The U.S. has named the 30 members of its preliminary squad for next month’s World Cup. Coach Bob Bradley will trim the squad to 23 at the end of this month.
The current squad contains two Evertonians — Tim Howard and Landon Donovan who played for us on loan this winter. Barring injuries, both will be starters for the U.S. team when it faces England in its opening match of June 12.
In fact, it’s possible that our starting 11 against England will contain six members who played in England this season: Howard, Donovan, Jonathan Specter (West Ham), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Stuart Holden (Bolton), and Clint Dempsey (Fulham). It probably will also include Carlos Bocanegra, who plays in France now but used to start for Fulham.
Meanwhile, England’s 30-man preliminary squad contains only one Everton player, Leighton Baines. He will compete with Stephen Warnock (ex-Liverpool) to be the back-up at left back. Barring an injury to Ashley Cole, Baines will not start against the U.S. even if he makes the final squad.
Credit to Bainsey, though. I agree with Dale Johnson of Soccernet who writes:
With three left-backs in the 30 there’s a straight fight between Leighton Baines and Stephen Warnock, and the Everton defender must take that place not only due to his superior ability on set-pieces but simply because he is the better player of the two. It’s a great comeback for a player derided when he first moved to Goodison Park and was unable to get into the Toffees’ side.