Friday, March 26, 2010
England's Midfield Problems Solved: Everton's Uncapped Spanish Ace Mikael Arteta
With the World Cup just around the corner, England's injury problems are beginning to mount. Ashley Cole and Aaron Lennon are very doubtful while David Beckham is definitely out. However, the solution is simple. Everton's Spanish play-maker: Mikael Arteta.
A product of Barcelona's youth academy, Arteta has 12 Spanish U-21 caps to his name, but has never made the jump to the senior side. Perhaps this has to do with his unorthodox rise to the upper echelons of the game, as Arteta has always been out of sight and out of mind regarding the national side of Spain.
A successful two year stint in the wilderness of the Scottish Premier League with Rangers was followed up with a brief unhappy return to home soil with Real Zaragoza. Seeing his potential, David Moyes then moved to bring the Spaniard to Goodison Park in 2005 as a replacement for Thomas Gravesen.
In the Everton engine room, Arteta proved an instant hit and helped guide the Toffees into the Champions League positions.
Since then, Arteta has become an integral past of David Moyes' plans. Ever present in the first team, he has played 139 games for the club since 2005. Despite his being one of the Premierships best kept secrets, the creative midfielder has never managed to break into his country's national team.
The closest he has ever come to donning the famous red of Espana was in 2008 when he was called into the first team squad for the first time. However, disaster was to strike in a league game against Newcastle when he ruptured the ligaments in his right knee, forcing him to withdraw from the squad.
The irony of that injury is that it has left the door open for Fabio Capello to call him up for England through a loop hole that allows foreign nationals to declare citizenship after living in one country for five years.
Since January 1, Mikael Arteta has been living in England for five years.
As the World Cup in South Africa nears, England's problems in midfield are mounting. Aaron Lennon is an extreme doubt to make the finals having not played for Tottenham Hotspur since January. David Beckham is definitely out having torn his Achilles tendon last month, and Owen Hargreaves has only recently returned to training at Manchester United.
The solution to all of these problems, and to the dreaded left sided dilemma, is Mikael Arteta.
At this late stage, he is not going to break into the Spanish squad, such is the strength in depth at Vincente Del Bosque's disposal.
Xavi Hernandez, Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, Marcos Senna, and Serqi Busquets all command positions in the squad, and truth be told, Arteta is not going to get past any of these guys to fulfill his dream.
That is where Fabio Capello could exploit the situation. Arteta is an excellent player, incredibly comfortable on the ball, has the eye for a perfect pass, a great work ethic, and above all, he is arguably better than any other midfielder Capello already has.
He can play right, left, deep, in a support role, or as an orthodox central midfielder. He is also an expert from set pieces, something England now lack that Beckham is out. In short, the options he could provide would be incredible.
Now all Fabio has to do is to convince the Spaniard that his future lies with the Three Lions.
If he was to help England to a World Cup victory, few would argue that he was not born there.
At this stage of the game, sentimentality has to be pushed out the window and cold hard science has to take over. Mikael Arteta is one of the best players in the EPL. He would compliment any side, and Fabio Capello owes nothing in loyalty to any of the players who have brought their country to the fringes of World Cup victory.
His loyalty is to England's fans, and it his job to bring the cup back. To do that he has to look at every option and players he has available to him. And he would be breaking no rules if he was to bring the Spaniard into his 23 man squad.
For when push comes to shove and the slim difference between winning and losing is analysed, few would care if Arteta scored the winning goal in the final, unless it was against Spain of course...