when it was virtually a certainty that they would go down but then took them up again in great fashion last season.

Then if you look at the players they brought in, compared to the other promoted sides, Wigan and West Ham, who spent the money, it was as if the Black Cats were planning to go back down and come back strongly because they did not have the financial clout to spend.

It was a Catch-22 situation and it is easy to say spend £40m or whatever on players and then watch it go wrong and put the club in a precarious position.

The gap between the top and bottom is immense and as we know in football the rich clubs get richer while the poor stay where they are, and until the distribution of wealth is distributed differently that will carry on.

Jason.devos@archant.co.uk

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