June 2010 saw a disappointed Scott Parker return home after being left out of Fabio Capello’s final World Cup squad. Much like Rob Green, Parker was overlooked for too long before receiving further international recognition and, after finally breaking into the provisional squad, was treated pretty appallingly.
Capello finally seemed to be fulfilling his promise to select in-form players. Well, sort of. Parker’s inclusion was more deserved than a certain Matthew ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ Upson’s, but that’s a joke for another day. In fact, I’m going to put the Upson thing to bed now, because the memory of him sprinting off the field against Man City annoys me too much. The most baffling thing is that Upson was included in the final squad for the tournament, and Scott wasn’t.
Despite reports of him being the stand-out member of the squad in training, Parker didn’t even get onto the pitch in the warm-up fixtures. Instead, we saw the same old under achievers travel to South Africa and put on a show extremely lacking in levels of passion, pride and performance.
(On another note, I was at the pub last night discussing Rob Green with my Man Utd supporting mate and he still holds a ferocious view on Rob Green being the reason England were so poor at the World Cup. Can you believe it? It boggles the mind.)
Fast forward till February 2011 and Parker makes his England appearance, coming on as a substitute in the second half of a match against Denmark. In this – and subsequent – appearances he showed exactly what he was made of, and his performances certainly lived up to my expectations. Suddenly football fans outside of London were talking about Scott Parker’s performances!
The praise is justified, of course, and I am thrilled that he has been voted as the Vauxhall England Player of the Year.
No matter what your opinion of Fabio Capello’s reign as England manager, he made a mistake not taking Parker to the World Cup.
For Parker, who isn’t getting any younger, it’s been a great couple of years; whoever takes charge of the England team for the Euros this summer, be it Stuart Pearce or Harry Redknapp, there is a good chance that Parker won’t only be included in the squad – he could be captaining it! And to see such an honest, hard-working, down-to-earth and passionate player lead England is just what the national team needs.