Posted by Barrie on Sunday, 17 January 2010

Should Ashley Young Go to the World Cup?

With Fabio Capello selecting his teams based on forms, I admit it's too soon to be debating whether specific players should or shouldn't be going. In the 5 months between now and then, we can expect a few injuries and even a player or two come out of the blue into some hot form.

But after watching the stalemate between Aston Villa and West Ham just now, Ashley Young doesn't look like the player he was 12 months ago when he was linked to Real Madrid.

Back then, manager Martin O'Neill was claiming Ashley Young was a “world class” player, a statement that I never agreed with, even when he was banging in goals for many fantasy team in the first 4 months of the 2008/09 season. Since then, over the last 12 months he's not been scoring and setting up goals as frequently as he was, and hasn't come into consideration for my fantasy team since.

In today's game, the third consecutive Premier League game in which Aston Villa haven't scored (and the fourth in a row that has been 0-0 at half time), Ashley Young was ineffectual. His work on the wing reminded me of Joe Cole in the last world cup... predictable. He didn't want to take on players and get the cross in from the byline, but to cut inside to cross it. West Ham's defence read and dealt with this effectively. Today was Young's 9th straight league game without a goal, although he does have 3 assists during that time.

Ashley Young has half a season to get back into form and should he, I will be supporting him for the world cup squad selection. But right now, he's far from the form he needs to be at to be selected. He's not a match winner now and England have a number of players who can deliver the good quality set pieces that Young offers.

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