England squad: Roy Hodgson's choices
Monday 04 June 2012
A career of drilling teams to play beyond their level has taken Hodgson to its natural climax: managing a thin England squad at a major tournament.
1. Joe Hart
England's best since David Seaman: Hart's athleticism, saves and strength of character make him one of the few long-term certainties.
2. Glen Johnson
Not the most popular right-back around, but he finds himself in place again. There is a dangerous player there, if it all comes together.
3. Ashley Cole
Still a reliable top-level performer: of how many England players can you say that? His nerve and nous will be crucial all tournament.
4. Steven Gerrard
The captain and midfield heartbeat must drag England with him, but after three difficult years at Liverpool his ability to do so is no longer obvious.
5. Martin Kelly
Full-back became fourth standby player to make squad yesterday, replacing the stricken Gary Cahill. Unlikely to make it off bench. For now.
6. John Terry
The great survivor will play his fourth major tournament, now alongside an unfamiliar partner. Despite everything, England will be safer with Terry in the team.
7. Theo Walcott
Another up and down season, but with Ashley Young playing inside he is probably England's sharpest wide option, though he is not certain to start.
8. Jordan Henderson
After a patchy first year at Liverpool, his ability in top games is unclear. Tidy enough, and fit, but never seems to impose himself. May need to do so here.
9. Andy Carroll
A late run of form, and Hodgson's preference for a big man, have propelled Carroll into the team likely to face France. Displays hard to predict.
10. Wayne Rooney
With Rooney out for the first two games, England lose their skill, brain and most of their goals. How he must hope his first match is still a meaningful one.
11. Ashley Young
Has shown that he has the quality to make a difference, but bears a heavier creative burden for England than he does for United.
12. Leighton Baines
Years of reliability for Everton have earned Baines' place in the squad, and there is no doubt he would be a good stand-in for Cole if needed.
13. Robert Green
Two good seasons for West Ham since the horrible 2010 World Cup have rebuilt Green's form and profile to the level of a sturdy back-up keeper.
14. Phil Jones
Can expect some minutes in his first major tournament, whether at right-back, centre-back or holding midfield. Obviously talented, but needs to learn some subtlety too.
15. Joleon Lescott
May feel aggrieved if he does not start: Lescott was a big player in City's title-winning side, and played at least as well as Cahill or Terry last season.
16. James Milner
It is no surprise that Hodgson likes Milner: versatile, selfless and hard-working. Could shuttle up and down a flank, or scurry in midfield.
17. Scott Parker
No longer captain but will have a big job bailing water in England's porous midfield. Expect the usual quota of brave blocks, tackles and running.
18. Phil Jagielka
Joined as defensive ballast when Gareth Barry pulled out, he is solid but a lack of pace could see him become to 2012 what Matthew Upson was to 2010.
19. Stewart Downing
Might consider himself lucky to be in the squad after an unproductive year at Liverpool. But being left-sided does have its uses.
20. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
England's most exciting player: a very natural talent, whose gifts make him a more lively impact sub than many used before.
21. Jermain Defoe
Will have a similar job to his role at Spurs: goals from the bench. His runs and finishing are good enough that he might be able to do it when needed.
22. Danny Welbeck
Has a range of gifts beyond most of his rivals: a target man, but with a better touch than Carroll. But injuries and a lack of goals might cost him a start at his first tournament.
23. Jack Butland
Replacing John Ruddy, 19-year-old Butland's pick should be seen as far-sighted, unless he has to feature. He has only played League Two before.
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