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England's 23 Man Squad for the Euro's. Who Should Go?

Monday 14th May 2012
England. Never boring is it? With Rooney's suspension, the manager fiasco ending up with the surprising, but solid choice of Roy Hodgson has meant that while other nations have announced preliminary squads, England won't for a while. So who should make the cut?

It's not an easy choice. For a start, I only believe England possesses two world class players in Ashley Cole and Joe Hart. No Rooney? While he's undoubtedly a good goalscorer, he's not in the same league as Mario Gomez or Huntelaar.

Speaking of Joe Hart, England will struggle to pick three goalkeepers. While Joe Hart has no competition for the number one shirt, even naming three goalkeepers is difficult. The Anton Ferdinand debacle means the end of Terry and Ferdinand as a partnership, which may well end up being a blessing in disguise. In midfield, the same problems exist, do England remain with the poor Gareth Barry alongside the average Scott Parker protecting a back four with an attacking trio behind a lone forward?

Or do they continue to persevere with Gerrard and Lampard, which has caused Gerrard, England's greatest player of the Golden Generation to have been wasted out wide. Wide players is also an issues, Stewart Downing has failed in his first season at Liverpool, Ashley Young started brightly, and faded, before become resurgent towards the end of this season. Adam Johnson? Struggles to get off the bench at Man City, despite his quality. Forwards haven't been mentioned much, purely because of Wayne Rooney's suspension. With Darren Bent out, Jermaine Defoe struggling for game time at Spurs, the choices are limited. A possible inclusion of an inexperienced forward at international level may be required.

For all the doom and gloom, the expectation of failure may play into Roy and England's hands. The 23 that should be taken in my opinion, include:

1. Joe Hart (GK):

Top of the Premier League EA Sports Performance Index for a reason, at 516 points, he's 54 points clear of second placed Tim Krul. He also has 17 clean sheets to Krul's 15. He got crucial experience at South Africa, and was frankly unlucky not to be ahead of a poor David James and Rob Green

2. Ben Foster (GK):

I know what people are thinking, but he's improved his game. Like all goalkeepers, he can make a mistake, but he's cut them out of his game and is becoming a solid option. Never going to be a great no.1 but a solid no.2

3: John Ruddy (GK):

A surprise choice yes, but with Scott Carson playing in Turkey and with an error strewn career, he's not a good choice. With Rob Green in the nPower Championship until next year at least, John Ruddy's good start to the Premier League deserves a chance in an England shirt. Not convinced? You probably missed his performance against Arsenal. It even managed to trend on Twitter!

4. Ashley Cole (LB)

Not a very likeable man, granted but no doubt one of England's best players and one of the few of the Golden Generation to consistently perform. Vital experience too.

5. Leighton Baines (LB)

Unlucky that he has a world class LB ahead of him in Ashley Cole, but Baines is strong with set pieces, solid in link up play, and good defensively. Great cover.

6. Micah Richards (RB)

While I supported Capello, I could not refute that the exclusion of Micah Richards was moronic. A pacy, strong right back dropped for a flimsy and defensively naive Glen Johnson was madness. His ability to slip into the centre of defence with minimal fuss is another strong aspect

7. Kyle Walker (RB)

PFA Young Player of the Year, probably not the outstanding candidate or rightful winner, but shows how far he has come on at Spurs. Deserves a place at the Euro's.

8. John Terry (CB)

Not a popular choice granted, yes we can only have Ferdinand or Terry from now on, but would you seriously pick Ferdinand over Terry? Ferdinand's perennial injuries and without Vidic, has looked decidedly average. Terry, while an awful human being, is still a threat from set pieces and a strong, calming influence. Any sign of petulance, as he showed against Barcelona can not be tolerated.

9. Gary Cahill (CB)

Not the best centre back in the world, but again solid. Has a knack for scoring for England, a nice positive to his game. Starting to build a relationship with John Terry, that can only be good for England.

10. Joleon Lescott (CB)

Playing alongside a world class centre back in Vincent Kompany has improved him Lescott no end. Calm on the ball, strong, a must for England. Easily one of the most in form English players.

11. Chris Smalling (CB)

A mixed start, shown signs of being a top centre back, but has made mistakes. It'll be good experience for future tournaments by taking a future player. Capable, if not outstanding

12. Ashley Young (Wide)

As started previously, started at Man Utd on fire, before fading, and his recent resurgence is a good sign for England. Brings goals, and pace, can easily play behind a lone striker or on the wing. His ability to cut inside will allow a full back to overlap.

13. Adam Johnson (Wide)

Amazingly, rarely gets a game at City. Brings goals off the bench for City, and a true wide player. A variety of wide players allows for the team to adapt to other team's qualities. Decent crosser of the ball too, which is becoming more of a rarity.

14. James Milner (Wide)

Not a great player, but with a fantastic work rate, decent in possession, he'll do the hard work while others around them show their flair. Good option when England need a safer option.

15. Matt Jarvis

One of the few bright spots in a poor season for Wolves. A true winger who stays in wide positions and with a good range of crosses, tidy in possession. Good winger, better end product than Theo Walcott, if a little lacking in goals.

16. Steven Gerrard (Central)

Play him central, preferably NOT in a deep lying role and you've got someone who can create/score a vital goal and dictate a game, something England regularly lack. The best player of the Golden Generation has spent far too much time wasted on the wing to accommodate Lampard. Roy might be the one who breaks the trend.

17. Lampard (Central)

The definition of a goalscoring centre mid. The game might pass him by, but if he's playing behind a forward, it won't matter as much and he'd be a great goal threat. Probably best utilised off the bench.

18. Michael Carrick (Central)

Finally found some form, and consistent playing time. Leagues ahead of the poor Gareth Barry and should start whenever England play a 4-2-3-1 with two deep lying midfielders

19. Scott Parker (Central)

Jack Wilshere would take his place every time if he was fit, however he's not. While Parker is nowhere near as good as the London media and Spurs fans will tell you, he's decent just not spectacular, and frankly in that position he doesn't need to be. Against Spain he showed his work rate was inspirational and in the first half he was brilliant. Second half showed the other side to him, his needless spins on the spot gifted Spain two glorious chances that Fabregas missed.

20. Peter Crouch (Striker)

Comes in for a lot of stick, yet has a 1 in 2 record. Constantly criticised for not scoring against big teams, he went and scored against France recently. With Rooney suspended, Bent injured and if not, unlikely to be fully fit, Agbonlahor in bad form, who's a better option?

21. Grant Holt (Striker)

Unproven at England level, but is the second top English Premier League goalscorer behind Wayne Rooney. That alone deserves its chance. The ideal target man if England are to play a team weak aerially, will bring others into the game with his hold up play

22. Daniel Sturridge (Striker)

Goals in double figures forced out wide is a decent return. Has to eradicate the selfishness from his game, but with a bright future ahead, it's time he got England experience. He was MOTM against Holland after coming off the bench in Stuart Pearce's first and only England match in charge.

23. Wayne Rooney

Suspended, granted, usually useless at tournaments, granted, probably should be left at home, granted, but what better striker do we have? If he focuses on the task in hand, his work rate and goals would be invaluable if England make it out the group stages.


Starting Lineup:

4-4-2, while traditional, has had it's time. Like most teams, England should line up in a 4-2-3-1, but this doesn't mean England have to change. People criticise that we don't hold the ball like the Spanish, but we have pace and strength. Why change from our strengths? While not massively attractive, we beat Spain 1-0 doing so.


Goal: Joe Hart

Right Back: Micah Richards

Centre Back: John Terry

Centre Back: Joleon Lescott

Left Back: Ashley Cole

Holding Midfield: Michael Carrick

Holding Midfield: Scott Parker

Left Wing: Ashley Young

Right Wing: Adam Johnson

No10. role: Steven Gerrard

Striker: Peter Crouch

When Rooney is free from suspension, he can replace Peter Crouch, unless Crouch is in form.

Notable omissions:

Rio Ferdinand: Too many injuries, in decline as a footballer

Stewart Downing: Awful form at Liverpool

Glen Johnson: Poor defensively, risk not worth taking, 3rd choice right back

Tom Errington

Total articles: 9

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