Should they stay or should they go?
|BettingExpert/Betfair Euro 2012 blog correspondent entry profile|
|Rob Plumbridge is qualified NCTJ journalist who has written for a number of newspapers as well as being featured at Sportinglife and Bettingzone.|
|Twitter : @theplumline|
|Website : RobPlumbridge.wordpress.com|
With the FA deciding to leave Roy Hodgson with just over a month to decide who to take to Euro 2012, the new England boss could do with a helping hand deciding who's gonna make the cut. With the domestic season coming to a close he's not got much time for last minute scouting. Therefore I'm offering my services to guide him through those tricky decisions he'll have to make before the Three Lions make their way Kiev.
Perhaps the most important decision will be who will get the nod in the striking department. If World Cup 2010 was anything to go by, it's an area we are severely lacking in depth. Wayne Rooney is the obvious banker, but with him banned for the first two games we're going to need all the firepower we can get. The first decision Roy must make is surely not to take Emile Heskey. Many an England manager has, for some unknown reason, decided that Emile was the man to turn England's fortunes around. Clearly that theory has been proved wrong and there's got to be a better solution.
It's no coincidence that Andy Carroll has suddenly sprung to life after a muted start to his Liverpool career. Just when his chances of making the squad looked thinner then Posh Spice, he's turned his form around at the business end of the season. Steven Gerrard was full of praise after the FA cup final, urging Roy to take a chance on the ponytail-sporting youngster. There's certainly a spot for a target man and the FA Cup proved what an impact player he can be. Certainly worth a Roy taking a chance.
When you look at the other options Steve might just have a point. Peter Crouch has a great goalscoring record for England that is hard to argue with, however he always seem to score 3 against Jamaica rather then 1 against Spain or Germany. No disrespect to the Jamaicans but if England are to win the Euro's we need goals from our strikers in the crunch matches.
Jermaine Defoe always represents a threat when he comes on for Spurs and he could certainly bring some spark off the bench. However a similar player I'd be looking to start, never mind take, is Danniel Sturridge. He's technically gifted, has an eye for goal and has the added threat of being exceptionally quick. England really need players who cause defences problems and put them on the back foot. At such a tender age it would be a big ask for him to lead the line on his own, but he's played in the Champions League this year and showed maturity beyond his years. For me he's a place booked on the team flight.
In the midfield there's going to be plenty of competition in the middle of the park which will see some of old guard brushed aside. The wing is an area we could really use some spark, this was evident at the World Cup where there was little to break down defences. Ashley Young has had a great first season at United and can be sure of a spot, however the same can't be said for the likes of Downing and Henderson who have failed to impress after high-profile moves to Liverpool.
One name who must be in the mix, despite his age, is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Arsenal youngster has surpassed all expectations this year. Thoughts will inevitably go back to the 2006 World Cup and the criticism of Sven Goran Eriksson after he took 17-year-old Theo Walcott to Japan and Korea and gave him no time on the pitch. However the OC has proved himself in big games already in his short career. He played a big role in Arsenal's Champions League campaign and never looked out of place. He won't be a starter but could provide a massive threat coming off the bench against tired defenders. Would be a big call from the new boss, but he's got a big job and some big decisions to make.
The defence is an open market. Ashley Cole is the only certain starter as Roy must decide how much precedence he's going to give to experience. Rio Ferdinand and John Terry will be hoping that this is a commodity he values highly. However, there's plenty of competition for the veteran centre backs. Not least from the former England captain's team mate Gary Cahill who must be in with a shout given his performances of late. In particular his display against the best attacking side football has to offer in Barcelona. He'll be on the plane for sure, but who else will join him. Phil Jagielka? Michael Dawson? Stephen Warnock? Phil Jones? All of whom have enjoyed indifferent seasons for their clubs and injuries have taken there toll. That will be decided in the pre-tournament game I think, though I'd be leaning towards Dawson if fully fit.
Micah Richards must be the number one right back. Quite how Capello got away with starting Glen Johnson every game is anyone's guess after Richards' performance this year. For a place in the squad Kyle Walker has to be up there. He's brimming with talent and can only benefit from a trip to a major International tournament. He simply has to go in light of his form for Spurs this season.
Finally the ill-fated England No 1 shirt. You can put your house on Joe Hart taking his place between the sticks, but who will join him? Again, not a position England is blessed with depth so if Hart was to injure himself we would be left with either Carson, Foster or Green. The best of an average bunch surely being Foster who at least plays in the Premier League every week.
There's plenty of questions still to be answered that's for sure. It's a work in progress and for the first time in memory the media hype machine hasn't gone overboard telling the nation that this is our tournament. The Betfair odds of 12.5 tell a story of their own with confidence in the national side at an all-time low. The lack of expectation can only be a good thing for a squad which will inevitably include some much needed fresh blood. A solid tournament, a semi-final and minimum controversy would constitute a good tournament by English standards, is that too much to ask?
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