Vintage or Vernal?
Many car enthusiasts claim to love the older models and that newer, sleeker designs lack the authentic beauty of their ancestors. However, without the modern touch those same enthusiasts would not have grounds for comparison and engineering would not have advanced.
The same could be said for the England national side. Fans who grew up watching Rio Ferdinand partnering John Terry in defence with the exceptional duo of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard ahead of them have found it hard to swallow that the foursome have hung up their boots and made way for a new generation.
Despite all of them still playing football in the Premier League, Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions have had their manes trimmed to give the side a fresh start ahead of future tournaments.
Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka now marshal the backline with Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere hunting in the midfield. But is this the strongest team Hodgson could send out?
Player Performance Index statistics, analysed by EA SPORTS FIFA 15 Ultimate Team, have answered the debate over whether the old guard or the youngsters should be selected based on PPI points earned with their respective club sides this season.
Gary Cahill tops the PPI charts as the best performing English centre back this season. The Chelsea man has only managed to win 64.7% of his tackles but has jumped to the front with 71 successful clearances and 10 interceptions for the Blues.
Fellow Chelsea teammate, John Terry is statistically England’s second best performing central defender and should, based on PPI, be in Roy Hodgson’s starting line up against Slovenia on Saturday 15 November. The retired former international has won 87.5% of his tackles and performed 65 clearances to help the London club to the top of the Premier League.
Jagielka narrowly misses out with a PPI of 157, a result of Everton’s poor start to the campaign, while Ferdinand has failed to even make it into the struggling Queens Park Rangers side and has only amassed a PPI of 51.
Liverpool captain, Gerrard finds himself top of the Player Performance Index ratings having completed 592 passes and covered 118.53km for the Anfield outfit this season, more than twice the distance Wilshere has managed.
Just as in defence, it is a fellow teammate who joins Gerrard in the centre of the park. Jordan Henderson has had a good start to his campaign with 516 completed passes, 114.45km of ground covered and having been involved in four goals.
Jack Wilshere has only completed 289 passes and finds his PPI sitting at 88. Former Chelsea and England hero Lampard has found it tough going attempting to break into Manchester City’s starting eleven this season and finds his PPI on 69 points.
However, when he has made an appearance, Lampard’s PPI score per minute on the field far exceeds his aforementioned rivals with 0.43 PPI per minute as opposed to Gerrard’s 0.16.
An old head guiding a fresh-faced youngster is only going to benefit the team in the long run but, with Gerrard and Terry turning 38 and 37-years-old respectively by the time the next World Cup kicks off, their retirements have allowed Hodgson to build and gel a younger, more flamboyant unit for the tournament.
Michael Ballack, Oliver Kahn, and Torsten Frings were all part of the German side that finished third in the 2006 World Cup in their home country. Following their retirements the team did not get any worse, instead they went on to finish third again four years later and then won the tournament in Brazil in 2014.
Therefore, England should be looking to the newer, shinier models and leave the old favourites to grow old gracefully on their pedestals.
DATA COURTESY OF THE EA SPORTS PLAYER PERFORMANCE INDEX, OFFICIAL PLAYER RANKING INDEX OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE. PICK, MANAGE AND PLAY AS YOUR OWN TEAM OF STARS IN EA SPORTS FIFA 15 ULTIMATE TEAM. FIND OUT MORE AT WWW.EASPORTS.COM/UK/FIFA/ULTIMATE-TEAM  #FEELTHEGAME