England manager Roy Hodgson has announced his 23-man squad for Euro 2012, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the surprise inclusion of the squad.
Among those whose places seemed uncertain, John Terry, Stewart Downing, Jermain Defoe and Andy Carroll have all been included in the squad.
Addressing the media this afternoon, Hodgson announced that Liverpool's Steven Gerrard will be captain at Euro 2012. The England manager appears to have drawn on his time at Liverpool to make the decision.
"I know him as a player and a person and how committed he is to the England cause," said Hodgson.
"He will help me build the team unity and environment we need to thrive in a tournament."
Arsenal winger Oxlade-Chamberlain has started just six Premier League games for Arsenal, and caretaker England manager Stuart Pearce opted against bringing him into the squad for the friendly against the Netherlands in February. Including the 18-year-old in the Euro 2012 squad appears Hodgson's biggest risk and will draw comparisons with the time Sven Goran-Eriksson selected the uncapped Theo Walcott for the 2006 World Cup.
Hodgson said of the decision: "He is a very, very exciting player. He's given one or two performances that have made quite an impression on me."
The only other uncapped player joining the Arsenal winger on the plane to Poland and Ukraine is Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy.
Among the most notable players who miss out are Rio Ferdinand, Aaron Lennon, Peter Crouch, Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge.
Talking about his selections today, former Fulham and West Brom manager Hodgson said: "It's not been an easy squad to put together but I'm pleased with the squad I've put together and I think it's a well balanced squad."
It had emerged last night that Manchester United defender Ferdinand would miss out, and his exclusion is likely to raise the most eyebrows. His club manager, Alex Ferguson, recently publicly questioned the 33-year-old's ability to handle the rigours of tournament football. It means Ferdinand, despite making 81 caps, will never have represented England at a European Championships.
Ferdinand's exclusion cleared the way for Chelsea captain Terry to take his place among the squad - a decision that Hodgson admitted upon his appointment was one of his toughest calls. The exclusion of Ferdinand on fitness grounds has made it somewhat easier, and Hodgson today insisted it was on football grounds alone that Ferdinand was not in the squad.
"It's a football decision. He's only played for England once in the last year. It was a hard phone call to make, but it's based on football - nothing else," he said.
The United defender's exclusion dominated questions at this afternoon's press conference - something which appeared to irritate the England manager, who said: "There's 23 names in the squad and we're preparing for a tournament and we seem to be talking about one player until the cows go home."
Hodgson said Ferdinand's ability to play a game every four days was not his top concern, but it was taken for other footballing reasons.
It would seem Carroll's late surge of form for Liverpool, which saw him come inches away from clawing Liverpool back onto equal terms in the FA Cup final with Chelsea, have paid dividends. The £35m former Newcastle striker has one goal at senior level, having made three appearances. Included is his Liverpool team-mate Stewart Downing, who gets the nod ahead of Tottenham winger Lennon. Since moving to Anfield in a £20m deal last summer, Downing has failed to score a goal or provide an assist in the Premier League.
Tottenham striker Defoe has been brought back into the fold, at the expense of Sturridge, who is among those on standby.
Wayne Rooney is included even though he is suspended for the first two games of the tournament, which begins on June 8. This came as no surprise after Hodgson revealed in his first press conference he would be looking to take the Manchester United striker.
Hodgson said today of Rooney: "He [Rooney] got suspended and I'm not suggesting the suspension is wrong. But it's not very nice going into the first two games without a player who is world class."
His Manchester United team-mate Paul Scholes is not in the squad, despite rumours he could come out of international retirement. Fellow United midfielder Michael Carrick also misses out.
With Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker ruled out through injury, it seemed there might be a place for Manchester City's Micah Richards. Yet it appears he will stay in exile for now, with Liverpool's Glen Johnson getting the nod instead. Johnson is the only orthodox right-back in the squad, although Phil Jones and Joleon Lescott are capable of filling the role.
The squad has been drawn equally from England's top club sides, with four players from each of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. There are two from Tottenham and Arsenal and one from Everton, West Ham and Norwich.
The squad will meet up next Wednesday ahead of a friendly with Norway in Oslo. England will then face Belgium at Wembley on June 2 before their first match of Euro 2012 against France on June 11.
There had been plans for a training camp in Spain, but Hodgson has scrapped that and they will instead meet up at Manchester United's Carrington training ground.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Man City), Rob Green (West Ham), John Ruddy (Norwich)
Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Man United), John Terry (Chelsea), Joleon Lescott (Man City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Leighton Baines (Everton)
Midfielders: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Man City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Ashley Young (Man United), James Milner (Man City)
Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Man United), Danny Welbeck (Man United), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)
Standby players: Jack Butland (Birmingham), Adam Johnson (Man City), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).
Twitter: @simonriceReuse content