Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Robert Green (West Ham United), John Ruddy (Norwich City)
Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Leighton Baines (Everton)
Midfielders: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Scott Parker (Spurs), Ashley Young (Manchester United), James Milner (Manchester City)
Forwards: Jermain Defoe (Spurs), Wayne Rooney & Danny Welbeck (Manchester United), Andy Carroll (Liverpool)
There is also a standby list, but I’m not going to bother listing them.
A few random thoughts:
a.) All but two of the players come from teams that finished in the top eight in the Premier League in 2011/12 – although there are no players from Newcastle United. At least John Ruddy plays for a team in the Premier League: Robert Green is still mistake prone.
b.) None of the squad plays outside England. No surprise there.
c.) The only omission that might cause a few raised eyebrows is that of Rio Ferdinand, but there were signs this weekend that he wouldn’t have made the team. I think it may be time for him to hang it up.
On the whole, the squad is not a huge surprise. Only Ruddy and Oxlade-Chamberlain are uncapped and I would imagine that the decision to include the Arsenal midfielder is similar to the one Sven-Goran Eriksson made to take Theo Walcott to the World Cup in 2006. There also seems to be a discrete changing of the guard: I’d be surprised if the trio of Chelsea pensioners (Cole, Terry and Lampard) will be preparing to travel to Brazil in a couple of years time: Phil Jones for John Terry and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Frank Lampard looks like the way forward to me. I’d also not be surprised if this is the last time we see Steven Gerrard playing in a tournament for England.
One potential drawback is the lack of alternatives to Wayne Rooney up front. My guess is that Hodgson will be trying out variations of 4-5-1 in the upcoming friendlies with Messers Defoe, Wellbeck and Carroll being given opportunities to audition for the role, but I’d expect Defoe to be in the starting eleven for the games against France and the Ukraine with attacking support being given by the midfield. However, this looks as if it could cause the usual argument about Lampard and Gerrard being the ‘same player’, but if only one of them occupies central midfield then there’s some flexibility on the flanks.
So there you have it. The squad has been announced, the usual nonsense has started on twitter, I don’t like the new kit at all and although I don’t think England will win Euro 2012 I’ve got a feeling that this summer won’t be as much of an anti climax as the last World Cup was. All we have to do now is find the cheapest off licence, the biggest wallchart and we’re off.
I’ll be back next week with a look at the friendly with Norway.