So, Roy Hodgson has made his first big call as England boss. Despite Thoughtsport‘s suggestion he hasn’t dropped John Terry. Instead, he’s opted to leave out Rio Ferdinand.
Once we got over the shock, surprise and dismay that Roy either disagrees with our advice, or perhaps (gasp!) he doesn’t even read it… we going to say ‘fair play’ to Roy. At least he’s made a call.
Ferdinand’s fitness may not be up to tournament football and it’s one way of resolving the Terry v Ferdinands argument — if not the one we’d have favoured.
Let’s analyse, Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad against our picks. Where we’ve differed we’ve highlighted the players in red:
Roy’s Goalies: Joe Hart; Rob Green; John Ruddy.
TS’s goalies: Joe Hart; Ben Foster; Paul Robinson.
Roy’s defenders: Leighton Baines; Gary Cahill; Ashley Cole; Glenn Johnson; Phil Jones; Joleon Lescott; John Terry.
TS’s defenders: Rio Ferdinand; Phil Jagielka; Joleon Lescott; Gary Cahill; Micah Richards; Kyle Walker; Ashley Cole; Glenn Johnson.
Roy’s midfielders: Gareth Barry; Stewart Downing; Steven Gerrard; Frank Lampard; James Milner; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Scott Parker, Theo Walcott; Ashley Young.
TS’s midfielders: Steven Gerrard; Gareth Barry; Scott Parker; Frank Lampard; Michael Carrick; Ashley Young; Theo Walcott; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Roy’s forwards: Wayne Rooney; Andy Carroll; Jermain Defoe; Danny Welbeck.
TS’s forwards: Wayne Rooney; Daniel Sturridge; Danny Welbeck; Andy Carroll.
Roy’s standby list: Jack Butland; Adam Johnson; Daniel Sturridge; Phil Jagielka; Jordan Henderson.
So there you have it. Rio Ferdinand’s England career is, apparently, over.
Comfy seat: Defoe’s most utilised muscle of late has been his gluteus maximus
Looking at it in order, there are (as you might expect) pros and cons — but also some glaring inconsistencies. Stewart Downing is, seemingly, in the squad on the basis that he’s left-footed. Surely his (terrible) form for Liverpool cannot be the reason? Yet the left-footed Daniel Sturridge is left out in favour of Jermain Defoe — the same Defoe who started just two of the last 12 Tottenham matches — and was an unused sub in four of them.
From the back: Our predictions were woeful. We only got Joe Hart’s name right. To be fair we wrote it before Ben Foster rejected Hodgson’s plea to end his international ‘retirement’. Let’s face it, we’re hardly awash with quality between the sticks anymore. If Joe Hart gets injured/suspended we’re in a heap of trouble.
In that scenario we’d still have preferred the experienced, Premier League (just about) goalie, Paul Robinson to come in — rather than Championship West Ham stopper Rob Green. Fair enough, John Ruddy can gain experience coming along for the ride we won’t quibble on that one.
At the back Hodgson has made the headline grabbing call — dropping Ferdinand and picking Terry. That comes as no great shock. Of more concern is the right-back situation. Again, we picked our 23-man squad before Kyle Walker was ruled out with a toe injury.
However, Hodgson’s squad leaves him with Phil Jones as a back-up right-back? The squad seems to be crying out for Micah Richards — the blockbuster Manchester City full-back… the same City side that just won the Premier League title.
Micah Mystery: Richards must have offended someone somewhere, surely?
Yes, Jones has the advantage of age on his side — giving a 20-year-old with a bright future some tournament experience makes sense. But aged 23 Richards is hardly at pensionable age.
The midfield picks of Downing and Milner are just perplexing. Downing, as any stat-fan will tell you, has scored 0 goals and has 0 assists for Liverpool this season — a staggering statistic for a winger.
Milner has started just one of City’s last 12 games. His last noted goal or assist was back in January! Yes his utility is useful in that he can play in a number of positions but then, so could Paul Warhurst. It didn’t make him an international player.
Amidst all this Michael Carrick who has, arguably, had one of his best ever seasons for Manchester United (and has also played in nigh-on all of United’s big matches this season) is left out?
The much hyped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in. Thoughtsport quite likes that. He’s got a big future ahead of him. Comparisons with Theo Walcott’s call-up by Sven Goran Ericsson will be made but it’s hardly the same. Walcott hadn’t even played for Arsenal when his call came — Oxlade-Chamberlain has played, scored and impressed for the Gunners already.
Up front, we can’t argue much with Rooney, Carroll and Welbeck — especially as we picked them too. But the selection of Jermain Defoe has left us scratching our heads again.
Let’s look at those stats again. He’s started two of Spurs’ last 12 games. A Spurs side pushing for a Champions League place. Stats often don’t tell the whole story but for a ‘fox-in-the-box’ type striker of Defoe’s ilk they can be more telling than for other players. He’s in the side to score goals not much else.
Defoe has scored 6 goals in his last 20 matches. That’s not bad, right? Not great, but ok. However, two of those were against League One side Stevenage in the FA Cup replay. Yes, a replay after Spurs, featuring Defoe (in one of his rare 90-minute outings), failed to score in the first match.
He was kept quiet on that February afternoon at Broadhall Way by Messrs Darius Charles and Jon Ashton. Two years ago both were playing non-league football. Fancy his chances against the likes of AC Milan’s Phillipe Mexés? No, nor us.
Don’t get us wrong. Thoughtsport love England and we’d love for us to do really well at the Euros. We’re just not convinced that we will — not that this, seemingly haphazard, squad is best equipped to do so.