We have already looked at what defensive options could go to Euro 2012, but what about the midfielders and forwards? There is no doubt plenty of talent, but up against Europe’s best there is no doubt England need the very best, but who will it be…
We have never really had much of an issue over the years with right-sided players and present day is no exception. The main contender for the right side birth is Theo Walcott, despite the fact many consider him to actually be a striker as his final ball is often criticised. Another one who has been found wanting when it comes to their delivery is Aaron Lennon, if he gets to the by-line he is dangerous but less so from further out. Ashley Young is one player whose delivery cannot be in question, he is dangerous in open play as much so from set-pieces. There are more players waiting in the wings who will want to be considered like Shaun Wright-Phillip, who could benefit from his move to QPR and even young players like Swansea’s Nathan Dyer will be keen to impress.
England’s main problem area over the years seems to be a thing of the past as there are now options aplenty. Ashley Young can also operate on the left-side but he isn’t needed with Stewart Downing benefitting from his recent move to Liverpool and looking like a good player, who, like Young, has an outstanding delivery if not the pace. He will hoping to cement his place in the squad but faces competition from Adam Johnson who is enjoying less game time at Manchester City. Johnson is equally at home on the right side of midfield but is a natural left footer. Blessed with natural dribbling ability and is able to ride a challenge, he could be a big threat. There is plenty of competition though from the likes of Joe Cole who is enjoying a revival at Lille, Matthew Etherington continues to impress for Stoke and young Scott Sinclair can play on the left as he does for Swansea as well as Wolves Matt Jarvis who has been around the squad before, but suffered a dip in form. Plenty of wide options is nice to see for England.
Over the years we have almost had too many centre midfielders of high quality to fit in the England side. Old faces Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will be in the running if they prove their fitness and performance levels throughout the season. Another old head that has only been given more of a chance recently is Scott Parker. Since his move to Spurs he has looked even more impressive and has been starting regularly for England as he has started to operate a little deeper. Parker’s main competition comes in the form of youngster Jack Wilshere who is being hailed as the future of England, hopefully he can make a good return from his current injury. Gareth Barry is another who has been a solid member of the squad, but a lot of fans feel he is not good enough with the emergence of Parker and Wilshere. Michael Carrick is another player who has fallen away but the quality is still there, he just needs more game time for Manchester United. There are more and more calls for Joey Barton to be considered for England, his displays are good enough, but his personality doesn’t seem to fit the bill, although it could be what England need. Under 21 captain Jordan Henderson could push for a place if he has a good season despite a rocky start to Liverpool life.
England have always had good strikers and the first name on the team sheet is usually that of Wayne Rooney, but he has messed that one up after he was sent off in the Montenegro game. It is always about Rooney in one way or another so Capello not taking him may help the team play as a team, but you always want your best players-whether he goes or not is the big question. After being slapped with a 3 match ban it is highly unlikely he will be on the plane, someone else surely deserves a chance? Behind Rooney you have a mix of out-and-out goal scorers like Jermaine Defoe, Darren Bent, Daniel Sturridge Gabbi Agbonlahor and Danny Welbeck, it is this group that will be picked on form this season, especially in the second half. Capello does like a target man and it seems Peter Crouch’s days are numbered but if he can hit 15-20 goals this season he will be considered as he is always a threat. Andy Carroll is perhaps the number one option here, but his start so far at Liverpool has been a stuttering one, but on his day he is a real handful. Others who could play this role and have done for England recently are Emile Heskey, Kevin Davies and also Bobby Zamora but a lot will depend on their clubs success. Outsiders to make the cut could be QPR pair DJ Campbell and Jay Bothroyd, Andy Johnson and even Leon Best – it would take something very special for most other than Bothroyd to make the preliminary squad, but if any English striker hits 20+ goals they could have a chance.
Rascal Picks (if all fit):
Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon
Stewart Downing and Ashley Young
Centre Midfield Defensive:
Scott Parker and Jack Wilshere
Centre Midfield Attacking:
Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard
Andy Carroll, Jermaine Defore, Darren Bent…Wayne Rooney