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Does Roy Hodgson Only Select Players from the Big Clubs?

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There has been several comments on the Three Lions Roar website suggesting that England Manager Roy Hodgson only selects players from the so called big clubs. We thought we'd investigate this further.

Scott Heavey

Put simply, 76% of the squad play for the EPLs 'so called' big teams. This is basically the teams who currently occupy the top seven places in the Barclays Premier League. See below:

Liverpool 5
Manchester United 5
Southampton 4
Chelsea 3
Manchester City 2
Arsenal 2
Everton 2
Spurs 2
Toronto FC 1
Celtic 1
Cardiff 1
Norwich 1

On paper you could argue that the best British talent should lie within the top clubs so it would make sense to have a squad predominately made up of players from the best sides in the league. Not a completely ridiculous argument until you analyse the talent that has been omitted from the squad and the uninspiring, out of form players that have made the squad.

We dissected where we thought Roy had gone wrong with the squad selection in another post on the site but in summary:

  • Why have 4 goalkeepers when the 3 we have are very strong?
  • Why have 3 left backs when 2 are known quanities and the other is one of our most promising youngsters?
  • Why include players who have been below average all season?
  • Why leave out players who have delivered the goods consistently all season but they play for an unfashionable team?
  • Why are players like Defoe in the squad who have hardly kicked a football this season?
Our view among the writers here at Three Lions Roar is that there is a whole host of players who deserved a call up to the squad for the friendly against Denmark. Players like:

Adam Johnson - Sunderland
Tom Huddlestone - Hull City
Jake Livermore - Hull City
Kevin Nolan - West Ham United
Andy Carroll - West Ham United
Gareth Barry - Everton
JonJo Shelvey - Swansea
Fabian Delph - Aston Villa

Now these players may not have warranted a place on the plane to Brazil but to not give them a chance in the last friendly before the squad is announced is very strange. These guys have been performing at much higher levels than players like Townsend, G Johnson, Smalling and Cleverley all season while delivering goals and assists. The fact that of the above mentioned players none of the teams have a player represented in the squad (apart from Everton who are part of the top 7 teams).

The England national team has seen a trend to pick the same old faces game after game despite how the players has performed on a weekly basis. Manchester United for example are having an incredibly poor season which has been reflected in the performances of Smalling, Cleverley and Welbeck yet they are dead certs to be picked for England squads.

We always look at the German national side as an example as they rebuilt their squad several years ago with a crop of exciting youngsters with little or no expectations of winning a major tournament in that transition phase. Fast forward 5-6 years and that same team is now one of the driving forces in World football with an equally as strong domestic league.

Imagine if England did that. It wouldn't mean automatic picks for the likes of Cole, Gerrard, Lampard, Milner, Carrick and G Johnson who have never taken England past a quarter-final in a major tournament. Would we fare any worse with some talented players who weren't playing for one of the top teams in the country? I doubt it.