The Michael Wood Column

Sunday 16 June, 2002

England's World Cup winners and losers

The World Cup made Gary Lineker and Roger Milla, The World Cup broke Butch Wilkins and Marco Etchevery. Who has come up and how has gone down for England in Japan?


His name is Rio. Outstanding display from the soon to be Manchester United defender that made many eat their words, well, me really. Emerged as a truly world class defender.

The groans when Nicky Butt started to feature for Sven we audible but he put in a better display than Juan Veron which should made Sir Fergs job interesting. Shame he will be out when Steven Gerrard is fit.

Lest we forget the man they call Goldenballs, David Beckham who came over the problems of the foot and the heat to put in some excellent performances both on and off the field. At last England are harnessing talent that previously would have been wayward.


It would have taken a lot to take the glossy of a double winning season but big Dave Seaman managed it. Its a horrific end to a high level career but when Ronaldinho's free kick sailed over his head David Seaman's Gordon Banks save against Argentina wa forgotten. History has a new Peter Bonnetti.

England have five world class players we said but one has to ask serious questions about Paul Scholes who did very little in five world cup games. Scholes had a poor season for Manchester United and followed it up with a poor summer leaving his previously unassailable position in the middle of the park for his country open to the attack of one of the young guns. Joe Cole has been mentioned but Owen Hargreaves, Michael Carrick and Nicky Butt may be more likely if Sven sticks with his two defensive midfielders plan he started against Argentina. Do not rule out a rehabilitated and Liverpool bound Lee Bowyer either.

No one seems to love Emile Heskey after this World Cup, which is a shame cause he is a good player but strikers are always judged on goals and the fact he does not get any hurts his cause, regardless of how much the players and management like him he will always be subject to questions and the next big fella who can nab 15 goals a season will fancy their chances of overhauling him.

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