Home > England, Euro 2012, Football, Internationals > My thoughts on: England’s Euro 2012 squad part IV

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

I’ve had a little time to reflect on how the England squad is going to look since my last blog, and I think the last month has provided more questions than answers. No longer does Harry Redknapp look the certainty to manage England into the Championships as Tottenham Hotspur’s domestic form has seen a recent wobble; his role next season may well depend if he fancies another tilt at the Champions League or not if Spurs manage to hold onto their top-four position. Stuart Pearce was put in charge for the friendly against Holland selected a rather youthful looking side which, in my opinion, once again looked completely outclassed at times by a much superior opponent. Anyway, here’s the latest standings as I see it:

On the plane, packed and raring to go

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

2. Scott Parker, Tottenham Hotspur (MF) Up 1
It is remarkable to review Scott Parker’s international fortunes since he broke into the Charlton Athletic team as a teenager. Aged 31, he was given the captaincy in the recent friendly defeat to Holland in what was only his 11th cap; eight and a bit years after making his England debut. Most likely candidate I think to captain England in the tournament too

3. Wayne Rooney, Manchester Utd (FW) Up 1
Bang in form and banging in the goals for Manchester Utd; it is becoming increasingly likely that Rooney’s suspension could be much more costly than initially anticipated

4. Glen Johnson, Liverpool (DF) Up 1

Ashley Cole, still likely to be England's left back this summer

5. Ashley Cole, Chelsea (DF) Down 3
Although Ashley Cole played against Stoke City last weekend, he has been struggling with injuries and form. Chelsea clearly have problems, however, I wonder how much of these will change now Roberto Di Matteo has been put in temporary charge? I’m still confident Cole will be given the number 3 shirt this summer

6. Leighton Baines, Everton (DF) Up 13
The Everton full-back will be watching Ashley Cole and Chelsea’s form closely as his and Everton’s recent performance continue to impress

7. Ashley Young, Manchester Utd (MF) Up 11
I think both England and Manchester Utd are grateful to see the former Aston Villa winger return from injury as he continues to try to rediscover some form. He offers a goal threat for England, is able to play across the front-line, and is one of the few players we have who is capable of running with the ball. I think the bigger question is where will he play in the starting XI? Wide left, right or centre?

8. Danny Welbeck, Manchester Utd (FW) No change

9. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool (MF) No change
Was fairly disappointing against Holland whilst on the field, but as was the rest of the team I thought. However, if Gerrard can shake off his injuries, his driving runs could be something that England rely on in the absence of Wayne Rooney in the first two games

10. Rio Ferdinand, Manchester Utd (DF) Up 15
This is the first time I have put Rio Ferdinand in the squad, and, just like Manchester Utd, I think he has timed his return to form just at the right time. I think he will prove to be pivotal in the title run-in, and having endured what was a fairly uninspiring defensive performance against Holland, there may be a need for a more experienced head at the heart of the defence; and I don’t think it will be John Terry

Possibly England's future... but is he the England now?

11. Phil Jones, Manchester Utd (DF/MF) No change
The more I see Phil Jones, the more I am impressed with his athleticism and pace; however, I think he really needs to improve his positional sense, which is possibly being hindered by him being employed in a number of different positions. That aside, I think he will go, however, if it was up to me, it wouldn’t be so clear-cut

12. James Milner, Manchester City (MF) No change

13. Theo Walcott, Arsenal (MF) Up 3
I find Theo Walcott incredibly frustrating. For England he rarely shines, but for Arsenal, I am often impressed with his directness and ability to get the ball into danger areas. I think his position in the squad may finally be cemented

14. Gareth Barry, Manchester City (MF) Down 7
I thought once again that against nippy and technical opposition, Gareth Barry can easily be exposed. I can’t fault his commitment but I think his inclusion in the squad could begin to be questioned

15. Kyle Walker, Tottenham Hotspur (DF) Down 9
A couple of months ago, the right back position was all sewn up with Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker set to battle it out to be first choice. However, Fabio Capello resigns, Manchester City’s Micah Richards comes back into contention, and all of a sudden it is game on. Walker will hope his form doesn’t suffer as Tottenham’s season comes to a close

16. Micah Richards, Manchester City (DF) Up 17
Richards provides cover for both right back and centre half, so could be a viable inclusion in the squad now Capello has left. There has been a fair few calls for his inclusion, but much will depend if, whoever is in charge, wants to take 3 right-backs, or whether they see the versatility that both Richards and Johnson can offer?

17. Scott Carson, Bursaspor (GK) No change

18. Daniel Sturridge, Chelsea (FW) Up 4
Offers width, pace and trickery. It would have been nice if he put his chance away against Holland rather than face the proposition of him, Welbeck and Campbell being England’s first three forwards and neither of them managing an international goal as yet

19. Gary Cahill, Chelsea (DF) Down 4
Unfortunately for him, I think Gary Cahill’s reputation is suffering from being part of what is a fairly calamitous period for Chelsea by their standards. The performance of his partnership with Chris Smalling against Holland wouldn’t have done him any favours either (although I don’t think Smalling is at all ready for international football yet); however, his superbly taken goal will hopefully remind people that he is a fairly decent footballer

20. Adam Johnson, Manchester City (MF) Up 4
I have had Adam Johnson floating around the cut-off mark since I began listing who I thought would make it into the squad. I still feel he has something to offer, however, I don’t think he can be assured a place until he gets that phone call

21. Stewart Downing, Liverpool (MF) Up 9
I thought Stewart Downing’s chance had gone with his continual disappointing shows in an England shirt and the promising start to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Arsenal career. However, his inclusion in Stuart Pearce’s squad makes me think that he is still in with a shout of making it onto the plane

22. Jermain Defoe, Tottenham Hotspur (FW) Up 5
I think Defoe is the player who is most likely to benefit from Darren Bent’s misfortune

23. Robert Green, West Ham Utd (GK) No change

On the fringes

24. Chris Smalling, Manchester Utd (DF) Up 2

25. John Terry, Chelsea (DF) Down 15
I have a feeling that John Terry will miss out and his England career has come to an end. I can’t see both him and Rio Ferdinand being selected in the same squad, and I think there is possibly a need for some experience alongside what is a fairly inexperienced set of centre halves; and with Ferdinand and Manchester Utd in form, and more importantly, out of the papers, I think that Terry will be the one who misses out

26. Frank Lampard, Chelsea (MF) Down 6
He needs to begin to find form; so do Chelsea

Frazier Campbell deserves some fortune having been terribly unlucky with injuries

27. Fraizer Campbell, Sunderland (FW) New Entry
A surprising inclusion in the squad against Holland but with Darren Bent’s injury, there weren’t that many other viable alternatives. I’m sure he will be as surprised as anybody if he ends his season at the European Championships

28. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal (MF) Down 7
I was surprised to see he wasn’t selected by Stuart Pearce, particularly as he appears to be a player in form and shows no lack of confidence and a fairly mature manner for an inexperienced player. I thought he might the Michael Owen or Theo Walcott of this summer’s tournament, however, that omission may indicate that this is a tournament too soon

29. Joleon Lescott, Manchester City (DF) Down 16
I think Lescott has had a superb season and would put him ahead of other likely candidates coveting that centre half position, namely Chris Smalling. He was left out of the Holland match squad and this may mean he is a bit further down the list of candidates than I originally thought

30. Tom Cleverley, Manchester Utd (MF) Up 15

Hoping for injuries and loss form by others

31. Jack Wilshere, Arsenal (MF) Down 2
Despite him not kicking a ball this season, and his comeback consistently put off, I still think that if he gets some games under his belt before the end of the season, whoever is in charge may be tempted to pick him

32. Darren Bent, Aston Villa (FW) Down 18
Hugely unfortunate to be injured which is likely to now mean he won’t be going to the European Championships… still fancy his chances ahead of Bobby Zamora though!

33. Aaron Lennon, Tottenham Hotspur (MF) Down 2

34. Andy Carroll, Liverpool (FW) Down 2

35. Michael Carrick, Manchester Utd (MF) Up 2
Whilst watching the game against Holland I considered why, if Gareth Barry is playing, why wasn’t Michael Carrick? I’m not saying that either of them should be, but, Carrick does have the ability to be almost metronome-esque in his ability to keep the ball moving and holding onto possession in a much more stylish way than Barry

36. Paul Scholes, Manchester Utd (MF) Down 1

37. Bobby Zamora, Fulham (FW) Down 9
Unfortunately, I think Zamora’s season has taken a huge turn for the worse. Left Fulham and joined relegation threatened QPR and now appears to have seen his fledgling England career disappear

38. Phil Jagielka, Everton (DF) No change

39. Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa (FW) Up 4

Sun tan lotion, check, swimming trunks, check, WAG, check

40. Scott Sinclair, Swansea City (MF) Down 1

41. Kieran Gibbs, Arsenal (DF) Up 6

42. Jack Rodwell, Everton (MF) Up 2

43. Peter Crouch, Stoke City (FW) Down 2

44. Liam Ridgewell, West Bromwich Albion (DF) Up 2

45. Ledley King, Tottenham Hotspur (DF) Down 9
His inclusion is possibly most likely dependant on Harry Redknapp being given the position prior to the Championships

46. Danny Graham, Swansea City (FW) Down 4

47. Michael Dawson, Tottenham Hotspur (DF) Down 13
His injury is more likely to be a bigger blow to Tottenham than for England

48. David Stockdale, Fulham (GK) No change

49. Martin Kelly, Liverpool (DF) No change

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

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