Coyle: Kev merits England call

In the aftermath of his outstanding performance in Saturday’s win
at West Ham, the 33-year-old admitted he has given up hope of ever
wearing the Three Lions on his chest. For a player who snubbed the
chance of international honours with Scotland, so committed was he
to the idea of playing for England, it is a hard situation to deal
with. On a couple of occasions last term, he was selected in Fabio
Capello’s expanded squad before being omitted when the Italian
selected his preferred 23. But Coyle, who only made a single
appearance for the Republic of Ireland in 1994, thinks England are
the ones who have missed out. “There is no doubt, within his
career, there have been spells when he should have played,” said
the Bolton chief. “He is a real number nine, a throwback to the old
fashioned-type of centre-forward that we all love watching. “He is
a real leader and a big player in any team. “If he had ever been
allowed the opportunity, he would have represented his country with
real aplomb and the English nation would have been proud to have
had him in that shirt.” Although Davies is one of the senior
players likely to be rested for the Carling Cup trip to former club
Southampton, he still has an influential role to play in Coyle’s
squad. It has been suggested his robust style is not suited to the
international arena. However, it has made the Sheffield-born star a
crowd favourite at the Reebok Stadium and Coyle insists he is
sinned against far more than he breaks the rules himself. “I am not
saying Kevin Davies is an angel. But he receives more punishment
than he gives out because that is the nature of the physical
battle,” he said. “That is why we love football and why we love
that type of tussle. “When I look at the outstanding forwards
England have had, particularly the quick ones and the good
finishers, they would have benefited from playing alongside Kevin
Davies when you think of the knock-downs he could have provided.”
Davies is not the only player Coyle intends to rest for the trip to
St Mary’s Stadium. Goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen is also set to
stand down, which would mean a debut for promising Hungary-born
21-year-old Alex Bogdan. Not that Coyle intends merely to throw in
a group of kids and give no thought to the outcome. As the man who
guided Burnley into the semi-finals two years ago – where they were
unlucky to lose against Tottenham – and then saw how that run
galvanised the Clarets, who were ultimately promoted through the
play-offs, Coyle knows the benefits that can emerge from extended
participation in a cup competition. “I have always loved cup
competitions and I have always believed they can work alongside a
league programme,” he said. “You want to win every competition you
enter. “We showed that at Burnley. The Carling Cup run we had there
galvanised us and took us on collectively. “But over the course of
that season, we played 61 games, so you do have to juggle things
around a little bit.”