The league where I watch most of my football is the Premier League and I live in Britain, so it should come as no surprise that of all the international teams that are competing in this year’s World Cup the one I have the most insight to is England. The main problem there being that I’d love nothing better than to see England fail miserably at this year’s World Cup, because I’m Scottish and if you live in this country you tend to take your enjoyment from watching England be bigged up only to fail miserably once again because the English media got carried away as usual.
This World Cup will be no different; England don’t have a chance, and they know they don’t really have a chance (getting past the group stage would be an achievement) but wait and see what the media is saying before the start of the tournament. It will look sort of like this ‘we don’t have high expectations and that means there’s no pressure on the players, which must mean that they will do really well because no one expects anything!’
Anyway here is the squad of 23 players which Roy Hodgson should take to Brazil with him, not the squad I think he will take. I doubt it will make any real difference because they don’t really have a chance of winning but hey ho let’s go!
Joe Hart, Ben Foster & Fraser Forster
Hart and Foster and stick ons to go, the only question is who goes third? I think it should be Forster, he has broken records in Scotland this year with his play and has played at the top level in European competition, plus he is better than the alternatives of John Ruddy (who isn’t that good) and Rob Green (who is a liability waiting to happen).
Gary Cahill, Leighton Baines, Glen Johnson, Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Steven Caulker, Chris Smalling & Luke Shaw
The first five names on the list are stick ons to go (Cahill, Baines, Johnson, Jagielka & Jones); the other spots are very much up for grabs. I’ve seen lots of people who have taken only seven defenders as part of their squad, but I think Hodsgon should take eight (two players for every position). Caulker has been excellent this season in what is a very poor Cardiff team and is incredibly durable, something very important when playing games over such a short period of time. Chris Smalling is useful because he can play right back reasonably well (good enough for a backup anyway) and is a centre half. It is important in my opinion that Hodgson takes both men because Jagielka has struggled with injuries in the second half of the season and Jones also isn’t that durable historically. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you are stuck playing a midfielder in defence, and if they have any real belief that they could go far in the tournament having the right amount of defenders is a necessity. Luke Shaw goes in front of Cole because for the long term development of England it is the right choice and he is also a better player currently and has had a better season than Cole.
Steven Gerrard, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick & James Milner
I would take nine midfielders with me to Brazil if I were Hodgson because most teams will probably be better than England with the ball and that means that the midfield will have to do a lot of running. With that in mind it is important to take a number of young players who have the drive and energy to fulfil that requirement. That is why Sterling, Barkley, Henderson, Lallana and Chamberlain must go. In those five players you have three players who can play off the front and out wide, something which would give opposition defences problems because of the difficulties in defending players of this type. The conditions are going to be very harsh and the matches comes thick and fast, young players are better at the quick turnaround that World Cup’s produce. In Gerrard, Barry and Carrick you have three players who can sit deep and allow the more creative midfielders to do their job, they can keep the ball and in the conditions that is important. Finally you have James Milner a player who gives lots of effort and energy is a good sub and can play in the middle or out wide and that is why he should go as the ninth midfielder. The main players left out are Jack Wilshere, who I wouldn’t take because he is an injury liability and has had a worse season than players like Barkley, Henderson and Barry who he is competing against, and Frank Lampard, who I left out because I don’t think he can start anymore and he doesn’t give you enough defensively or attacking wise off the bench to take him in front of some of the younger guys who have been chosen.
Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck & Daniel Sturridge
Pretty simple really, Rooney is England’s best player, in Sturridge you have pace and goals and Welbeck gives effort, energy and goals as well. Why three instead of four? Well England should really only be playing one up top and using their defensive strengths to stagnate their opponents, that is how they will have success. If you are only playing one up top you don’t need four strikers, so to take four would waste a spot in the squad. So what about big Andy Carroll and sticky Rickie Lambert, because defenders hate playing against them?!?! The thing is why waste a spot on a player who is never going to start and will only get thrown on for the last 15 minutes of a game out of desperation? Why not take an extra defender and use them in this exact same situation? The simple fact is that neither Lambert or Carroll are prolific in front of goal, and all they are going to be used for is hoofing the ball to so they can hopefully knock it down for someone more talented, something a centre back could do just as well.
So there is the 23 man squad which Roy Hodgson should take to Brazil with him, will he? Probably not, I get the feeling that he will go with experience over youth on the main, with guys like Lampard and Cole getting in and there will be a place for one of the big donkey’s up front.
If you’re counting that is two City, five Liverpool, one Chelsea, one Arsenal, four Everton, five Utd, two Southampton, one West Brom, one Cardiff and one Celtic player. This should be concerning if you are English because the players aren’t actually playing at the very top teams and most of the team selected are either past their best or very young. I have said it already but if England makes it past the group stages it really should be considered a successful tournament because the quality just isn’t there in this squad.
So what kind of squad do you think Hodgson will pick? How do you think England will do? Well leave a comment and share your thoughts. Plus find all the latest bm23sportsreviews updates on Facebook and Twitter.