Thoughts On Roy Hodgson’s England World Cup Squad


As England prepare for the World Cup with the first of their pre-tournament matches against Peru at Wembley on Friday evening, some thoughts on Roy Hodgson’s squad for Brazil.

Roy Hodgson’s England World Cup squad consists of:

Joe Hart (Man City), Ben Foster (West Brom), Fraser Foster (Celtic), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Chris Smalling (Man U), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones (Man U), Leighton Baines (Everton), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, captain), James Milner (Man City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Frank Lampard (Chelsea, vice-captain), Ross Barkley (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) Wayne Rooney (Man U) Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Man U), Ricky Lambert (Southampton)

On standby:

John Ruddy (Norwich), Jon Flanagan (Liverpool), John Stones (Everton), Michael Carrick (Man U) Tom Cleverly, (Man U), Andy Carroll (West Ham) Jermain Defoe (Toronto)

There are no Spurs players in the squad but Roy’s comments have indicated that but for injury, Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker and possibly Kyle Naughton would have been there. Theo Walcott from Arsenal too.

There is much about the squad that I am pleased to see. He has shown the courage to give a crop of youngsters the chance of glory. They are not just promising kids though. They have performed at the top level in Premier League first teams for months. The attackers have run rings round and scored against some of the best defenders in the world for fun and the defenders have looked comfortable on the ball. It may turn out that this World Cup has come too early for them but I think we would all regret looking back afterwards and wondering “what if?”

I am a bit surprised at how many Manchester United players are in the squad or on standby when you think of the extent to which they have underperformed throughout the season, especially when the chips were down.

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I can’t find much to argue about in Roy’s selection though but for one significant worry. He said he wouldn’t do it but he has gambled by taking players who are not fit, certainly not match fit yet anyway. Wayne Rooney, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere have not been playing for their clubs due to injury.

Does no one else find it worrying, rather than a positive sign that Rooney went on holiday before departing for the training camp and had to take a team of fitness trainers with him to get him fit enough to represent his country? He was dressed in slimming black in the video he posted but as usual when he has not played for a few weeks, he appeared to have put on weight, just as Alex Ferguson said he was prone to do in his autobiography. The rest of the squad are fit and raring to go already, which is what I would expect.

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I think the biggest risk Roy has taken is in not selecting Ashley Cole. For me, his recent performances for Chelsea have shown again that he is still our best defender when defending. For all the new young full back talent, especially going forward and overlapping, I cannot think of any player in the world more capable of nullifying the best wingers and strikers when they are attacking us and England are on the back foot.

If we progress past the first round – and even against Italy, I think we will miss him. Incidentally, in his column in the Times on Wednesday May 14 entitled “modern greats for all their imperfections” Mathew Syed wrote a thoughtful feature on both Cole and Rio Ferdinand. Well worth a read.