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This is actually something that crossed my mind as I read another thread about whether Rooney should be in the England squad for Euro 2004. That got me thinking about England's available strikers. In actual fact, this has been on my mind for quite sometime as a Celtic fan, and especially in the light of his performance against Rangers today, I have to say:

 

Chris Sutton should be playing for England.

 

Now I have no doubt that this won't happen any time soon. If Erikkson gave a crap, he would've had him in the squad before now. But I honestly think that Sutton is one of the best English strikers around right now, and that England could only be a better team with him in it.

 

Look at his performance today as an example. Every ball that was played up to him stuck. The only hold-up player England really has is Heskey, and Sutton is a much better player. He really looked superb against a quality defender like De Boer, and it isn't just in Scotland; check out his performances in Europe over the past three seasons, which is obviously something that Erikkson hasn't been doing. His goal today was just the icing on the cake of a truly superb performance.

 

I also have no doubts that predatory players like Owen and Scholes would thrive alongside him. Shame for England that it won't happen.

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The thing is, Sven rarely looks outside the premiership for members of his squad, which is a big downfall. Obviously Sutton is one example, and people may disagree but i think Matt Ethrington is another. he is a competent left-sided midfielder who has been IMO one of the best in division one all season. He has also just earned the Hammers News player of the year, and Hammer of the year. Both he and Micheal Carrick should at least be considered for the England squad. Also due to the fact that Sven doesnt look outside the premiership, decent players when relegated quickly jump ship to a premeirship club to improve their international prospects leaving the team they helped relegate in even more trouble.
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Sven picks Heskey cos you all need someone to laugh at.... We used to play footy on the field and my nephew got named Heskey cos he kept falling over.

 

As for Sutton he's only had like what? Two caps? How many caps did Shearer get before he started scoring all the time? He scored two against the USA in September 94 and didn't score again till Euro 96 so I say give Sutton a chance, it was only the move to Chelsea that damaged his rep at Celtic he's been excellent and so has Hartson, both their games have improved and look what Hartson does for Wales.

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Sven looks outside the Premiership: he picks David Beckham and Rob Green...

 

Anyway, as for Sutton, I know this is cliched but I'd much rather have a player who scores a couple of goals in the Premier League than a player who scores loads in the Scottish League. This may be a bit harsh, but answer this HONESTLY:

 

Sutton, Alan Smith and James Beattie are probably the most similar style of striker England have. Sutton plays for by far and away the best team in Scotland. Smith plays for the worst in England, Beattie for a mid-table club at best.

 

Now reverse this:

 

Do you really think Sutton, if put up front for Leeds or Southampton, would score as many goals as Smith or Beattie? And do you think that if put up front alongside Larsson, Petrov et al, that Beattie or Smith would fail to score more goals than Sutton?

 

I'm not convinced.

 

Sutton is good, he was devastating with Shearer when they had the SAS, but these days, I'd much rather play Beattie or Smith. It would be interesting to see Smith/Beattie play up front for Celtic as Larsson's replacement.

 

Bloody hell, Rod WALLACE scored a bucketload in the SPL.

 

Cheers!

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Sutton's a better player than Smith or Beattie. For one Sutton can play in defence, midfield, in behind the strikers or right up front. Sutton's also played well for Celtic in Europe so it's not just the SPL. Remember that Celtic are the last British side to get into a European final. So if Chris Sutton can get into Celtic's team he must be more than decent. Personally I'd take him to Euro 2004 as he's a versatile player who works hard.

 

Rodney did well for us for a season but I'd have scored goals in that Rangers team, it was a very, very good side back then who beat quite a few good European sides. After that Wallace struggled. I always think its disappointing the way people really slag off the SPL. Sure it's not as good as the Premiership but that's probably more to do with the fact that England is ten times the size of Scotland population wise. The SPL isn't as bad as people make out. And like I say, Sutton has performed well for Celtic against some of the top sides in Europe.

 

As for today, I was disappointed that we conceded that late goal. Celtic were the better side today but they were at home with almost a full strength side and we had a hell of a lot of players out, along with players starting today who won't be there next year. I thought we defended really well and from my point of view deserved a point based purely on our defensive performance. I'm a lot more optimistic for next season. Sorry for hijacking your England thread. :)

Edited by The Crippler
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The best players from Scotland will make it in the Premier League, without a doubt. Just look at Viduka, McFadden and Hartson. They have all done a good job.

 

I can't see many people moaning about the quality of Celtic or Rangers, put them in the English league and they'd do alright. Celtic would *probably* just about maybe get the 4th spot by the skin of their teeth. Rangers would prop up the mid-tablers.

 

It's the opposition these two teams have in the SPL that causes the criticism of Sutton. If you put Chris Sutton up front for Southampton do you think he would score 24 league goals? I don't think he would, and this is what Beattie did. Put Beattie up front in this great current Celtic side and he would knock in 30, at least.

 

Beattie probably rubs his hands together in anticipation when Wolves come visiting, in the SPL he'd have around 30 games with opposition of this standard every season.

 

There's the difference. No one is knocking Celtic or their achievements in Europe - just the strength of the SPL, and why perhaps players in that league shouldn't be considered for a regular starting England place.

 

Cheers!

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Putting Chris Sutton in the England team is a ridiculous thing to do. He was an ok player back in the days of Norwich. We dont need to put Chris Sutton in the Southamptom team to know he wont score 25 goals a season. We know and saw he couldnt do that when he played at Chelsea, who create more goalscoring chances than S'ton. If you put Sutton in the S'ton team, he would probably get about 5 goals a season. If you put Beattie in the Celtic team he would probably bang in about 50 goals. The opposition in Scotland is non existent. I mean, it just shows how tough Scotland is, when you get Sutton and Hartson scoring week in week out.. that does not mean they are England quality. It just means they can score alot of goals against teams, that, if were put in England would probably struggle to keep up in Division 3.

 

Sutton is not a better player than Smith or Beattie in the position we are talking abuot him playing for England. Which is striker. Or i assume that is the position Sven would pick him for? Because there is no way he could have a chance of making it in Defence or Midfield. Even upfront we have Owen, Heskey, Vassel, Defoe, Rooney and Smith, to name a few.. they have more talent in their little finger than that of Chris Sutton. Smith is not just a striker as he has shown he can get back and defend to. He has shown that at Leeds this season.

 

Another example of him looking outside the premiershi is with Owen Hargreaves. Ive only seen him play in England matches, and he doesnt look anything special. The premiership is one of the best leagues in the world. So ofcourse most of the players will be from that.

 

If anyone should be in the England team for their hold up play, perfection passing, and goalscoring ability it should be Teddy Sheringham!

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The thing is, you still have to score the actual goals, just like Goram's save from van Hooijdonk shouldn't be less of an achievement just because it happened in the SPL. I don't think it's fair to assume that just because a player scores a number of goals in the premiership that automatically means that they would score three times that number in the SPL. Henrik Larsson managed 53 goals in all competitions three years ago and has been a consistent goalscorer against any standard of opposition, but who else has magically rattled in 40 goals a season consistently? The answer is no-one (even though Marco Negri coming close seems bizarre now looking back on it!).

 

Although as a Celtic fan I always look to Henrik Larsson as our main goal threat, whenever we've had a tough Old Firm game or European match it's more often than not been Chris Sutton who we've been most pleased to see on the teamsheet when he's there or most disappointed not to see when he doesn't play. As has been mentioned, his hold up play is fantastic. He's strong, versatile and one of those players who always tries even when others around him seem to be taking it too easily. That gets teams going again and in that way as in so many others he has been an invaluable player for Celtic.

 

As for whether Smith or Beattie would be better, I'm not sure about Beattie. He has been very good and you can certainly argue either way between him and Sutton. They're both very good strikers. However, in the case of Alan Smith I think he is a phenomenally overrated ordinary striker. He was good when he first broke into the Leeds team, but I would rather have Sutton or Beattie, who can be aggressive without being overly dirty and perform well undser pressure, than Smith who is not in the same class and is more likely to be sent off than to score regularly these days. I'm not saying that Sutton would get 30 goals in the Leeds team, but I would still say that both Beattie and Sutton would be better options for England than Smith. I'll probably get pelters for saying that, but I just don't think the guy is that good. When Rangers were rumoured to be interested in him, I was really hoping they'd sign him, because in his current form I would take Balde or Varga to have him in their pocket all game. Overall England would probably be better off with Beattie right now, Sutton is more of a playmaking striker than being the main goalscorer of a team these days anyway (in his first season with Celtic I think he only scored something like 12 goals, yet he was excellent all season). Personally I'm not too unhappy if England don't want to pick Sutton, since John Kennedy, John Hartson and Stilian Petrov among others have been recent injury victims while on international duty, I've no wish to see Sutton be at risk of having the same thing happen to him.

 

As for the game today, I think 1-0 was the least we deserved considering that I though Stan Varga had a perfectly good goal disallowed and that apart from the latter stages of the first half we totally dominated. There was a lot more spirit about Rangers today though and I thought they did quite well. The refereeing in the first half, however, was farcical. I don't know why people seem to think that Hugh Dallas is a great referee but they must be watching completely different games from the ones I see where he is involved. I say where he is involved because in every game he officiates he makes ridiculous decisions to draw attention to himself, as though the whole game should be about him and what he is doing. Against any opposition I dread his involvement becasue I just know in advance that something bizarre will happen that he will instigate, while today in the first half his linesman in the Rangers half was abysmal. They showed slow motion replays on two occasions where Celtic players were getting their shirts tugged, and you could see on the replay that the linesman was looking right at it in full view, but there was no danger of him flagging. I don't know where they get these guys, who must be thinking about what's for tea instead of what's happening on the pitch, but something needs to be done to improve the standard of officiating in SPL games, especially in Old Firm games where the atmosphere can be volatile enough without awful decisions making things worse.

 

Anyway, I just wish we could have scored legitimately sooner to shut up Sandy Clark, who was the most biased co-commentator I've heard in all my yeasr of watching these matches. Even Billy McNeill wouldn't have been as biased as he was towards his beloved Rangers today. By the end of the game the whitewash record paled into insignificance compared to enjoying some silence from him when Sutton finally did the right thing.

 

Next season should be close though, and I don't think Rivaldo is the answer up front for us to replace Henrik Larsson. I can't see Celtic winning as convincingly next year.

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Sutton is a fair shout for the England team if just for his versatialy, however i have my doubts whether he should play alongside Owen. Lets not forget that he was at the top of his game at Blackburn playing for Englamd and never really cut it.

Give him a try, of course but we can't really give him to many chances.

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Heskey has been overrated since day one, Smith has done well in a side that was lets face it pants all season at both ends, Beattie hasn't done as well this season and could just be like his strike partner Kevin Phillips and like Andy Cole... Players who get it done in the league and in Europe but international don't cut it...

 

At least Cole and Phillips got given chances, Sutton has had two caps I think, thats all and Beattie also has been given chances recently on the back of last seasons great form, Sutton deserves at least another look before Portugal. But lets face it Sven is gonna pick Rooney and Owen anyway with Vassell and Heskey and anyone of Sutton, Beattie and Smith, my guess being Beattie.

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