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World cup fever: What we can learn from Hodgson's starting 11
on May 30, 2014 at 15:40
Aberdeen's Charles Luke, manager of the Murray Income trust, shares his thoughts on the similarities between football and fund management.
At first glance football management and fund management might not have much in common but there are a surprising number of similarities. To perform well in both you need a defined strategy that maximises potential over the long term, with a focus on high quality names that have the backbone to outperform in challenging conditions.
The best teams and the best portfolios offer diversification with exposure to a range of skills. Together the whole should be greater than the sum of the parts. And of course, you need to be active and maintain an ability to respond to circumstances as they unfold...
The choice of goalkeeper is unlikely to be controversial. In terms of international experience Joe Hart (pictured) stands head and shoulders above both Fraser Forster and Ben Foster. If Joe Hart was a company he would be the foodservice group Compass – dependable, able to serve at the highest international level in all environments yet still focused on the smallest margin for improvement.
In the left back position Luke Shaw has made rapid progress having represented England under-16’s just three years ago, however it is a little early for him to be asked to start in the World Cup Finals.
With no Ashley Cole in the squad, Leighton Baines (pictured) is the first choice. Off the field Baines may be known for his guitar skills, yet on the field it is not just his defensive grit but his crosses and penalty-taking success that have won plaudits. In the corporate world, Baines’ multiple talents resemble those of BHP Billiton – rock solid, multi-skilled and with an enviable dividend-paying track record.
Phil Jones’ inclusion in the squad (assuming his shoulder recovers) is understandable, given his versatility. He can play right back, centre back or as a defensive midfielder, but he is only likely to see time on the pitch if other players are injured. Glen Johnson is the clear first choice to start at right back. Johnson offers pace and creativity, many of the qualities of the man he was named after, Glenn Hoddle. Johnson might well be compared to HSBC – a solid balance sheet, a secure funding position, a wealth of international experience and good at going forward (particularly in emerging markets).
Although Chris Smalling’s career progression is remarkable for the leap from the Isthmian League Premier Division with Maidstone to Premier League football with Fulham in the space of one season, he is third in the pecking order for the England team for the centre back position. Ahead of him are two players who both could have played for different countries, Poland in the case of Phil Jagielka (who’s middle name Nikodem was the first name of his grandfather) and the Republic of Ireland for Gary Cahill (pictured). Jagielka and Cahill are both stalwarts in defence, have strong technical ability and are excellent in the air. From a company perspective nothing else fits the bill better than Cobham and Rolls Royce which possess very similar traits.
Much like the UK equity market, for this position there is a wealth of high quality talent in the England squad to choose from. However, like a robust investment process, the choices you make are a function of your overall strategy, and on the pitch a midfield diamond is the way forward for England.
That means playing Steven Gerrard (pictured) at the base of the diamond – the only footballer ever to have scored in the final of the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup and the Champions League will be hoping to put his name on the score sheet on 13 July. Captain Gerrard’s motivational team talks, international experience and communication skills neatly parallel Vodafone’s attributes.
Adam Lallana should play on the left, his commitment to England firmly established by his decision to bring forward his wedding day in order to play for his country. All midfielders need a strong engine, great technical skill to facilitate movement and to be a vital cog in a larger structure, which makes the comparison with GKN particularly apt.
On the right hand side, Jordan Henderson gets the nod. Like Pearson, his potential has sometimes struggled to be understood but his intelligence and work rate gives him global appeal.
Occasionally it pays to be contrarian and despite only two caps for England, Raheem Sterling is perfectly suited for the role at the top of the diamond supporting the forwards. Like National Grid, his high energy, transmission and link-up play coupled with a generous distribution, will stand him in good stead in the most difficult of conditions.
Rickie Lambert’s progress through the lower leagues and his call up to the England squad at the age of 31 demonstrate the importance of hard work and determination, but he doesn’t make it into the starting eleven. Neither does Danny Welbeck, whose career took a rather different path to Lambert’s having been spotted as a six year old by Manchester United scouts. That leaves Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney (pictured) to fill the final two positions. Sturridge will be hoping that history repeats itself, following his lone goal that beat Uruguay in the 2012 Olympics.
Unilever is the Daniel Sturridge of the England squad, able to show defenders a clean pair of heels, innovative and speedy to market.
Finally, Wayne Rooney, the Prudential of the footballing world, not a man who needs to worry about funding his retirement but someone who has kept numerous agents in work. A player destined for greatness at an early age but yet to fulfil his potential on the world stage, could it be different this time?