England To Play Against Another Team

by on May 25, 2012
in Euro 2012, Friendlies

At last. A game of football.

Over the past few months – well, most of this year and probably a bit beyond as well – the stories have all been about Capello leaving, ‘Arry being the people’s choice, whether John Terry will continue to be John Terry and all the other unbelievably tiresome speculation about nearly every single aspect of the England team.

Apart from what’s actually happening on the field. In a bizarre turn of events, it seems that England are going to be playing several games of football over the next month or so, an exciting development for fans and pundits alike. The trouble is that the first game is against a team that we’ve had some problems with over the years: we’ve not beaten Norway at Wembley since 1980 but even more worrying is the last time we beat them in Norway was in a friendly before the 1966 World Cup.

The Norwegians haven’t qualified for any of the major tournaments for over a decade, but they were unlucky not to reach the playoffs for Euro 2012, having an inferior goal difference to Portugal – who they beat in Oslo during the qualifiers thanks to a goal from Portsmouth’s Erik Huseklepp. Their current FIFA ranking is higher than both of the hosts in the upcoming tournament as well as the Czech Republic so they aren’t a bad choice for a friendly game – with five English based players in the squad they’ll be familiar with our team and if there’s such a thing as a Scandinavian ‘style’ then I suppose this game is good practice in playing against it.

One thing that could be an advantage for the Norwegians is that the majority of their players are based at home and play in the top tier of the domestic competition, which kicked off in March: the reigning champions are Molde FK, who are managed by former Manchester United striker Ole-Gunnar Solksjaer. He was strongly linked with the Aston Villa job last week but saw sense and turned it down 😉

The danger men for the Norwegians are familiar names to England fans: Jon-Arne Riise, Morten Gamst Pederson and the aforementioned Erik Huseklepp but keep an eye out for Moa Abdellaoue (Hannover 96), the latest of a number of Norwegian players who have chosen to move to the Bundesliga. He’s got a decent strike rate in Germany (26 goals in 68 appearances) for a team that’s not exactly a powerhouse over there and could cause the back four some problems.

Apart from Robert Green and Andy Carroll, it’s not clear who will be in Roy Hodgson’s first England team, but with call ups for Martin Kelly (who won’t be travelling on to Eastern Europe) and Jack Butland (who will – John Ruddy’s broken finger will keep him out of the tournament) we might be seeing an experimental side. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in a friendly but hardly ideal a few weeks before a major tournament – so this is a classic wait and see game: a victory would be a bonus, but not losing would be just as good.

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England Squad For Euro 2012 Announced

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.

Hodgson Faces Key Decisions On Captain, Strikers.

Roy Hodgson will be naming the England squad for Euro 2012 on Wednesday – and so Thomas Rooney takes a look at some of the candidates for the crucial positions: team captain and goal scoring options another than the Spud Faced Nipper.

With the European Championships just round the corner, there lots of talk as ever about who should be given the captain’s armband for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

Scott Parker is amongst favourites amongst punters looking to trade using this back to lay calculator to lead the side out for the Championships. Parker has been one of the best English players in the Premier League this season and his knack of avoiding controversy means he may be the ideal candidate.

The Tottenham midfielder has only made eleven caps for his country but with his form this campaign will surely be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Parker has made 28 appearances for Spurs this season, despite not getting himself on the score-sheet he has been instrumental for his team when he has played and really seems to make them tick.

The ex-West Ham United man is vital to making sure the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon can get forward as much as possible, filling in the gaps they leave when attacking.

This would be the role he would play for the England side who will want to use the pace of the likes of Ashley Young, Theo Walcott, Lennon and Adam Johnson a lot throughout the tournament.

Parker will be the player to hold the midfield together and make England play in the same way he does for his club.

Other candidates as far as those over at best betting sites are concerned include Joe Hart. The Manchester City man would also be a decent choice as he looks certain to be England’Â’s number one for the foreseeable future: he’s also a very vocal player and being a goalkeeper, can see the whole game.

England require a leader on the pitch, someone to set an example to the rest of the players and drive the team on. Parker is the perfect man for this role in the team, with Hart as vice captain.

Moving onto attacking options, it’ll be interesting to see if Aston Villa striker Darren Bent is fit for the European Championships this summer after an injury that has kept him out of action since February. If Bent is fit, should Roy Hodgson include him in his squad?

In Bent, England have one of the best finishers the Premier League has seen in recent years. His goals seem to go under the radar sometimes and apart from a slight dip at Tottenham, he has scored regularly wherever he has played.

However at Spurs, he did manage 18 goals in sixty appearances, which is not too bad for the worst goal scoring form of his career. So it should be interesting to see what price Bent is for the Golden Boot in the 2012 euro betting odds.

The Englishman had scored nine times in the Premier League this campaign until he was injured in a game against Wigan, it’s quite safe to say Aston Villa would not find themselves as low down the table as they are if they had a fit Darren Bent at the disposal for the whole season.

The former Sunderland striker is an old fashioned goal poacher, he may only touch the ball a few times in the game but ends up scoring two goals and winning his team the game.

The England side does not have a great deal of players similar to Bent, someone whose sole purpose is to find the back of the net. The other option could be Jermaine Defoe, although he has spent the majority of the season coming off the bench so may be suited to that role during the summer.

If the 28-year-old is fully fit he could be the ideal partner for Wayne Rooney in the later stages of the tournament, he also capable of playing up front on his own during Rooney’s suspension in the first two matches.

Bent and Rooney should go to Euros as the Three Lions two main strikers, with Jermaine Defoe, Peter Crouch and Daniel Sturridge all waiting in the wings. This front line includes height, pace, strength, skill and finishing – a winning formula.

Update: Hodgson has made one interesting decision today – Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville joins the coaching staff with immediate effect.

Roy Hodgson In The Frame For The Manager’s Job

Calm down, calm down…

Yesterday the news broke that Roy Hodgson had been approached by the FA regarding the England job: the overall reaction appears to be split, ranging from outrage from White Van Man to conditional support from various corners of the media. Hodgson’s interview is taking place this afternoon but it’ll be interesting to see how quickly a decision is made before the Euro 2012 betting begins: the situation may be closer to being resolved than it was last week but I still think there’s some mileage left in this story.

We’ve always tried to follow the ‘best man for the job’ line here: I’m on record as having said that Harry Redknapp is the right man for the England position, but it’s not my decision to make and if Roy Hodgson is appointed then I’m not going to complain as his CV is very impressive. I don’t know either man personally – and let’s face it, how many of us do – so if anyone’s expecting any pro-Redknapp or anti-Hodgson rants here, then you’re probably better off wading through the hilarious stuff posted on various message boards.

That’s not going to stop me from some speculation though. It’s interesting that in recent interviews on Radio 5 that both Graham Taylor and Henry Winter have mentioned the role that the manager would have at the National Football Centre in Burton: the perception seems to be that although Hodgson would relish this role, it might be a bit too far for Redknapp in terms of distance, desire and ability. One more thing that needs to be cleared up: Hodgson is five months older than Redknapp, not ten years.

Another issue is on field performance. Although Spurs beat Blackburn yesterday, Tottenham have had an incredibly disappointing end to their season and although that’s not a reason to write off Harry Redknapp’s ability as a manager per se Spurs’ collapse couldn’t have come at a worse time.

However, it’s important to remember that this time last season Roy Hodgson had been written off by Liverpool fans for pretty much the same reason: following the less than stellar second coming of Kenny Dalglish in the role of Anfield Messiah, it’s now accepted that Hodgson did a decent at a dysfunctional club that’s been relying on past glories as a guarantee for future successes for far too long. Oh wait a minute…that sounds like he’s exactly the right man for the England job.

If there’s a moral to this particular story, it’s probably that there’s no point in wasting your money at the bookies on anything to do with England. ‘Arry was available to back at 1/3 as late as yesterday lunchtime: he’s now out to 4/1 with the firms that haven’t suspended betting on that particular market.

Managerial Uncertainty Makes England’s Euro 2012 Odds Look Unappealing

With only a few weeks left to go in the domestic football season, it’s only a couple of months until the start of Euro 2012 and it’s officially time to start our coverage. Who better to kick it off that regular contributor Richard Smith: Richard takes a look at some of the prices on offer for an English success in the tournament…and rapidly comes to the same conclusion as any sane bettor would.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding who will be the manager of the Englandteam at Euro 2012,  bookmakers are getting into full swing by offering a host of betting markets on how theEnglandteam and players will fare at the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine.

In the betting to win Euro 2012 outright,England are rated as the fourth favourites with most major bookies offering just 9/1. This price is influenced by the weight of the “patriotic pound” that will either have already been wagered or in anticipation from the betting companies but when both France and Italy are priced at 14/1, it is difficult to rate England as “value” and 9/1 is unappealing but nonetheless, loyal fans of the Three Lions will invariably back the team to win the tournament with nothing more than blind faith as the reason.

If England qualify from Group D, a Quarter Final match against either Spain or Italy is likely to await them and if it is Spain, then prospects of progressing really do look bleak.

Spain are expected to win Group C, so to ensure a last eight tie against the runner up in Group C, which is most likely to be Italy, then England will need to win Group D. Should this be the case there is no guarantee that England could or even should defeat Italy, a game in which the Italians would likely be favourites to win but would be considered more “winnable” than if having to face Spain.

In all honesty, any punter thinking with their head would probably resist from backing the Three Lions in the Outright win market, especially with no permanent England manager yet appointed which must impact on preparations, potential squad selection, tactics and opponent analysis . However, if you’re betting with your heart, it’ll be a question of how much to put on England in the hope that Harry Redknapp is appointed at the end of the season and the moral boost from that would be enough to result in a fairytale ending!

Englandto be eliminated at the Quarter Final Stage at odds of 13/8 is proabbly the most likely outcome at this stage!

As far as Group D is concerned, most pundits are predicting an England and France one-two. England are the narrow 13/8 favourites to win the group with France a 7/4 chance, co-hosts Ukraine come next at 9/2 while underdogs Sweden are 11/2.

The key to the Group probably lies in the opening game between England and France on 11th June. France have been transformed under new Head Coach Laurent Blanc, losing only twice in the twenty matches he has been at the helm and one of those was his very first game in charge when he fielded a weakened team following the fallout and suspensions on the back of the 2010 World Cup debacle. They qualified comfortably from their Euro2012 Qualification Group losing just once in their ten qualification games and have since secured “friendly” wins over the USA and more impressively Germany. The French clearly will be no pushover!

England of course qualified unbeaten from their Group and have secured recent wins over Sweden and Spain. However, with Fabio Capello no longer in charge, it has left a number of doubts surrounding the team at a critical time and with no manager yet appointed and the France game fast approaching, the situation looks bleak.

Backing England to top Group D therefore now looks a little dangerous, France have the momentum and as such, could get the better of England in the Group D opener, which would leave England with two difficult remaining games against Ukraine and Sweden but ones where they should be good enough to get the results to qualify in second spot, whoever is selecting the team and tactics! Therefore, a France to finish top, England runners up straight forecast bet at 7/2 looks the best pick of the group markets involving England.

A lot can happen between now and England’s opening game in Donetsk but as it stands, without a permanent manager it is difficult to be optimistic. Stuart Pearce is more than capable of leading the troops but how far in to battle can he take them? It will certainly be an interesting few weeks in between the end of the domestic season and start of the Euros and an even more interesting couple of weeks in Poland and the Ukraine!

Capello’s Striker Dilemma Ahead Of Euro 2012

by on February 8, 2012
in Euro 2012, Fabio Capello

If you’ve come here looking for our take on whether or not John Terry should have been stripped of the England captaincy or not or whether Fabio Capello should leave the England job now, then you might be a bit disappointed. All I’m going to say is that France have a terrific group of young strikers and to be honest,  right now (a freezing cold afternoon in February) it doesn’t matter who the manager is.

Although we’re at the end of the Capello years, he’s still getting paid a decent wage and he’s got some thinking to do before the summer. Guest blogger Richard Smith takes a look at both the Terry issue and an area that always seems to be problematic for the team before major competitions.

As Euro 2012 approaches the England problems seem just on the verge of emerging. Firstly the Wayne Rooney ban which has cost England his services in for the opening two fixtures has been followed by the crass FA decision to remove the captaincy from John Terry.

In some respects, England are lucky that Rooney’s ban was not the original three matches but nonetheless, the absence of the Man Utd striker for two games is bad enough and makes life very difficult to replace him.

As far as the Terry situation is concerned, then the FA have done him nor the national team any favours by going above Fabio Capello’s head and removing him as team captain, due presumably to his impending court case where he has been accused of racism towards Anton Ferdinand. That case is not due to be heard until after Euro 2012 and whilst the full and due process of law is running its course, Terry remains innocent until proven guilty. This is of course unless you are the FA who clearly sees the case as a cut and dry affair and that Terry must be guilty as charged. It is a position that is seen as outrageous by most in football and one that proves if nothing else that the FA are no friends of the individual footballer nor respecters of the England fans nor it seems the due process of law as their action has made Terry look guilty even though he is pleading the opposite.

At least it seems that Terry will be able to wear the Three Lions shirt in Poland and the Ukraine which will be very important for team continuity albeit if you believe what you read in the papers this may not be the case! It is almost a prerequisite that the England preparations prior to a major tournament are disrupted and with five months before the tournament kicks off, it would appear the pantomime has already begun.

Back to team matters, there is already much debate as to who Capello should select as the four for Euro 2012 and with Rooney a definite pick, the other three places are up for grabs.

Darren Bent of Aston Villa is probably the man who holds sway at the moment but his good form of last season has not been so evident this term as his Villa team struggle in mid-division of the Premier League. Bent has scored nine times in the Premier League and managed three England goals during Euro 2012 Qualification.

Jermaine Defoe has been a regular squad member for the last few seasons, but he is struggling to establish himself in the first team at Spurs this season and hasn’t been on the scoresheet for England since his hat trick against Bulgaria in September 2010.

Emerging talent comes in the form of Danny Welbeck of Manchester United and Daniel Sturridge of Chelsea but neither have had a long enough run in the national team to establish themselves and may be considered by Capello as too inexperienced to take. Bent’s team mate at Aston Villa, Gabi Agbonlahor is another player who is just falling short of international recognition and now at the age of 25 one feels his best chances are gone despite him being one of the very quickest players around. Bobby Zamora now of QPR has been given a couple of chances but he is a player who would be more of a last resort than a certainty and at 31 he has seen better days too.

This does not leave Capello very much left to choose from, Andy Carroll of Liverpool showed signs under Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool that he is beginning to mature but is facing mounting criticism for his lack of goals. If the £35m man can continue in that vein as well as find the net a few times before the season ends, then he could make a late run for the squad but as it stands currently, the four strikers would almost certainly comprise of Rooney, Bent, Defoe and Sturridge but with Rooney out for the first two games, it’s safe to say none of the England contingent will be in the reckoning for the Euro 2012 Golden Boot and who starts upfront against France on Monday 11th June is still very much anyone’s guess.

We should have a better idea when England take on the Netherlands at Wembley on 29thFebruary when it will make a refreshing change for football to dominate the back page, let’s just hope it’s positive column inches!

Capello on Hand To See Swans Fly

Easily the best footballing side in the Championship last season, it’s hardly a surprise that Swansea have been attracting a lot of positive attention due to their performances in the Premier League. Thomas Rooney thinks a couple of Swans should be given a chance in the England squad and if the widely predicted changes happen after Euro 2012, Thomas has a point!

While The F.A were busy announcing an upcoming friendly fixtures against Holland, it was Swansea that were evoking memories of the Dutch pass masters of years gone by as they sauntered past Arsenal while Fabio Capello watched on from the rocking Liberty Stadium stands.

Those studying mobile free bets note how Brendan Rodgers’ side have become the feel-good story of the season, and the fairy-tale ending, or at least the pinnacle of their achievements this season, likely came as Danny Graham slotted home the winner against Arsenal recently. Although Capello may have come to cast his eye over Theo Walcott, who despite getting on the scoresheet continues to be an enigma when it comes to producing consistently decent performances.

Although Walcott may have been in Capello’s thoughts before the game it was the Welsh outfit’s band of Englishmen that would have occupied his drive home to the capital after the game.

Scott Sinclair, Nathan Dyer and Danny Graham have all proved themselves wonderfully capable of adapting to life in the Premier League, and soon they will be joined by another precocious talent, Chelsea’s Josh McEachran who completed his loan move from the capital earlier this week.

Graham in particular has thrust himself into the limelight ever since his move from Watford over the summer with his clinical and powerful finishing.

Dyer and Sinclair have long been talents that have been marked for bright futures – few would have envisaged however that they would find a home and room to flourish with a newly promoted side given little chance of survival by the experts. These three fit seamlessly into a side that contains no less than seven men who would be available to Capello, and it is their style of play along with their results that have won them praise this season.

Occupying a large point of the Italian’s mind ever since the draw took place, is of course Euro 2012, and he will already have in his mind an almost fully formed picture of the squad he will take with him into battle once more.

It is unlikely any player wearing the white of Swansea will make it into his final squad. It is their effervescence as a unit that appeals most about Swansea, their philosophy under Rodgers that brings them together and allows them to out-pass the finest English passing side of the last twenty years, Arsenal.

But while they may miss out on Capello’s final squad, perhaps due to the lateness of their charge or even the fact they come from a distinctly unfashionable club, there are few who would begrudge Swansea their success. Keep your eye open for a few of them in Rio in 2014, at least a few of them will be there, at the World Cup.

Euro 2012 Draw

by on December 2, 2011
in Euro 2012

We’re in Group D with Ukraine, France and Sweden.

Games:

Monday June 12th v France (6:00pm)

Friday June 15th v Sweden (6:00pm)

Tuesday June 19th v Ukraine (8:45pm)

Helping you win against all the odds,
visit Boylesports.com today and claim your free bets!

Five Youngsters That Give Hope For England At Euro 2012 and Beyond

by on October 12, 2011
in Euro 2012

Well, despite Wazza losing the plot yet again, England qualified for Euro 2012 last week – guest blogger Richard Smith runs the rule over some of the prospects that could make their international breakthroughs in Poland and the Ukraine next summer…

Having confirmed their place at Euro 2012 next Summer – as any England fan will acknowledge – nothing is straight forward when it comes to the “Three Lions” and tournament football there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of the English National team.

Current England coach, Fabio Capello, is set to step down when his contract is up next year but with that seems to have come a series of risk averse decisions from the Italian who has been happy to call the changes in the England teams and its formation recently. A far cry from the approach to player selection and tactics that saw the side crash out of the World Cup in 2010.

Capello has handed call-ups to a number of young players when naming recent squads and with, England fans have seen some of the older, more established players not featuring, be it forced through injury (Steven Gerrard) or dropped (Lampard in the recent qualifier against Bulgaria), performances have been much better and there’s hope that this approach will continue in the build up to next summer’s European Championships and beyond, laying the solid foundations for whoever becomes the next England manager who will have the task of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

Listed below are a number of emerging English players who have either featured in Capello’s recent squads or will no doubt be in contention before the end of the season, the future is certainly a lot brighter for England than it was heading to South Africa!

Phil Jones – Aged 19 (Manchester United)

With the injuries to Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic at Manchester United, 19 year old Phil Jones has been thrust into the side early by manager Sir Alex Ferguson and has played like he has been there for years.

A very promising prospect, Jones not only can he defend like his life depends upon it, he can play football too and is an excellent reader of the game who has great pace and a first rate touch. He is so good in fact that he would not look out of place in midfield and his performances so far this season for United is sure to give Fergie a selection headache when both Ferdinand and Vidic are back fit.

With regards to his England career, he looks a ready made replacement for John Terry who will no doubt hang up his international boots after Euro 2012 but in the mean time, if Jones continues to feature and play so well for United, he’s sure to be in Capello’s plans going forward.

Tom Cleverley – Aged 22 (Manchester United)

it is a shame that Jones’s United team mate got injured so early in the season as at that time, he was playing so well that Capello could not have possibly excluded him from his next squad. It is rare for players to get Sir Alex Ferguson too excited but clearly Cleverley has; his all round ability in midfield particularly his perception has improved enormously since he returned to Old Trafford after a season long loan spell with Wigan and he now looks set for a long term future at both club and international level.

Kyle Walker – Aged 21 (Tottenham Hotspur)

Harry Redknapp has finally bowed to the pressure and has started to include this highly gifted full back in the first team at White Hart Lane. Redknapp has always liked the player but with first team opportunities hard to come by last season, Walker went on a loan spell at Aston Villa and quickly became a big hit. It was thought at one point that Villa would persuade Redknapp to part with him permanently but the Tottenham boss, recognises his profound talent and he has signed him on a long term deal. It will not be long before he gets his chance at International level and he is known to be on Capello’s radar.

Jack Rodwell – Aged 20 (Everton)

Although there is plenty of competition for places in the England midfield line up, there are many urging Capello to include Rodwell who is one of the best defensive midfielders around. There were plenty of clubs expressing interest in him in the recent transfer window but Rodwell seemingly has no intention of leaving his club, Everton. He has represented his country at all levels with the exception of the senior side and if he can earn a regular place in the Everton first team then he is a very lively outside chance to make Capello’s Euro 2012 squad.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Aged 18 (Arsenal)

Son of former England international, Mark Chamberlain, this young man is one of the most gifted ball players that has been seen for many years. He is so talented that Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, signed him from Southampton for an immediate fee of £12m which could rise to £15m with “add-ons”. He made his debut for Southampton last season and played 36 times for them in their promotion campaign, scoring nine goals from midfield. His move to Arsenal follows almost identically in the footsteps of Theo Walcott, who joined the Gunners at 17 and then was included in the England squad that went to Germany for the 2006 World Cup, something his new team will be keen to replicate. Whilst an England call up may not be imminent, Oxlade-Chamberlain is certainly one for the future!

We’ll be back later in the week with an update on the play offs and our first look at England’s prospects next summer…

Ferdinand and Defoe Omitted From Squad To Face Montenegro

by on October 6, 2011
in Euro 2012

Pete South reports on a couple of players who will be fans for the evening…

Rio Ferdinand and Jermain Defoe have been left out of Fabio Capello’s England squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro on Friday.

Ferdinand has struggled with injury so far this season and only recently made his comeback for Manchester United against Stoke two weeks ago, and was a substitute in United’s last Premier League encounter against Norwich.

With Gary Cahill and United team-mate Phil Jones in the squad along with Everton’s Phil Jagielka and captain John Terry, there was no room for the former Leeds and West Ham defender who will now target securing regular first team football with his club as he works his way back to full match fitness.

Defoe has begun the season well with Tottenham Hotspur and appears reinvigorated after a poor campaign last time round, but his two goals in five games so far this season were not enough to persuade Capello to select him, with the Italian instead preferring Danny Welbeck and Bobby Zamora to join Darren Bent, Wayne Rooney and Andy Carroll in the striking department.

England are the football betting favourites to top Group G after back to back wins against Bulgaria and Wales last month moved them six points clear of 2nd placed Montenegro.

Elsewhere Steven Gerrard is not risked after he recently made his comeback with Liverpool after a six month lay-off, but Ashley Young is included despite not playing in Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Norwich because of an ankle knock.

Spurs fullback Kyle Walker rounded off a good week by being called up by Capello hours after he had helped his side claim a memorable win over North London rivals Arsenal with a 25-yard strike while Frank Lampard is also in the mix having responded to being dropped by both club and country in recent games with an emphatic hat-trick against Bolton on Sunday.

England need just one point from their trip to Montenegro to qualify for Euro 2012, however Capello insists his side will go all out for the win.

“If you play for a draw it is a big mistake, you are defending a result and it is easy then to make silly or stupid mistakes,” he told FATV.

“We need to go to win in Montenegro and not to play for a draw.”

England squad: Scott Carson (Bursaspor), Joe Hart (Man City), David Stockdale (Ipswich); Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones (Man Utd), Micah Richards (Man City), John Terry (captain, Chelsea), Kyle Walker (Tottenham); Gareth Barry (Man City), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Adam Johnson (Man City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Man City), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Man Utd); Darren Bent (Aston Villa), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Danny Welbeck (Man Utd), Bobby Zamora (Fulham)

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