This time tomorrow the new England manager Roy Hodgson will be preparing to announce his England squad for Euro 2012. It’s not clear from the FA statement if this will be the final 23-man squad, or a larger list of players that Roy will take to the Spanish training camp and subsequent friendlies, to take a look at up close before trimming to a final 23. I’ve gone for the final 23 that I’d take to Poland and Ukraine, thoughts/screaming at me is very welcome!
It’s really a case of Joe Hart plus two others. I don’t think it really matters who the two others are (it could have been Green, Robinson, Carson) because realistically neither will get a game, we just have to hope that Hart doesn’t get injured or suspended. John Ruddy has impressed enough this season to earn a seat on the plane, and it’s been another solid season for Ben Foster at West Brom. Foster did miss the final game of the season (to which us Arsenal fans were very happy about, Martin Fulop gratefully gifted us 3 goals!) through injury, but if he’s fit then his recently departed club boss will surely pick him in his new job as England manager.
Assuming that Kyle Walker’s injury is indeed ‘a knock’ as Harry Redknapp has put it, I would say that the right back berths pick themselves. I’m not a Glen Johnson fan, let’s put it that way. Ashley Cole will continue as first choice at left back and my Arsenal bias would put Kieran Gibbs forward as his understudy. Gibbs still has work to do to become as complete a defender as Cole, but his last ditch tackle late on against West Brom shows that he is gradually getting there. Leighton Baines just doesn’t have the quality for me. At centre back I would still go with Terry and Ferdinand for another tournament at least, the other choices being Cahill (assuming he’s fit, is better than Lescott) and Jones (good footballer and versitile).
I’d probably line up Walcott right and Downing left in the opening game, with Lampard, Barry and Gerrard as a middle 3. Parker is an injury doubt but if he’s okay I’d bring him and Young along, and if Paul Scholes can be talked around I’d say we have to find a place for him.
Rooney despite his 2 game ban is obvs, Welbeck has done well enough this year for me, and Defoe keeps proving what a good finisher he is, and more importantly, that he’s happy to do it from the bench if needs be. I’ve gone for Grant Holt ahead of Carroll/Crouch as I think he’s earnt a shot after scoring so many goals this season. Both Carroll and Crouch have had their moments, but Holt has been a consistent threat all year.
Injury permitting I would keep the above group on their toes, there’s bound to be some kind of crisis in the next couple of weeks! It’s England, right?