Roy Hodgson has announced his England squad for the Euros. As expected, there are many surprises. To be fair, the ex-Liverpool manager didn’t get much time to study the players in depth. Let us have a look at the 23 English players that will leave for the Euros in the coming month.
Goalkeepers: Hart, Green, Ruddy.
Defenders: Baines, Cahill, Cole, Johnson, Jones, Lescott, Terry.
Midfielders: Barry, Downing, Gerrard, Lampard, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Parker, Walcott, Young.
Strikers: Carroll, Defoe, Rooney, Welbeck.
Stand-by: Butland, Jagielka, Henderson, Adam Johnson, Sturridge.
Criticizing someone is easy here. Despite the fact that the new manager claimed it is a balanced squad, few questions immediately comes into mind. But, one has to feel for Roy Hodgson too. It is not easy to handle both the teams at the same time as he was officially in charge of West Bromwich Albion till Sunday. Further, he was to a certain extent has been parachuted in to take charge of a Fabio Capello squad. It was not easy for him to take a comprehensive look at the armory he has at his disposal.
Roy probably made his mind earlier regarding Rio Ferdinand’s future for England. The new boss omitted the experienced Manchester United defender from his squad after he called him to let know that he is not going to the European Championship Finals. Many speculated that the ongoing tussle between Ferdinand and John Terry is the prime reason for the exclusion. There were also clouds over John Terry’s inclusion as well regarding his racial row with Anton Ferdinand, brother of Rio Ferdinand, who is due to face the hearing from the court in July.
In the end John Terry made the final cut and Rio Ferdinand was left out due to “purely football reasons.” Hodgson said about Rio “He’s done exceptionally well this year with injuries, getting himself on to the field. He has played 3 matches in a week.”
So what was the football decision? He explains that Rio featured only one game for his country last year. Jones is more versatile and can fit the right back position too. To put it simply, Roy feels Rio Ferdinand is not among the best four centre-halves England possesses right now and it has nothing to do with his fitness.
He had another selection headache regarding Micah Richards; the Manchester City full-back who many feel should have been included. Richards has been outstanding this season and was Mancini’s first choice from day one. It was only his injury that paved the way for Zabaleta in the final few matches.
Roy explained he had to choose between Richards and Jones and he gave preference to the later. Jones is an outstanding prospect no doubt and showed his versatility as a defensive midfielder under Capello but his form in the second half was horrific to say the least. If form is the criteria for selection here then surely Jones shouldn’t have got the nod. Talking about versatility, Richards can play at central defence as well. He has done that in the past and did fairly well.
In absence of Rooney for the opening few games, Roy has emphasized on packed midfield options. The inclusion of highly talented Oxlade-Chamberlain was well greeted by the media and the English fans. The other selections in this category are more-or-less well deserved. The only fly in the ointment remains with the introduction of Liverpool winger Stewart Downing.
What has he done really to get a ticket for Ukraine? If Jones was horrific in the second half then Downing was pathetic throughout the season. As a winger operating from right and left he finished the season with zero goals and zero assists.
Manchester City’s Adam Johnson should have been a better option than him. The City winger is kept only as a standby. It is no shame that he can’t start regularly for Manchester City. It is also no shame that he ranks below the pecking orders of Silva and Nasri. Whatever little opportunity he has got the Englishman has proved his mettle. He is a quality player who could have been an impact player from the bench.
The midfield conundrum continues with the omission of Michael Carrick from the squad. With two goals, three assists and a passing accuracy of 90% throughout the season the 30-year-old at least deserves to be in the list of standby. Instead Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson has been kept who has shown glimpses of talent but only in flashes.
Roy Hodgson looked relaxed and shared jokes with the media personals during his press conference. In doing so, he landed himself into his customary faux-pass claiming he was impressed by how Ox-C played against Pirlo & Ambrosini. Pirlo was playing for Juventus this season and Ambrosini didn’t feature in the first leg against Arsenal and was only on the pitch for few minutes in the second leg when the Arsenal winger came on.
The only good thing he did was selecting Steven Gerrard as the England captain. Though the Liverpool man didn’t perform to his expected level in this season but in the present climate he is the best man to lead the squad to Euro. Overall, the squad is not bad. Few decisions didn’t go well may be but for the new manager who was hardly in the office for a week surely he can enjoy the benefit of doubt if things doesn’t go well.
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