Thursday, July 21, 2011

City's Stockpiling Destoys The English National Team an era where monetary incentive all too often comes up trumps over the traditional values of the beautiful game, perhaps it is no surprise at all that England's finest are willing to flock towards the City of Manchester Stadium- and then are unwilling to flock out.

City's activity over the past few years has crippled the transfer market. Unable to compete with the Citizens' wages, no clubs have been willing to take on the team's forgotten players, leaving a whole host of talents out in the cold. Men like Adam Johnson, Shaun Wright Phillips and James Milner are stuck with no prospect of consistent playing time, nor one of a move that would be as financially satisfying as their current deal at City.

Unable to gain consistent first team action, the trio of players have stagnated over the past few months, to the detriment of not only their own careers, but the English national team as well.

Milner was a consistently strong performer for England leading up to his move from Villa, a player who could be relied upon to put in a steady shift- if admittedly, little else. Wright Phillips, the weakest of the three, was always guaranteed to make at least the bench for England, and at the start of the season, Adam Johnson looked to be a man ready to fire England to Euro 2012.

Falls in grace have followed their patchy seasons though, with Johnson and Wright Phillips almost totally usurped by Young and Downing, while Milner has fallen behind Theo Walcott in the race to earn Fabio Capello's starting nod.

However, this summer there could be some light at the end of the tunnel, as a transfer carousel prompted by high profile signings in Liverpool and Manchester has begun to pick up a little velocity. Charles N'Zogbia's impending exit will open a wing spot at Wigan, while Aston Villa may still be in search of wide men, even if former Newcastle player N'Zogbia is signed.

If any of the three remain (and it looks very much like at least two of them will), a season of struggle will doubtless be in store; with City hot in pursuit of Samir Nasri, another wing spot will be taken up. In a new look City midfield, there will be no place for players like Johnson and Milner. Silva, Barry, De Jong and Nasri are set to be the midfield four next season; if Mancini even chooses to go with four in midfield that is. If is far more likely that the Italian will arrange a formation perhaps even more destructive to the hopes of his English players- a front three featuring Aguero, Nasri and Toure, with Silva in behind would leave no room for out and out wingers like Johnson and Wright Phillips

What is even more alarming about the situation at City is that midfield is not where England's finest are being wasted the most often; it is at the back where the real tragedy lies. Once touted as a future England captain, Micah Richard's fall in grace over the last few years has varied directly with the waves of new players flowing through City- unable to find consistent minutes, he has fallen out of national team contention.

Jolean Lescott too, is another victim of the City curse, he signed from Everton for big money several years ago, only to see Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure take over as the preferred center back pairing. Only a couple of weeks ago, young Slovenian defender Stefan Savic was signed from Partizan Belgrade; a move which shows how little patience Roberto Mancini has for Nedhum Onuoha. Loaned out to Sunderland last season, Onuoha excelled under Steve Bruce, yet is still unable to break into the City side.

With Kolo Toure set to return next season, the sole man left to wave the English flag at the back could end up being Joe Hart- a Savic, Toure, Kompany, Zabaleta back line is certainly not out of the question.

In fact, if things continue to go in the direction they have been heading, City could find themselves with Hart as the only Englishman in their starting line-up, though even that might not last long; Hart's form over the last few months of 10/11 was alarmingly inconsistent.

The constant rotation of ranks at City has left more than a few lost at sea, let's hope for England's sake that Richards, Lescott, Johnson, Onuoha, Milner and Wright Phillips all know how to swim.

What is the best option for City's forgotten men?

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