World Cup Cuts . . .

It is now official that Scott Parker and Benny McCarthy did not make the final cuts of their respective national squads.  Disappointing yes, but for two very different reasons.  Fabio Capello must have felt that Gareth Barry would make a reasonable enough recovery to not warrant having Parker in the squad.  The battle for the final center midfield position came down to an out-of-form Michael Carrick and Parker.  When Carrick is on his game he is a better player Parker, but the last season was nowhere near his usual high standards.  It is possible that his previous international experience was one of the major factors for his inclusion in the English side.  Parker came out of nowhere this year to force his way back into the national team picture, and his efforts in keeping West Ham from relegation deserved all the plaudits he received.  While it is disappointing that he did not make the squad, solace can be taken in the fact that he can be well rested for the upcoming season.  Dean Ashton’s career ending injury while on international duty and images released of Matthew Upson’s recent training injury serve as reminders of how West Ham can lose influential players so easily.  It would be truly disastrous to lose a player of Parker’s ilk, so the silver lining behind the whole situation is that at least one injury risk is minimized.

Benni McCarthy’s exclusion, on the other hand, disappoints in quite a different fashion.  McCarthy was signed during the winter transfer window with hopes that he would bolster the West Ham attack force.  Instead, West Ham received five total appearances (with three of those coming as a substitute) and a knee injury that kept him out for 6 weeks.  There were rumors of his poor conditioning before his signing, and the truth was immediately discovered after he joined.  It was thought that a fresh start and more playing time would help him recover the form that made him a Champions League winner with FC Porto and the record goal scorer in South African national team history.  His conditioning never improved, and as a result, South African coach Carlos Parreira cut McCarthy from his final World Cup roster.  Never one to mince words, West Ham co-owner David Sullivan spoke out about his striker’s rotund proportions.  In an interview with The Daily Mail’s Matt Barlow, Sullivan said

“Benni McCarthy’s body-fat measurement is 24.2 per cent. Mine is 25.4 per cent. Benni McCarthy is nearly as fat as me. I try to do aerobics in the morning but I’m 61 years old.”

Not a favorable comparison for a professional athlete.  West Ham fans need to hope that getting cut doesn’t make McCarthy fall completely off the wagon, and instead will motivate him to get in shape for the upcoming season.

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~ by ar_sage on June 3, 2010.

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