Pick The Right Team
One area of minor criticism from me would be Roy’s squad selection. For the most part the squad seems to have a decent balance but what confuses me is Hodgson’s decision to give second (third? Fourth? Fifth?) chances to players who can’t cut it playing for the national team. There are five Liverpool players in the squad, however based on last season only one of them, Steven Gerrard, should be anywhere near the England squad. Theo Walcott has found a place in there as well as Jermain Defoe. Why? Somebody tell me!
How is Glen Johnson considered a better option than Micah Richards (England’s best right back by far)? Sure Johnson is a really good attacker but the fact is he is a shit defender (How a manager has never decided to transform him into a right midfielder is beyond me.) When he should be hoofing clear he tries to dribble his way out of trouble and when he has the space to run and cause problems he’ll boot it to nobody. His decision making is questionable at best.
How is Stewart Downing considered better than Adam Johnson? You can talk about Johnson not getting games but even out of match practice he’s a far better player than Downing! Downing has never come close to replicating his distinctly average club performances on the international scene. He’s a left winger who can’t cross, can’t finish and struggles to even beat a man.
Jordan Henderson has been drafted in to replace the crocked Frank Lampard. What a truly awful decision. Could he not have drafted in another wide-man (Adam Johnson) and used James Milner as back-up for central midfield? If he isn’t willing to do that then maybe just plant some sunflower seeds and watch that growing sunflower contribute more to the England team than Jordan Henderson.
The next on my list of iffy selections is Theo Walcott. He’s rubbish. Absolutely rubbish. Marginally better than Downing but still rubbish. He keeps getting in the squad though because he scored a hat-trick in a qualifying match against Croatia, that is it. His performances for Arsenal haven’t merited an international call-up so why is he in the squad? He can’t cross, he can’t shoot but most of all he’s just an out and out coward. He just won’t put his foot in for a 50-50 challenge. So it might hurt for a little bit but you’re a grown-arsed man! Show some courage.
The final man on my list of poor choices is Jermain Defoe. I recall Harry Redknapp’s comments in the World Cup game against Germany. ‘You know you’re needing a goal and you take off Jermain Defoe and bring Emile Heskey on!’ (Or words to that effect.) Now, I’m not saying Heskey is a more potent striker than Defoe, absolutely not. However, when has Defoe EVER looked like he was going to score in an England game? He is one of the best finishers around in a Tottenham shirt but put an England jersey on him and he just doesn’t produce the goods. I’d have much rather opted for the inexperienced Daniel Sturridge than a striker who has never threatened to impress on international duty.
(PS I haven’t forgotten about the John Terry/Rio Ferdinand debate, I’ll touch on that later)