England’s Future Stars Given Chance To ShineHodgson set to experiment in Wednesday’s friendly vs Italy
by Scott Nicholls | Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Roy Hodgson has elected to drop a host of big name players for England’s upcoming friendly match with Italy next Wednesday. The most high profile of the players left out of this squad are Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Ashley Cole.
There had been much made of Terry’s exclusion from this squad in the UK media, many outlets were skeptical as to whether this was a move made by Hodgson because of Terry’s pending FA charge. Given the FA’s track record with the John Terry/Anton Ferdinand court case and bans for racial abuse (8 games given to Luis Suarez last season), one could certainly assume this to be the case. Thankfully though, Roy Hodgson has since come out and refuted these rumours stating that he was always going to drop the Chelsea captain for this game to experiment with fringe players and said it would take a “massive” ban for him to even consider dropping Terry from future squads.
Two men who do make it in were thought by many to have played their last games for England after being either overlooked for Euro 2012, or pulling out though injury, are 34 year-old Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick. I have mixed feelings about Carrick being in the team, not because he’s not good enough, but because he made himself un-available for Euro 2012 when told he wouldn’t start.
Hodgson has overlooked Tom Huddlestone again, however he has not featured very much for Tottenham this pre-season, which may have factored in the England skipper’s decision.
Steven Caulker, Jake Livermore and Ryan Bertrand all make the full team squad for the first time. Caulker and Bertrand have impressed Hodgson this summer with their performances in the Olympics and look set to make debuts this Wednesday.
The only real shocker in this squad is the inclusion of Tottenham’s Jake Livermore. Livermore hasn’t had much playing time at all at the top level, he’s started just 7 games for Tottenham, however with injuries to Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones, Hodgson needs to make up numbers and could’ve picked far worse than Livermore.
This is the full England Squad vs Italy for Wednesday:
Keepers: Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Joe Hart (Manchester City), John Ruddy (Norwich City).
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).
Midfielders: Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Jake Livermore (Tottenham Hotspur), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Ashley Young (Manchester United).
Forwards: Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).
It is a relatively inexperienced squad at international level, but the inclusions of Carrick, Lampard, Milner and Ashley Young should instill some confidence in the younger players on Wednesday. A colleague of mine continually bashes England. His main argument is that they have no talent and no future talent, but I think this squad says otherwise.
England have great depth at the Goalkeeper position in this squad. Joe Hart will be the No. 1 for at least the next ten years, John Ruddy of Norwich City is a fantastic back-up and Butland is the star of the future for a top 4 Premier League team.
I’m less excited about England’s defenders of the future, I thought Caulker looked very shaky for Team GB but he’s young and will learn, just needs a few more games. Aside from that a back four of: Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones/Jack Rodwell and Kyle Walker doesn’t sounds half bad to me.
England’s midfield is what makes me excited. With players like Jack Rodwell and Phil Jones able to switch between central defense and central midfield so there are flexible options for a holding midfield player. Jack Wilshere (pending rumours that his legs may be done, which would be a grave, grave shame at such a young age) has the quality and creativity from central midfield, pair him with Tom Cleverly, Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson and that is a dangerous midfield quartet.
I’ve been told England have no strikers. Really? Because actually, England has a lot of quality up front. Wayne Rooney will obviously be the centerpiece of England’s attack for the next 8 to 10 years but playing off of him should be a rotation of Daniel Sturridge, Andy Carroll and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Ox and Sturridge are also flexible in that they can both play as wide players in a midfield. And Carroll whilst has suffered a lot of bad press following a big money move to Liverpool, he’s a much bigger aerial threat than Peter Crouch or Darren Bent.
Here is the XI that I think is likely on Wednesday afternoon (US EST time):
Ruddy, Baines, Cahill, Jagielka, Walker, Johnson, Rodwell, Cleverly, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Carroll.
I will admit, however, it is still unlikely that players that have just played at the Olympics will start the friendly for England, but I certainly expect us to see Bertrand, Caulker and Butland make their full England debuts against the Italians.
It should be noted, only 10 members of the squad who were selected for Euro 2012 and only 3 that started the game vs Italy at Euro 2012 are in this camp. This is clearly a game just to look at players. The Olympics have obviously had an affect on Hodgson, he likes what he’s seen from the likes of Caulker, Cleverly and Sturridge and that’s translated into this England squad.
It’ll be a fun game to watch but, much like the rest of pre-season, the result is not going to be the most important factor about this game.