Three Key Talking Points from Hodgson’s Squad Announcement
Roy Hodgson this afternoon named the 23-man squad of players he hopes will lead England to glory at next month’s European championships – but the selection has not been without controversy, or without frustrated fan reaction. Here are the three key points from the squad news:
May 16th, 2012
Rio a No-No
Arguably the most notable omission from the squad is Rio Ferdinand – though his former partner in central defence, John Terry, has received the call. Journalists at the squad announcement’s press conference were reluctant to discuss anything other than the Manchester United defender; something which clearly irked Mr. Hodgson as he lamented having to talk about Rio “until the cows come home” considering that there are 23 other players on which to focus.
Talk then turned to Terry and his upcoming court case, and whether the selection of Terry and omission of Ferdinand were related. Hodgson insisted that the decision was based “purely on footballing matters” – something which Rio’s club manager Alex Ferguson can sympathise with, having pointed out the unlikelihood of Ferdinand’s ability to contend with such a heavy schedule.
Stevie G to wear the ‘C’
Hodgson has gone with another veteran midfield for Euro 2012, with nods going to the likes of Gareth Barry, James Milner and Frank Lampard; all players who’d received their fair share of stick following the debacle that was South Africa 2010. Hodgson has picked Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard to captain England, crediting him with “[commitment] to the England cause”. With this selection of Gerrard and Lampard, the debate rages on with pundits and fans who feel that they don’t gel together in the same team due to their very similar playing styles. By naming him captain, Hodgson realises that the role Gerrard plays is vital – but will he be the only one playing it in the line-up this summer?
Rooney in despite ban; Carroll in despite poor form?
One of the biggest decisions facing Roy Hodgson in the run-up to the tournament was whether or not to select Wayne Rooney, whose wild kick on Montenegro defender Miodrag Dzudovic during the last Euro qualifying game resulted in a three-match England ban – since reduced to two on appeal. He has made it into the squad, and will miss the first two games against France and Sweden, before assumedly walking into the team for the final game against co-hosts Ukraine.
Hodgson has also called in Rooney’s United colleague Danny Welbeck, Spurs’ Jermain Defoe and Liverpool striker Andy Carroll; another player who has enjoyed an afternoon’s trending on Twitter in a not entirely positive sentiment. Also notable by their absence from the squad are Daniel Sturridge and Peter Crouch, the latter of whom scored six more goals than Carroll in Premier League competition this season, having played three games less.
With the first test facing this England squad only ten days away in Norway, Hodgson has to be complimented for sticking to his guns; he has made some evidently unpopular decisions but as any incoming England manager knows, such scrutiny is par for the course when it comes to the England job.