Fabio Capello has announced his provisional 30-man World Cup squad and despite the BBC calling it a 'surprise' the selection seems relatively safe. There are, inevitably, some notable omissions and unexpected inclusions but with all the stories that the rumour mills had been churning out over the last few days Capello's decision has strayed away from any great controversy.
If you have not seen the selection then here is the 30-man provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.
Defenders: Leighton Baines, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock.
Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Forwards: Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney.
On balance I think it is a good choice of players. The choice of goalkeepers has provided no shocks but in defence there are a few surprises. The most obvious of these is the inclusion of Jamie Carragher as the Liverpool defender came out of International retirement. Was this really necessary? Carragher has not been in such form that would warrant him to be called out of the International wilderness. It also means that in his choice of 10 defenders there are three left-backs, seven centre-backs and only one recognised right-back in Glen Johnson which I find concerning.
The midfield is less surprising. There had been whispers that the Manchester United pairing Scholes and Hargreaves would make the squad but they were not included. Barry, despite injury concerns, gets a place and there are well deserved call-ups for Scott Parker, Adam Johnson and Tom Huddlestone. Villa wingers Downing and Ashley Young miss out on a place while Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole both take a spot.
The main surprise with the strikers is that only five have been chosen. The five were predictable but there was no room for Zamora or Carlton Cole despite them having impressive seasons for their respective clubs.
There will now be a seven day wait until we will discover Capello's final 23-man squad as seven players will be cut. I thought that I would offer the squad that I would like to go from these 30 players, although this is not necessarily who I think Capello will pick.
Goalkeepers: Hart, James, Green.
Defenders: Baines, Cole, Dawson, Ferdinand, G. Johnson, King, Terry.
Midfielders: Barry, Carrick, Gerrard, A. Johnson, Lampard, Lennon, Milner, Parker, Walcott.
Forwards: Bent, Crouch, Defoe, Rooney.
This means that the seven cuts would be: Carragher, Upson, Warnock, Wright-Phillips, Huddlestone, J. Cole and Heskey. I have favoured an extra midfielder over an eighth defender as without a second right-back there would be no need to take five centre-backs. Johnson or Joe Cole was a tough decision but I went for the Manchester City winger as I think he can make more of an impact coming off the bench. No doubt people's thoughts on Capello's 30-man squad and my 23-man squad will differ greatly so feel free to say who you would like to have seen in the selection and which seven players you would cut.
Thoughts, comments and opinions please...