Roy Hodgson has his hands full as he gets ready to name the 23-man squad that England will send to Rio this Summer, with expectations at an all time low the England manager can shed the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ and focus on the future by sending a youthful team to the World Cup, but will he take the plunge?
Hodgson has snubbed the return of John Terry, the walking wounded continue to pile up as Andros Townsend, Theo Walcott, Jay Rodriguez and now Phil Jones have been hit with the injury bug, while stalwarts like Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Jermaine Defoe have struggled for first team action or in the latter’s case, failing to score against less than quality opposition.
For me, there are only four players who I would put money on to start against Italy in England’s opener June 14th: Joe Hart, Gary Cahill, Wayne Rooney and of course, Captain Steven Gerrard (If he’s done coughing up the title by then…). Outside of those four, there’s question marks around health, formation and of course experience verse youth – with the question being, who which will Roy go with?
In the spirit of useless predictions (Because, why not?), here is our prediction for the 23-man squad that England should send to Rio.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Ben Foster
Defenders: Glen Johnson, Leighton Baines, Steven Caulker, Gary Cahill, John Stones, Luke Shaw, Phil Jagielka
Midfield: Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick
Striker: Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll
Snubs: John Ruddy, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Rickie Lambert, Jermaine Defoe, Chris Smalling
So you may be saying “Henry, you’re bloody crazy – what are you thinking?!” – well, maybe, maybe that’s true. However, the 23-man squad listed is a great mix of experience versus youth and finally gets rid of some of the shackles of the Golden Era – why send Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, when we’ve apparently got no-shot at winning the World Cup but young players who can gain experience instead?
Sure, John Stones is an outside shot – but why not him? He’s been outstanding for Everton this season and while new on the senior level, has shown he can play against some of the
best Strikers in the world.
Jordan Henderson? Are you crazy? Yeah, I struggle with this a lot – but you can’t deny how well Henderson has partnered Steven Gerrard this season at Liverpool, why not give the kid a shot? Jack Wilshere is there if the experiment fails, plus you’ve got the reliable Michael Carrick (Well, if he remembers how to pass after his abysmal season…) to fall back on in case of injuries.
Taking Andy Carroll over Lambert or Defoe, now you’re crazy – well, maybe not? Andy Carrol has been very strong in his return after a struggle to overcome injuries this season, plus he offers a threat that none of our other forwards do. Defoe has failed to impress in Major League Soccer, and those defences are brutal, plus Rickie Lambert has failed to hit the mark this season.
But, now it’s your chance – let me know what you think and who YOU would send to Rio for England – leave a comment or two and let me know how wrong you think I am.
Henry writes about his two passions the Beautiful Game and the Brutal Game – whether you’re a die hard Soccer fan or passionate hockey fan, he’s got you covered.
You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets about sports far too much.