Opportunity knocks for Danny Graham on the eve of World Cup Qualifiers


In sport, and as in life, opportunity tends to come at the expense of someone else. Whether it be a promotion to that dream job after someone was sacked or a deputy shining in the absence of another.

With Wayne Rooney’s injury against Fulham on Saturday occurring on the eve of England’s opening World Cup qualifier games, opportunity is knocking for someone to prove their worth to England’s cause.

Rooney will play a big part in England’s qualifying campaign over the next 18 months but for these first two games, Roy Hodgson has a chance to broaden his attacking options.

With the first game against Moldova less than two weeks away, eyes will soon be turning towards Hodgson and we will all be keen to see what kind of squad he decides to choose.

It was widely believed that Hodgson would recall all four strikers from the Euro 2012 campaign however with the absence of Rooney, a glaring gap is present in England’s front line.

There are a number of players which you could make a case for: Daniel Sturridge of Chelsea, Swansea’s Danny Graham in particular. Sturridge looks to be the most likely inclusion given he has played for England twice already however I think it’s time Danny Graham was given the chance.

He may draw a lot of criticism to himself if Hodgson was to call up an uncapped player for two qualifiers but is there going to be another chance for Graham to impress him until Brazil 2014? It’s very unlikely.

So why not give him the chance? Even if only for one half for one of the games, you need to try these players, see if they can add a different option. Unfortunately for Hodgson, there isn’t another player with Rooney’s talent to fill the void and Sturridge has hardly set the World alight with an England shirt on.

While there is no doubting Sturridge’s ability, Graham is untested at international level and given how good a season he had with Swansea last year, I’m quite surprised he has yet to be given the nod.

At 27 years old, Graham doesn’t seem like the fledgling youngster Hodgson has been keen to utilise in his England squad selections so far but a player who scored 12 league goals in 36 games for his newly-promoted team is a great return in the Premier League.

Others have done less and earned a cap or two so why not try Graham out? If he fails to impress, so what? Better to try and fail rather than not try at all, after all.

Given the pressure Hodgson is and always will be under as England Manager, he will probably play safe and appease the media and fans by picking a tried and tested squad, which is fine. In fact, it’s probably the most sensible option. But if there was ever a chance for Hodgson to try someone out of the ordinary, it is now.

It would be just rewards for a player who has been a bit of a revelation at Swansea and while he may not be the long term answer to England’s attack, he is certainly a risk worth taking in the short term.


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