Shaw over Cole for England shows flawed World Cup logic
Ashley Cole’s international retirement, after being told he would only make England’s stand-by list for the World Cup, pretty much guarantees that Luke Shaw will be a part of Roy Hodgson’s 23-man party.
Shaw’s inclusion in the Premier League Team of the Season indicates the calibre of the campaign he has enjoyed, but there is a feeling that the quality of his performances have been exaggerated on a personal level.
For a left-back that loves to get forward, no goals and a single assist in 35 Premier League appearances is a wretched return.
In contrast, down Southampton’s right, Nathaniel Clyne quadruples Shaw’s assist contribution, despite making 10 fewer appearances and 15 fewer starts.
Yet, Clyne has hardly even been in consideration for an England squad spot.
For what it’s worth, Clyne also trumps Shaw in terms of the average number of tackles he makes per game and has a higher pass success rate.
Cole’s lack of game time at Chelsea is no secret, but even he has registered more assists than Shaw, alongside making more tackles and having a substantially greater pass success rate.
One of the big positives for taking Shaw is that he will gain valuable experience of being around a big tournament, which will stand him in good stead for similar tournaments in the future.
However, this mentality is slightly flawed. There is ample opportunity through what are widely considered to be meaningless friendlies to blood youngsters onto the international stage.
Given the World Cup only comes around every four years, nations should take a squad with the best chance of victory, not effectively concede defeat by focusing on the future.
Greece at Euro 2004 are a fine example of a team with limited expectation providing a surprise, while Uruguay wouldn’t have entered the 2010 World Cup with massive expectations, but reached the semi finals.
If something should happen to Leighton Baines and England face Argentina in the World Cup final, which can be backed at 66/1, I know who I would rather rely upon trying to shackle Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and co and he is not a Southampton teenager.
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