England coach Tord Grip has revealed that all is far from lost for those players
England coach Tord Grip has revealed that all is far from lost for those players who did not made it into Sven's last squad, notably Celtic's Alan Thompson...
With Sven now beginning his preparation for EURO 2004 earnest, players all over the country are vying for a spot in the final party of 23 but Eriksson's right-hand man has revealed that the door remains wide open.
"You can take a player like Alan Thompson - he would have probably been in the squad to face Denmark if he hadn't have been injured," Grip revealed.
"He's done well for Celtic and I have seen him play in the Champions League. We are always looking out for the balance that left-sided midfielders can give us.
"He may not be in the last squad but we have another game in February."
And Thompson is not the only one who remains under Sven's microscope. Grip has underlined the coaches' commitment to recognise England's in-form players.
"We have not forgotten anyone," he confirmed.
"Certainly players like Jermain Defoe, Shola Ameobi and Alan Smith are players we continue to keep an eye on."
Tord was also full of praise for one of the players that has earned a call-up: Glen Johnson.
"Glen Johnson is a good prospect who is probably more offensive that defensive at the moment," says Grip.
"Although he played in the England youth teams as a centre back, I think he stay as a right-back because that is where he can use his attacking strengths best."
Perhaps the only potential weakness that has been identified in Johnson so far has been that off discipline following sending offs for both Chelsea and the England Under-21s this season. But Tord is also sure that playing consistently in games with so much at stake will quickly iron out any issues Johnson may have with his temperament.
"Claudio Ranieri has played him in Champions League games which is perfect preparation for international football," he says. "He'll need to learn that in games like these there can be provocation and you must accept it. It's good for him to learn these lessons and Ranieri will tell him what to do. "
Despite being a defender himself, Johnson has regularly terrorised opposition back fours, speeding down the wing from his full-back position, before providing a variety of shots and crosses with either foot. Grip has understandably been impressed by the teenager's ambition and versatility.
"His left foot is almost as good as his right foot," he reflects. "If the character is right he will be a good player. He certainly has enough talent and time."