By Lee Jaundrell 12/5/12
On Wednesday Roy Hodgson will name his England squad, if he is struggling to choose the players, I’m going to help him. I am going to pick the squad for him, it will be a combination of the players I would pick, along with the players I think will suit Hodgson’s style of play and tactics. This won’t necessarily be my ultimate squad. Well here goes;-
Joe Hart is an automatic choice, the best English keeper around at the moment. Ben Foster has improved since leaving Man Utd and playing regular football, he still has a tendency to push shots back into danger but is a decent back up. Hodgson will probably try and bring him out of his England self exclusion. Scott Carson was a bright, young up and coming goalkeeper, who had his confidence smashed by that fateful night against Croatia. He has talent, if that belief comes back, then he is a solid third choice keeper.
I would like to see Cahill and Lescott starting in the centre of defence, they have both had excellent seasons, and are arguably the form central defenders. John Terry is left out due to the probable negative effect he would have on the squad. He caused problems in South Africa and his record isn’t great since. Ferdinand goes instead, he will probably start, and barring injuries I’d expect him to have an excellent tournament.
Johnson would be my first choice right back, with Micah Richards the back up. Kyle Walker is quick and talented, great going forward but with occasional defensive lapses, basically a younger version of Johnson. I’ve chosen Richards instead due to his ability to play in the centre, he has generally played second fiddle to the brilliant Zabaleta but when called upon he has been strong and aggressive going forward, while dependable at the back.
Phil Jones is the other covering player, who is versatile, and could cover right back, centre half, or play in midfield. This could be needed this summer.
I have chosen just Cole at left back, as Johnson and Lescott can both cover. It’s a shame for Leighton Baines, but needs must.
I am presuming England will play 4-4-2, with the choice of Johnson, Walcott or Milner on the right, Young or Milner on the left. I actually expect Milner and Young to start, with the pace of Walcott or the trickery of Johnson being brought on if needed. In the centre for me it’s Barry plus another. The same Barry who looked like he was going backwards when Ozil sped past him in South Africa. He is one of the first names on Man City’s teamsheet, and holds City together with his defensive awareness and simple but effective passing. He may lack pace, but his anticipation and experience more than makes up for it. He is ten times the player of the press darling but headless chicken who is Scott Parker. Saying that Parker would go to the Euros too.
Gerrard will probably play as the second striker in the absence of Rooney in the first 2 games, so Lampard should start alongside Barry. Yes, lets go back to the future. Chelsea have turned their season around, and that is in no small part due to Frank Lampard. He was superb in both games against Barcelona, especially when going down to 10 men in the Nou Camp. If Jack Wilshire had been fit, Lampard may have been surplus to requirements, but needs must, and Frank’s in.
Hodgson has already stated Rooney will be in the squad, and will start when free from suspension, but who else goes. Who suits Hodgson’s tactics, who could cause problems for International defences? I’ve gone for big Andy Carroll. If you have read anything by me this season, you’ll know I’ve been quite critical of ‘ponytail’, but in the past few weeks we have seen glimpses of the beast unleashed. The player we all hoped he would be. Don’t get carried away they are only glimpses. A last minute winner against Blackburn, a late winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton, through in the barn storming cameo in the final against Chelsea, when he scored one and was unlucky not to have taken it to extra time. He also bullied Terry and Ivanovic in the league game the following Tuesday. Carroll is not only in the squad, he starts against France!
Crouch has his detractors and will always have them. But as target men go he is excellent. He holds the ball well, has great feet, and causes problems with his height. Throw in his record of 22 goals from 42 internationals, who else would you want coming on with 20 minutes play when you’re a goal down?
There’s a case to take Jermain Defoe, but I would rather take a couple of youngsters, who could prosper. Welbeck as shown some class at times this season, and for the most part as kept Hernandez out of the Man Utd team. He has a good playing relationship with Rooney, which may be needed.
Sturridge is young, greedy, a bad decision maker, doesn’t work hard enough for the team and wouldn’t fit well into a Roy Hodgson team. But he has time on his side, could learn to become the striker he thinks he already is. He scored 8 from 12 games during a loan spell to Bolton playing as a striker, and has 11 from 28 league games this season playing on the right of a front 3 with Chelsea. I’d take him, he may not get a game, but that could do him the world of good.
There you go, the squad for Euro 2012. I still think it’ll struggle to get out of the group but fingers crossed.