Coyle: Davies merits England chance
Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle is adamant Kevin Davies has deserved his surprise England call.
At 33, Davies will join up with the Three Lions for the first time on Thursday evening ahead of the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley. It is barely a week since the former Blackburn Rovers and Southampton star conceded he had given up on the possibility of ever representing his country.
However, with Gabriel Agbonlahor, Bobby Zamora and Jermain Defoe all out through injury, Emile Heskey declining an offer to come out of retirement and Newcastle's Andy Carroll having suffered a dip in form, Fabio Capello has decided to hand Davies the opportunity of representing his country for the first time.
Given Capello is supposed to be looking to the future, and dismissed the international claims of David Beckham on age grounds, the move was unexpected. But Coyle feels the accolade is fully warranted.
"He has got his rewards for the high level of performances that he has produced, week in, week out," said Coyle. "He works exceptionally hard on a day-to-day basis and I am sure he will give Mr Capello absolutely 100 per cent."
Davies has conceded he expects to be suffering from a few nerves. But he has vowed to shrug them to one side in an effort to make the most of his chance. "I just have to go along and enjoy the experience of being involved with the international team and if I get the chance to play I will do my best to impress," he told the club website.
"It is a really proud moment for me and my family. I am sure there will be a few nerves over the next couple of days and it hasn't really sunk in yet, but I am looking forward to this opportunity and I'm going to give it my best shot."
West Ham United keeper Robert Green has been recalled, although it would seem he has slipped to number three in the pecking order. Like Green, Joe Cole seemed to be among those paying the price for England's FIFA World Cup failure, although his exile has proved to be brief, lasting only three games, which in part was probably due to the suspension he had to serve following his dismissal on his Premier League debut for Liverpool.
Arsenal teenager Jack Wilshere will link up with the senior squad after the first-leg of England's European U-21 play-off against Romania at Carrow Road on Friday. However, for Capello, big decisions still have to be made.
In the absence of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry, Phil Jagielka was turned in two towering performances against Bulgaria and Switzerland last month as England began their EURO 2012 campaign in style. For Ferdinand, there is also the captaincy to worry about.
Having lost out on the honour for Manchester United due to his questionable fitness, he will now discover whether Capello believes a paltry two appearances in 10 games since Terry's sacking means the role should go to Steven Gerrard.