England will face Denmark at Wembley next week in the last action before the provisional 30 man squad is announced for the World Cup. So naturally this is an opportunity for Roy Hodgson to experiment and look at all options to ensure he has all the information for when he announced his squad. Unfortunately, this squad, although good in places, is on the whole, largely uninspiring. As always leave your comments below, do you agree or disagree, there are no wrong answers.
First of all let’s just focus on the positives. Luke Shaw has been handed his first ever call-up to the England senior side and nobody can say he doesn’t deserve it. He has been one of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League this year and despite his age he plays with a maturity you just wouldn’t expect. It’s one thing to call him up, it’s another to get him some game time. He should either start or get 45 minutes against Denmark. Let’s take a really good look at him.
Next up on the positive list? Raheem Sterling. We have been talking about Sterling all week, the progress he has made this year is fantastic. His link up play with Sturridge is promising and playing next to Gerrard week in and week out is proving highly productive. He deserves his chance based on his current performances. He works hard, he has bags of pace and a lot of energy. The kind of player we need in the sweltering Brazilian climate.
Now we have the positives out the way, let’s get to the negatives. Unfortunately there are plenty of them. First of all, I can’t help but think this is a missed opportunity. With the performances of Hart, Ruddy and Forster this year, was it really necessary to name 4 keepers to the squad? I know we have some injuries at the back, but do we really need to see the likes of Ashley Cole to see what he can offer, how about Curtis Davies or someone promising. We are covered at the full-back positions, but that centre half cover looks very slim.
Now we get to the main problem. Central midfield. Tom Cleverley, are you having a laugh? He has 1 goal and 10 key passes all season and when he has played for England, he hasn’t exactly been a key contributor. What about Jake Livermore, Tom Huddleston who has 2 goals, 1 assist and over 40 key passes. How about Kevin Nolan who has 7 goals, 5 assists and over 35 shots. Just look at Jonjo Shelvey, who has 5 goals, 3 assists and 26 key passes. No, none of those players make the squad. Instead we elect for a midfielder with 1 goal and no assists. Fantastic selection.
What is Roy going to learn about James Milner that he doesn’t already know? Townsend gets into the squad ahead of Lennon, and I’m not saying I don’t want him in the team, in fact I would take both of them over James Milner who offers very little in my very humble opinion. I am happy to see Henderson, Barkley and Lallana in the team but all that work is undone with the inclusion of players like Milner and Cleverley.
Then we move onto the strikers. It seems as though Roy has a small book of players who he called upon two years ago, that get in the team despite current form. I like Defoe, and in his day he was a good striker. However he has barely played this season and scored just a couple of goals, we also know everything we need to know about him based on his inclusion for several years.
So how about we try something new. Andy Carroll offers another dimension up top and can really change the game. We could even look at the likes of Danny Ings or even Gary Hooper. He’s not playing either, but he’s scored more goals than Defoe and he’s surrounded by worse players.
Here is our take on the team, what are yours? Same as usual, standard, uninspiring and we can pretty much pick the World Cup 23 now.
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook