League Insider - Bothroyd
Rob Parrish reckons England could do worse than give Jay Bothroyd a chance against France.
Last Updated: 17/11/10 10:49am
The response in the Sky Sports office to suggestions that Cardiff striker Jay Bothroyd was in the running for an England call-up was entirely predictable and likely to have been mirrored up and down the country.
Raised eyebrows, grumblings at the possibility of Bothroyd being selected as indicative of the paucity of talent available, and even one or two glances at mobile phones to see if there was a missed call from Fabio Capello, should the Italian have been on an impromptu scouting mission at the recent five-a-side drubbing of Sky Bet.
Such a reaction can only be described as narrow-minded, short-sighted and entirely wrong and appears to be driven by the strange snobbery which inflicts football fans when the option of looking outside the Premier League for talent is mooted.
Bothroyd has every right to be in contention for international recognition in the forthcoming friendly against France at Wembley on 17th November and Capello should be applauded for taking a wider view at the options open to him.
The 28-year-old has been a driving force in Cardiff's promotion push this season and leads the Championship scoring charts with 10 goals from 12 outings, with his absence through suspension from Sunday's South Wales derby defeat by Swansea keenly felt by Dave Jones' side.
Wales international Craig Bellamy may have taken the spotlight with the Bluebirds since his loan arrival from Manchester City, but Cardiff have coped well during his stints on the sidelines, while two of their three defeats this term have come when Bothroyd was not involved.
The well-travelled striker, who started out as a trainee with Arsenal and lists Coventry, Charlton, Wolves and Perugia among his former clubs, is in superb form and is plying his trade for a club with serious designs on the top-flight having only missed out in the play-off final to Blackpool last summer.
It is also worth noting that Bothroyd limped out of the Wembley clash only 15 minutes in having succumbed to a calf problem which made him a serious doubt for the fixture, with both manager Jones and skipper Mark Hudson admitting his absence proved to be costly.
And with Wayne Rooney currently injured and in the type of form which would make him a questionable choice for a local park game, never mind his country, plus several other regulars not in contention, Capello is required to look elsewhere.
Jermain Defoe, Darren Bent, Bobby Zamora and Gabriel Agbonlahor are also on the treatment table, Michael Owen is similarly afflicted and appears to be of no interest to Capello, Emile Heskey has retired, while Kevin Davies - although deserving of his own surprise call - will be a less-than-sprightly 35 when Euro 2012 rolls around.
Yes, Bothroyd is scoring goals against Championship defences, but by finding the net on a regular basis his confidence levels will be soaring, a crucial element for any forward - just ask Fernando Torres.
So Capello should be brave and plump for Bothroyd to face France a week on Wednesday, as there is nothing to lose and much to gain from experimenting with an unknown quantity who could bring something new to the table at the very highest level.