Gardner gets England call-up

Discussion in 'England' started by MightyBees, Nov 11, 2003.

  1. MightyBees

    MightyBees New Member

    Aug 16, 2003
    London, England
    England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has called up Tottenham defender Anthony Gardner into the squad to face Denmark.

    The 23-year-old, who has represented his country at Under-21 level, receives his first summons to the senior squad after Middlesbrough's Gareth Southgate pulled out with a thigh injury.

    "Anthony is a player I have watched several times and I know he played very well against Arsenal on Saturday," said Eriksson.

    "This is a good opportunity for the player and a good opportunity for me to have a look at him too."

    Gardner recieved the news shortly after leaving training on Tuesday.

    He said: "I thought it was a wind-up at first. My next emotion was just surprise, just extreme surprise."

    He added: "Now that I am getting over the shock I am excited and very proud."

    Eriksson is sweating on the fitness of skipper David Beckham, who will be assessed on a back injury when he joins up with the squad in Manchester on Thursday.

    The England medical staff will also speak to their counterparts at Everton on Wednesday to see how well Wayne Rooney is recovering from a flu bug.

    "We are aware that Beckham has a back problem. He will report for us on Thursday and will be assessed by our medical staff then.

    "With Wayne Rooney the medical staff will speak to Everton's medical staff on Wednesday to see how Wayne is progressing," added Eriksson.

    The teenage striker appears unlikely to be fit in time for the game on Sunday and could pull out of the squad to allow Eriksson to call another player in.

    Everton physio Mick Rathbone revealed Rooney has contracted a virus that has affected several of the Goodison Park players.

    "Myself and the Everton club doctor visited Wayne on Tuesday and he is feeling very unwell," said Rathbone.

    "He is suffering from the exact symptoms as the other players who have been affected as we are presuming it is the same viral condition.

    "It is a particularly nasty bug that affects you for a period of five or six days.

    "We will continue to monitor his progress every day and we are liasing closely with the medical staff at the FA over his condition," he told Everton's official website.

    Even if Rooney recovers quickly, he seems certain not to be fit enough to join up with the squad, and that will leave Eriksson with a striking crisis to solve.

    Eriksson only named three strikers in his 23-man squad to face Denmark, with Michael Owen injured and James Beattie and Alan Smith surprisingly overlooked.

    Without Rooney, Eriksson would be left with Emile Heskey and Darius Vassell as his only recognised strikers in the squad.

    And that could force him into an embarrassing U-turn regarding Beattie or Smith.
  2. sendorange

    sendorange Member+

    Jun 7, 2003
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    I must admit to being very surprised that Tony got the callup, and I'm a Tottenham fan!

    In terms of natural physical ability he's a great talent. Ridiculously tall, very fast (probably the only defender in the Premiership that can genuinely keep up with Thierry Henry over a straight sprint) and has decent skill on the ball when dribbling or passing. Saying that though he's had a bad run of injuries over the past few years. He still needs a lot more experience and to improve the mental side of his game - his aggression, concentration and positioning in particular, and he also can have a tricky time against small players with good acceleration.

    He's been the best of our central defenders this season, if that counts for anything, and I would say if he can stay injury-free he can be a better prospect than Upson for England. But I still think Ledley King or Dean Richards from our lot, let alone from other Premiership teams might have been a better choice at this current time though, but then Sven likes to be unpredictable and experiment. Hopefully this callup will give Tony a lift and he may be a defensive Darius Vassel for England, if you know what I mean.

    PS Come on Sven, rectify your mistake and call up Beattie!

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