Roeder Backs Duo

Glenn Roeder says the time has come for Joe Cole and Michael Carrick to make their England debuts.

"I hope they both get the opportunity to get their full caps and once they do a lot of pressure is off.

"At the moment both the boys are screaming and asking for that full cap and I hope Mr. Eriksson sees it fit to cap both of them against Mexico, and then, although it hasn't been a great season for us, it has been a fantastic season for both the young boys.

"Those two can only get better, and it is absolutely unbelievable that two 19-year-old boys have played in the Premier league all year and have got the opportunity to be capped in the senior squad.

"I wonder sometimes how good they are going to be at 22 or 23 when they really become established.

"It is a pleasure to work with players like that, and on top of it all, they are two terrific lads as well with a great attititude."

Glenn knows, however, that when they are judged now, no concession for their tender years will be made, and he explains: "This time next year I suppose you would have to class them as experienced players because by then they will be up to 40 or 50 games at Premiership level.

"But they have got broad shoulders, and it is part of growing up to take a bit of criticism as long as it is constructive and deserved.

"But, normally, they do well enough when they don't get any criticism - and the pair of them have had an outstanding season."

He rejects claims that the system of the side has to suit Joe and insists: "He is a player that can play in any system: in a 4-4-2, in a wider position, and come infield the way Scholes does for Manchester United at times.

"Scholes has had to play wide left at times to give the team shape but when he is on the ball he will wander inside and someone else will go and fill in for him until the game goes dead again and he can get in his wide left position.

"If you are a good player you can play in any position and any system, and Joe Cole is a very good player who can fit in."

Glenn feels that Joe has a wide array of talents, that are sometimes overshadowed by his obvious inventiveness, and adds: "The one thing about Joe in my opinion is that he is not just a dribbler; anyone who has labelled him as just that has done him an injustice and they don't know what they are talking about.

"Joe Cole has got the lot in his game: he can tackle, he can head the ball, he can certainly dribble, we know that, and he is a very good passer.

"He is an excellent athlete and lasted the 90 minutes easily on Saturday, and I think as a young boy he is still learning the game.

"It would be wrong just to label him a luxury playing behind the front two."

Joe certainly seemed unperturbed by the manager situation at the Riverside last weekend as he staked a claim for an England place this Friday with another assured display.

"I think Joe Cole was outstanding on Saturday," Glenn says, "and when I analyse it he was probably the only out-and-out dribbler in our team at Middlesbrough.

"He didn't have to share that role with anybody.

"Of course he knew the England squad was going to be announced on Sunday and as always that adds a little bit of spice to make sure that he got into the full squad.

"I think Joe is at his best when he is that all action player, when he is winning the tackles in midfield, when he is getting the headers in.

"From that springs the wonderful ability to drift past players quickly, lay the ball off, play give and goes, and the goal he made was exceptional, the way he drove into the box, drew the defender, and cut it inside for Todorov to tap home - that is Joe Cole."

A criticism of Joe has been his goalscoring record, and Glenn adds: "His goalscoring record will improve with age and criticism has been very harsh; he knocked his tally up towards the end of the season to being a respectable one for a midfielder.

"Each season he will get better and better.

"I don't think we should forget Michael Carrick either; in his own way he was very good on Saturday.

"He is a completely different player to Joe but they complement each other very well; often the ball will come to Michael and he has laid it off before you realise he has.

"Often you think Michael is not involved in a game but if you are a student of the game and watch it carefully he is involved in a lot of good things we do."