Taylor, Etherington and scratched heads
The most amazing thing about trying to solve a problem position in a national team is when suitable players exist but are ignored anyway. Such is England, with its perennial problem position of the left wing.
Not since the Bobby Robson years ended has this problem been solved by successive managers, a trend that continues today under Fabio Capello.
And today’s candidates are Matthew Taylor of Bolton Wanderers and Matthew Etherington of Stoke City. Both have the necessary qualities- they’re wingers, and they’re actually left-footed! Voila!
We all saw what Taylor is capable of at Portsmouth, especially in the 05/06 and 06/07 seasons when he scored goals that stunned the entire football world.
His left foot, spectacular goals and his enterprising wing play means he can do no wrong. Last season at Bolton, Taylor even hit double figures for the season, without which Bolton might not have survived.
Etherington has had a career where he’s flattered to deceive at both Tottenham and West Ham, but a move to Stoke during last season earned him a new lease of life where he contributed to Stoke’s Premiership survival although he has yet to score for his current club.
He and Liam Lawrence (himself an excellent player) on the other wing are very much the main creative outlets for Tony Pulis’ side.
Both players have much to offer, and would want to have excellent seasons in a bid to win places on the England team for the next World Cup.
Better still, take both of them along to South Africa.