Home > England, Euro 2012, Fabio Capello, Football > My thoughts on: the England Euro 2012 squad race

My thoughts on: the England Euro 2012 squad race

Can Capello and England get it right this time?

The European Championships are due to be held in Poland and Ukraine commencing on June 8th. England obviously failed to qualify for the finals of the previous tournament in Austria and Switzerland and achieved nationwide derision for their showing in South Africa in the 2010 World Cup finals. With this in mind, the squad that Fabio Capello assembles to represent our nation in Eastern Europe has a huge amount of responsibility in terms of redressing the poor performances in the previous two competitions as well as offering optimism for the new incoming national team manager.

With a little over 4 months remaining of this current season, I thought it be interesting to begin to predict how the final squad of 23 will look and map this as individual and team performances fluctuate between now and the summer; basically this will be a dynamic list that I will update periodically

The top 23 – current rankings of who I think Fabio Capello will select

1. Joe Hart, Manchester City (GK)
Literally the first name on the team sheet and secured of his starting berth barring anything cataclysmic happening between now and the plane departing

2. Ashley Cole, Chelsea (DF)
Has been arguably one of England’s most reliable performers for a number of years now and I don’t think has any real competition for his place

3. Scott Parker, Tottenham Hotspur (MF)
For far too long Scott Parker was overlooked for England in my opinion, and finally his consistency and combativeness has been rewarded with regular selection. His importance to how Capello has begun to shape his formation is as critical as his role is in Harry Redknapp’s championship contenders

4. Wayne Rooney, Manchester Utd (FW)
There was plenty of discussion around the prospect of omitting Rooney from the final squad pending his 3-match ban for the act of stupidity against Montenegro in October. His international, and more lately, domestic form, have equally been questioned, but Rooney remains one of the few players who have the ability to ‘make things happen’. The reduction of his ban to two games I think means that there is no doubt whatsoever that he will have a squad number

5. John Terry, Chelsea (DF)
Terry’s role for England provokes much debate, and his inclusion may ultimately rely on the outcome of his court appearance on February 1st. However, if we are solely assessing footballing merit, I think Capello will select Terry and will only debate whether he gets the captain’s armband or not

6. Phil Jones, Manchester Utd (DF/MF)
The former Blackburn Rovers player has received many admirers this season although he is a long way from a polished gem yet. His athleticism, speed and versatility, I think are traits that Capello will want in his squad, although it is difficult to second-guess the Italian as to where he sees him fitting into the team; full-back, centre-half or central midfield

7. Glen Johnson, Liverpool (DF)
I think Johnson remains Fabio Capello’s first choice right-back, despite the consistency of Manchester City’s Micah Richards. What may prove an issue for him though is Kyle Walker’s form at Tottenham Hotspur and whether Capello chooses him ahead of the Liverpool man, and relies on Phil Jones’ versatility to allow options for other positions elsewhere in the squad

8. Kyle Walker, Tottenham Hotspur (DF)
The former Sheffield Utd full-back has consistently been rated as a player with a bright future. His performances for Tottenham Hotspur this season, seeing off the competition of internationals Alan Hutton and Vedran Corluka, to assert himself as one of the most attacking full-backs in the Premier League can only be topped with his assured debut for England against Sweden. I think he is very real competition for Glen Johnson (although I think Micah Richards should be selected ahead of Johnson anyway)

9. Gareth Barry, Manchester City (MF)
A stalwart of the Capello reign, Barry has the ability to drift through games without being noticed too much. From what I’ve seen of Manchester City this season, he plays an integral role, however, I believe there remains questions over his agility and fitness (with visions of that German goal still very real) with regards to him truly being dubbed ‘international class’. His role may likely depend on what formation Capello opts for

England will hope the Cahill/Terry club partnership will reap dividends

10. Gary Cahill, Chelsea (DF)
Chelsea’s newest acquisition may have assured his place in the England squad by moving to the capital. His partnership at club level with John Terry may not only be a benefit for the Chelsea captain and his club, but the England coaching staff may also be forgiven for hoping that 4 months playing together on a weekly basis will be a solid foundation for a centre-half pairing at the finals

11. Darren Bent, Aston Villa (FW)
Aston Villa’s leading striker hasn’t been firing on all cylinders so far this season, however, it would probably be fair to say that neither has anyone at Villa Park. Bent though remains a real threat whenever he plays and is capable of playing the lone striker role which Capello seemingly prefers. I think he is the current incumbant of the number 9 shirt, however, how much game time Messrs Welbeck and Sturridge get may dictate if that remains the case

12. Danny Welbeck, Manchester Utd (FW)
Although Welbeck remains without an international goal and has had a gentle introduction to the England set-up, his growing prominence in a Manchester Utd shirt will be hard to ignore if he continues in the same manner as he has done so far this season

13. Ashley Young, Manchester Utd (MF/FW)
Although Young’s impact since signing from Aston Villa in the summer may have been curtailed somewhat by his injury, his performances for England have been steadily getting better over the last two years. A fit Ashley Young is an excellent attacking asset and he will hope his form returns quickly when he comes back from this current setback

14. Joleon Lescott, Manchester City (DF)
Has begun to add consistency to his game playing alongside Vincent Kompany and his performance, alongside Phil Jagielka, and the fact he is left-sided, I think may have secured his spot. A lot may depend on whether Capello wants to go with the Evertonian or give Rio Ferdinand one last hurrah

15. James Milner, Manchester City (MF)
Milner’s versatility and honesty has won him many plaudits in both an England and City shirt. I remain unsure whether he can truly compete for a starting position but I think Capello is an admirer. There is a lot of competition in midfield at the minute and Milner is one of many that could be left sitting at the airport

16. Frank Lampard, Chelsea (MF)
Many predicted that Lampard’s England career was over and now the same people are clamouring to draw a curtain on his time with Chelsea too. The problem is though that Lampard continues to do what he is good at, and that is being a goalscoring midfielder. One of the ‘golden generation’, finally not given an automatic starting place, however, I wonder whether Capello will take both him and Steven Gerrard

17. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool (MF)
Gerrard’s return to fitness couldn’t have been timed better as they have to live with the prolonged absence of Luis Suarez. However, Gerrard’s re-emergence could also prove to be vital for England as if he manages to reach the heights he has done previously, he could well fill Wayne Rooney’s role in England’s first two matches. He desperately needs to steer clear of injuries

18. Jack Wilshere, Arsenal (MF)
Yet to kick a ball in competitive action this season and Wilshere, I think, is still likely to make it onto the plane such is the belief in the young Arsenal midfielder. If he’s fit and playing I doubt Capello will leave him behind

19. Theo Walcott, Arsenal (MF/FW)
Walcott narrowly missed out on the debacle of South Africa and pledged to make it a more difficult decision next time. For me, he too often goes missing in games, however, his pace continues to frighten defenders. Arsenal’s wayward season isn’t helping his cause, however, Stewart Downing’s and Adam Johnson’s inconsistency may allow him to keep his place

20. Adam Johnson, Manchester City (MF)
Despite struggling for form recently for Manchester City, Johnson remains an excellent impact player for England and I think it may be a fight between him, Walcott and Downing for two spots… unless of course Capello opts to be more attacking and take 5 forwards that is

21. David Stockdale, Fulham (GK)
22. Scott Carson, Bursaspor (GK)
English goalkeepers seem very keen to not play for England/for Fabio Capello, and with the dominance of Joe Hart as number 1, the two back-up ‘keepers seem to be resigned to a little relaxing holiday. These two seem to be currently playing second and third fiddle

23. Daniel Sturridge, Chelsea (FW)
Sturridge has openly been critical of his lack of game time for Chelsea, and to be fair, he is their leading striker in terms of goals. In addition to that, his performances at the end of the last campaign at the Reebok Stadium, and you would think his place in the England squad would be more secure. Unless Sturridge gets to play a bigger role in Chelsea’s run-in he could see himself considering a role for the Olympic team instead

Make sure you’ve got 6 months on your passport

24. Stewart Downing, Liverpool (MF)
Consistency and goalscoring continues to be an issue for Downing, and with a number of other options, I think he will miss out

25. Bobby Zamora, Fulham (FW)
Fabio Capello likes to have a physical presence up front and it would appear that Fulham’s Bobby Zamora fits the bill. He does appear to be slightly out of favour at Craven Cottage at the minute and unless that situation improves, he may find his one and only chance of appearing on the big stage disappears. If he scores goals regularly between  now and the end of the season, I think he will go in place of either Bent or Sturridge

Rio Ferdinand: Still an England international?

26. Rio Ferdinand, Manchester Utd (DF)
In my eyes, Ferdinand’s England career is over. There are plenty of alternatives and with his age and injuries, he appears to no longer have the aura about him which resulted in his multi-million pound moves to both Elland Road and Old Trafford. I’m still not sure though that Capello shares my judgement

27. Chris Smalling, Manchester Utd (DF)
Much has been made of the former Fulham defender this year, however, for me, I still don’t know what to make of him. He’s played at full-back, but I think centre-half will ultimately where is career will lie. Not quite good enough yet and I’m not sure what Capello would get out of taking him

28. Phil Jagielka, Everton (DF)
Partnered Gary Cahill superbly in the friendly against Spain, and continues to be an integral cog in the Everton side and one of the most sought after defenders in the Premier League. His recent injury may prove to scupper his hopes of making the trip, however, the impact of injuries elsewhere in the squad may dictate the final outcome. If Wilshere is unfit, Capello may see Phil Jones as a holding midfielder; equally the outcome of John Terry’s court case may lead to an opening but I think Jagielka may once again miss out on playing on the biggest stage

29. Jermain Defoe, Tottenham Hotspur (FW)
Once a Capello favourite and often repaid him with goals. Now, he is playing back-up to Emanuel Adebayor and Rafael van der Vaart at White Hart Lane, and unless he can oust either of them, I doubt whether Defoe will get a ticket

30. Leighton Baines, Everton (DF)
Possibly Ashley Cole’s reserve, however, with Glen Johnson and Joleon Lescott both showing versatility, Leighton Baines may see himself omitted as a method of fulfilling more attacking options in the squad

Probably won’t need to wait for a call

Will Andy Carroll get another opportunity in an England shirt?

31. Aaron Lennon, Tottenham Hotspur (MF)
32. Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa (FW)
33. Andy Carroll, Liverpool (FW)
34. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal (MF)
35. Scott Sinclair, Swansea City (MF/FW)
36. Kieran Gibbs, Arsenal (DF)
37. Jack Rodwell, Everton (MF)
38. Michael Dawson, Tottenham Hotspur (DF)
39. Micah Richards, Manchester City (DF)



Book your holidays, I doubt you’ll be heading to the European Championships

Joe Cole appears to be enjoying French football

40. Martin Kelly, Liverpool (DF)
41. Peter Crouch, Stoke City (FW)
42. Joe Cole, Lille (MF)
43. Michael Carrick, Manchester Utd (MF)
44. Leon Britten, Swansea City (MF)
45. Nathan Dyer, Swansea City (MF)
46. Jordan Henderson, Liverpool (MF)
47. Stephen Warnock, Aston Villa (DF)
48. Danny Simpson, Newcastle Utd (DF)
49. Danny Graham, Swansea City (FW)
50. Tom Cleverley, Manchester Utd (MF)

  1. February 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    theo walcott will be the next super stars of England…. the next michael owen

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