The Cottee Column: England lacking strength


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Hammers legend TC writes for you each week

Watching England on Friday night against Chile it became glaringly obvious that although our first eleven is probably a match for any one in the world, we definitely lack some strength in depth.

Chile are a very good team and I will sincerely be hoping that we don’t get placed in the same group as them when the draw is made on December 6.

Looking at the squad, you have to say that there are 17 or 18 players who are all but booked on the plane for Brazil.

Then there are a second group of players who are looking to take their chance and had a go on Friday and then there is a third tier of players and that includes a few West Ham players.

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I would say that those Hammers are Stewart Downing, Matt Jarvis, Joe Cole and even Ravel Morrison must have a chance, but I guess that Andy Carroll is the only realistic chance of making that plane.

He showed what he could do and how dangerous he could be in the Euros a couple of years ago and I think if he can get himself fit and play some games, then Roy Hodgson will be keen to take him.

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The others, including Mark Noble and James Tomkins, who are very much on the periphery, have it all to do still.

Jose and his boys can be beaten

Chelsea come to Upton Park on Saturday night and though they are my tip for the title this season, you have to say they they are beatable.

All of us can remember with a big smile on our faces the magnificent victory we had over them last season, coming from behind to do it at the same time.

We have also seen how inconsistent Chelsea have been this season. I saw their performance at Newcastle and they just didn’t turn up and they weren’t much better against West Brom.

They have experienced players like John Terry and Frank Lampard in their ranks of course and if they get themselves in front it is going to be very difficult to come back and get the better of them as we did last year.

But much will depend on what Chelsea team turns up and hopefully it will be the one that didn’t turn up at St James’ Park!

For our part, we have to be positive as we are scrapping for every point we can muster at the moment.

I think we need to take the game to Chelsea and in my eyes that means playing a focal point up front - namely Carlton Cole.

He has had another week or so and a couple of games to improve his fitness, so I would start with the big man and play him for an hour or so until he’s blowing out of his backside, which he will because of his lack of games.

I suspect Sam will be cautious and go for that no-striker formation again. Maybe it will work, so I will go for a 1-1 draw.

Come on you Hammers!

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