Archive for February, 2012

My thoughts on: England’s Euro 2012 squad part III

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

The next England manager?

Plenty of things have changed since my last post, and I think these need reflecting in how I currently perceive the race for inclusion in England’s Euro 2012 squad. With Fabio Capello no longer the England manager, Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Redknapp appears to be the leading candidate to replace him, and I wonder how this will affect players’ chances of selection? The whole John Terry saga may momentarily be overshadowed by the Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra affair, however, there are many question marks over the Chelsea captain’s inclusion.

On the plane and in the squad
1. Joe Hart, Manchester City (GK) No change

2. Ashley Cole, Chelsea (DF) No change

3. Scott Parker, Tottenham Hotspur (MF) No change

4. Wayne Rooney, Manchester Utd (FW) No change
Rooney is beginning to find some form again for Manchester Utd, and if he continues to replicate this until the end of the season, it may just highlight how important he is to the national side’s chances of progressing further than the group stages

5. Glen Johnson, Liverpool (DF) Up 1
Beginning to look equally as comfortable in either full-back slot for Liverpool and is beginning to find some consistency in his game

6. Kyle Walker, Tottenham Hotspur (DF) Up 1

7. Gareth Barry, Manchester City (MF) Up 1

8. Danny Welbeck, Manchester Utd (FW) Up 2
Welbeck’s partnership with Wayne Rooney is looking increasingly dangerous as he is rapidly maturing

9. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool (MF) Up 6
There is plenty of clamour for Gerrard to take over the captain’s armband for country (again), and as he regains fitness for Liverpool, I can see him becoming a more integral feature of the Euro 2012 squad

10. John Terry, Chelsea (DF) Down 5
The whole Capello and removing Terry from captain’s duties fiasco has made his position slightly more intenable. The question of whether Terry should be playing for England for some is not related to his impending court case, but reflects that his form this season hasn’t been up to the standards he has set before. I no longer think he is a certainty to go

11. Phil Jones, Manchester Utd (DF) Down 2

12. James Milner, Manchester City (MF) Up 2

13. Joleon Lescott, Manchester City (DF) No change

14. Darren Bent, Aston Villa (FW) Down 2
After being managed, having his striking credentials questioned, and then sold by Harry Redknapp, Darren Bent may be forgiven for possibly not wanting his former manager taking charge of the national set-up. More importantly for Bent, Aston Villa are beginning to need to look over their shoulders at the sides below them as they continue to struggle for form

15. Gary Cahill, Chelsea (DF) Down 4
I would have thought Cahill’s move to the capital would have not only cemented his position in the England squad, but would also have also helped him in his quest for a regular starting place. However, he has only played one game for Chelsea since his transfer, in that they conceded 3, and it would appear that his manager is not that overwhelmed with this signing as he has been left on the bench in preference to others so far

16. Theo Walcott, Arsenal (MF/FW) Up 5
I think Theo Walcott’s place in the England squad may be debated throughout his career. This last week has seem him do well and possibly puts him slightly ahead of some of his competition for the wide births for this summer’s competition

17. Scott Carson, Bursaspor (GK) No change

18. Ashley Young, Manchester Utd (MF/FW) No change

19. Leighton Baines, Everton (DF) No change

20. Frank Lampard, Chelsea (MF) No change
If Uncle Harry is given the role, Frank Lampard may find his position in the squad is a little more secure than it was under Fabio Capello

21. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal (MF) Up 1
The youngster is continuing to impress at the Emirates Stadium, and I would almost go as far as saying that it may be a shock if he actually is not included now

22. Daniel Sturridge, Chelsea (FW) Up 3
Sturridge continues to look lively for Chelsea and is showing a willingness to track back and perform defensive duties when necessary. His form and ability is further highlighted by Chelsea’s general poor showing this year and Fernando Torres’ continued struggle in front of goal

23. Robert Green, West Ham Utd (GK) Up 15

Might just miss out
24. Adam Johnson, Manchester City (MF) No change

25. Rio Ferdinand, Manchester Utd (DF) Up 1
Ferdinand is now fit and back at the heart of Manchester Utd’s defence. It would not surprise me to see him wearing an England shirt in the summer, however, I can’t see him going as an understudy and he may take John Terry’s place in the squad

26. Chris Smalling, Manchester Utd (DF) Up 1

27. Jermain Defoe, Tottenham Hotspur (FW) Up 4
Although not in Harry Redknapp’s starting XI at White Hart Lane, Jermain Defoe may find his position in the England set-up strengthened as he won’t be competing with the likes of Adebayor and Van Der Vaart for a starting place

28. Bobby Zamora, Queens Park Rangers (FW) Down 5
Having scored on his debut, Zamora has been part of two defeats for his new team, and again, similar to Darren Bent, Zamora has history with Harry Redknapp

29. Jack Wilshere, Arsenal (MF) No change

30. Stewart Downing, Liverpool (MF) No change

May be a fair few in the queue before them
31. Aaron Lennon, Tottenham Hotspur (MF) Up 3
His return from injury may be very well timed, but Tottenham are flying, and much may rely on how much game time at club level Redknapp affords the winger between now and the summer before he can be assured a place on the plane

32. Andy Carroll, Liverpool (FW) No change

Now Capello has gone, will Richards get a chance?

33. Micah Richards, Manchester City (DF) Up 3
The cheers in the Richards household must have been emphatic on the news that Capello had resigned. This now makes the fight for right-back very interesting with Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker both performing well currently whilst Richards remains many people’s choice for England right-back

34. Micahel Dawson, Tottenham Hotspur (DF) Up 10
The possible appointment of his club manager may see him leapfrog Phil Jagielka for a place in the final squad

35. Paul Scholes, Manchester Utd (MF) New Entry
I was appauled when it became knowledge that Fabio Capello had tried to tempt the Manchester Utd midfielder out of international retirement for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. With Harry Redknapp expected to become the new England manager, Paul Scholes returning to playing and Redknapp’s recent exclamation means that I wouldn’t rule him out of a startling return to the international scene. A step backwards I would say

A dramatic return for Scholes?

36. Ledley King, Tottenham Hotspur (DF) New Entry
King oozes ability, if only his knees were up to it. However, again, like some of his teammates, the potential appointment of Redknapp may provide him with an international opportunity

37. Michael Carrick, Manchester Utd (MF) No change

38. Phil Jagielka, Everton (DF) Down 10
Currently injured whilst others are playing well. His chances of making the final squad I think are looking slimmer

39. Scott Sinclair, Swansea City (MF) Down 6

Have you booked your holiday yet?
40. Joe Cole, Lille (MF) Up 2

41. Peter Crouch, Stoke City (FW) No change

42. Danny Graham, Swansea City (FW) Up 7
He is still scoring goals but would represent a huge gamble. He may get an opportunity next season if his form continues

43. Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa (FW) Down 8

44. Jack Rodwell, Everton (MF) Down 4

45. Tom Cleverley, Manchester Utd (MF) No change

46. Liam Ridgewell, West Bromwich Albion (DF) Down 7

47. Kieran Gibbs, Arsenal (DF) Down 4

48. David Stockdale, Fulham (GK) Down 32
Mark Schwarzer has returned to keep goal for the Cottagers and I can only see Stockdale going as third choice and for experience

49. Martin Kelly, Liverpool (DF) Down 1

50. Nathan Dyer, Swansea City (MF) No change


My thoughts on: England’s Euro 2012 squad part II

February 2, 2012 3 comments

Following on from my previous blog and with England’s one and only pre-tournament friendly drawing in, competition for places in Fabio Capello’s squad continues to be a pertinent issue. With the January transfer window now closed, and a number of fixtures taking place since my initial review, I think there have been some notable changes in my list.

On the plane and in the squad

1. Joe Hart, Manchester City (GK) No change

2. Ashley Cole, Chelsea (DF) No change

3. Scott Parker, Tottenham Hotspur (MF) No change

4. Wayne Rooney, Manchester Utd (FW) No change
Despite being ineligible for the first two games of the tournament and currently being injured and out of form, there is no way Capello won’t take him

John Terry is likely to lead England this summer

5. John Terry, Chelsea (DF) No change
Missed Chelsea’s draw in Wales at Swansea City and he still has the court case hanging over his head. However, the news this week that the hearing will now take place after the European Championships is likely to mean that Terry will keep his place in the squad and the captaincy

6. Glen Johnson, Liverpool (DF) Up 1

7. Kyle Walker, Tottenham Hotspur (DF) Up 1

8. Gareth Barry, Manchester City (MF) Up 1

9. Phil Jones, Manchester Utd (DF) Down 3
Although not playing poorly, he is struggling to rekindle some of the early season form he showed in the Autumn. Injuries have certainly not helped, and he will hope that he will find fitness and form at the right time

10. Danny Welbeck, Manchester Utd (FW) Up 2
Goals at Manchester City in the FA Cup and at Arsenal in the league and his ommision against Stoke City appear to show that Welbeck is the current first choice partner for Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford. I think this is likely to continue and he may have a shout of being England’s number one striker come the summer

11. Gary Cahill, Chelsea (DF) Down 1
I expected his move to Stamford Bridge would cement a partnership with John Terry at international level, however, three games in and he is yet to kick a ball. His exclusion surprises me, particularly considering the lengthy pursuit Chelsea endured to get their man. I doubt he will remain on the bench for long, however, he needs to be playing in order to be selected

12. Darren Bent, Aston Villa (FW) Down 1

13. Joleon Lescott, Manchester City (DF) Up 1

14. James Milner, Manchester City (MF) Up 1

15. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool (MF) Up 2
His steady return to fitness will, I believe, cement his role in the final 23. A fit Steven Gerrard with his drive and experience could be a useful asset for England

16. David Stockdale, Fulham (GK) Up 5
17. Scott Carson, Bursaspor (GK) Up 5
Whoever is in the squad for England’s next friendly are likely to got to the European Championships as back-up to Joe Hart. I doubt there will be any surprises in this role although Rob Green may get a shout

18. Ashley Young, Manchester Utd (MF) Down 5
What is worrying is that Young has only played in excess of 75 minutes of football on two occasions since that 1-6 defeat at home to Manchester City in October. Young needs to return to fitness soon as he offers pace and, more importantly, an end product, an attribute that some of the other options available to Capello don’t consistently provide

19. Leighton Baines, Everton (DF) Up 11
After another inspiring performance by the Everton full-back against Manchester City, coupled with Ashley Cole’s dismissal at Swansea City, I think with the uncertainty of who may play out wide in midfield, this may dictate that an actual left-back by trade would be more prudent to take as support to Cole rather than consider playing Glen Johnson or Joleon Lescott out of position if the need necessitates

20. Frank Lampard, Chelsea (MF) Down 4
Lampard continues to have a difficult season. Not only is he no longer seen as first choice at Stamford Bridge, but he also currently injured. The fitness of Jack Wilshere may influence Lampard’s international career being extended into the summer, but, with Chelsea’s apparent lack of creativity and goals of late, Lampard may find himself becoming a key member for the Blues which won’t do his chances any harm at all

21. Theo Walcott, Arsenal (MF) Down 2

He's been dubbed the new Theo Walcott... I hope he's not!

22. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal (MF) Up 12
After his recent performance against Manchester Utd and his inclusion against Aston Villa in the FA Cup, the indications are that the former Southampton winger may become a more pivotal figure for Arsene Wenger. I think he has a good chance of making the squad, particularly with Stewart Downing, Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson all struggling for form and Ashley Young currently injured; arguably he is the in-form winger at the moment

23. Bobby Zamora, Queens Park Rangers (FW) Up 2
His move across London is an interesting one. He has swapped competing with Moussa Dembele, Bryan Ruiz, Andrew Johnson, Orlanda Sa and Fulham’s new signing, Pavel Pogrebnyak, for a regular start, for a relegation battle with his former manager Mark Hughes. I would guess the logic behind this is that he may feel he will get more opportunity to impress Fabio Capello at Loftus Road as he, and QPR supporters, will hope he forms a quick understanding with fellow new signing Djibril Cisse

Might just miss out

24. Adam Johnson, Manchester City (MF) Down 4

25. Daniel Sturridge, Chelsea (FW) Down 2

26. Rio Ferdinand, Manchester Utd (DF) No change

27. Chris Smalling, Manchester Utd (DF) No change

28. Phil Jagielka, Everton (DF) No change

Wilshere's injury has stopped him playing this summer and is likely to mean he misses Euro 2012

29. Jack Wilshere, Arsenal (MF) Down 11
Arsenal have missed Jack Wilshere desperately this season, and it would have been nice to see him in an England shirt to see him continue his good start to his international career. The news this week that he has endured a stress fracture of his heel whilst recovering from injury, I fear may mean that he misses out on this tournament

30. Stewart Downing, Liverpool (MF) Down 6

Probably can take the phone of the hook

31. Jermain Defoe, Tottenham Hotspur (FW) Down 2
Things are going great for Defoe at the minute, which sounds odd as his record shows that when given the chance at Tottenham, he scores. However, most recently, his miss away at Manchester City and the rumours that were rife surrounding a possible departure, may reflect that Defoe is no longer considered indispensible. He may need to infiltrate the seemingly preferred partnership of Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael van der Vaart if he is going to make it to the tournament

32. Andy Carroll, Liverpool (FW) Up 1
His performance at Wolverhampton Wanderers will be something that the Liverpool supporters will want to see continue. If Carroll is going to manage to get into Capello’s thoughts, I think he is going to have to really raise his game and continue to put in these sort of performances, coupled with goals, and get about it fairly quickly

33. Scott Sinclair, Swansea City (MF/FW) Up 2
I would love for Sinclair to be given an opportunity in England’s friendly against Holland later this month; particularly with other players being injured or out of form. His, like Swansea’s, first season in the Premier League, has been a good one, and, as I stated at the start of the season, I think he is a future England international

34. Aaron Lennon, Tottenham Hotspur (MF) Down 3

35. Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa (FW) Down 3

36. Micah Richards, Manchester City (DF) Up 3

37. Michael Carrick, Manchester Utd (MF) Up 6

38. Robert Green, West Ham Utd (GK) New Entry

39. Liam Ridgewell, West Bromwich Albion (DF) New Entry
I like Liam Ridgewell and am surprised that many other teams didn’t show an interest in a player who has shown versatility in playing both central and at left back. At Birmingham City, he showed that not only was he becoming an accomplished defender, he was also a danger in opposition penalty areas. With Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs still injured, I am struggling to find a realistic alternative to Ashley Cole or Leighton Baines at left back

Get the sun tan lotion and speedos out; you’ll be going somewhere sunnier

40. Jack Rodwell, Everton (MF) Down 3

41. Peter Crouch, Stoke City (FW) No change

42. Joe Cole, Lille (MF) No change

43. Kieran Gibbs, Arsenal (DF) Down 7

44. Michael Dawson, Tottenham Hotspur (DF) Down 6

45. Tom Cleverley, Manchester Utd (MF) Up 5

46. Jordan Henderson, Liverpool (MF) No change

47. Stephen Warnock, Aston Villa (DF) No change

48. Martin Kelly, Liverpool (DF) Down 8

49. Danny Graham, Swansea City (FW) No change

50. Nathan Dyer, Swansea City (MF) Down 5