My England Squad for the Euros

In Sport on May 21, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Goalkeepers: Hart (capt.), Green, Foster (Robinson)

Defenders: Cole, Baines, Richards Cahill, Walker, Ferdinand, Lescott

Midfielders: Young, Lennon, Gerrard, Parker, Barry Lampard, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Strikers: Rooney, Welbeck, Defoe, Bent (Crouch), Sturridge


Starting from the back, Hart is a no-brainer, having cemented himself in a world class with the lowest goals against tally this season (and any sensible person’s fantasy team). He’s also got a great temperament; committed, commanding, ambitious (see his anger at himself at not saving even screamers), and just a down-to-earth bloke off-the-pitch. Couple this with fact that being a keeper gives you a great vantage point from which to view the game, and he’s a strong candidate for the captaincy. Of the other two, Green would be my number two because he has, save (…ahem) one horrendous error, always been a solid player when called upon (and with one liners such as this, he’ll be great around the camp: (on the gaffe against USA: “Had a random drug tests after the game…needless to say they didn’t find any performance-enhancing drugs in my system”). I’ve always considered Foster quite error prone, but he’s had a solid spell at West Brom so merits a place in the squad, if as much because of the lack of other suitable candidates. If Robinson was not in retirement – as I hear he may come out of – he would be my number two, as he has been quietly putting in impressive performances for Blackburn and was unfairly ousted following one unfortunate incident (the Croatia bobble). Remember when we were all debating whether he was/could be world class?
Anyway all no. 2 considerations are pretty academic, given Hart’s age, form and unlikeliness to sustain serious injury.

Cole, if perhaps not as world class as he once was, is still a very steady pair of feet. A measure of his quality is that he is almost universally praised for his ability – despite being, or at least having been, a fairly odious human being. Baines provides a solid cover if he gets injured. Lescott and Richards have both had good seasons at City – with the reserves their disposal, even being a consistent starter is impressive. If Terry were still performing as he were two years ago, he should go on ability – but given poor recent form (Liverpool ran him ragged), the possibility of him creating tension in the camp is too much – even if innocent until proven guilty.

Very tough in midfield. Lampard was underused by Chelsea, as attested by the resurgence largely brought about when he got more game time. Similarly, Gerrard is a little past his peak, but still capable of inspirational moments so warrants inclusion. Parker, if fit, is a solid, talismanic presence. The wingers all represent real pace and danger (if not always delivery), and have had at least moments of genius this season. Oxlade-Chamberlain is undoubtedly a risk, but has the youthful audacity to run at, try things – and usually succeed – against the best of the Premiership so there’s no logical reason why he should be able to against international teams. Barry’s not a world-beater, but you know what you’re getting with him and has been quietly influential for probable Champions, City, so is a good squad player.

Rooney is a given, despite his two-match ban – one of probably only three world-class players in the squad, with Hart and Cole. Welbeck has impressed this season, is a versatile striker and has the benefit of an understanding with Rooney already. Defoe is a consistent poacher, as is Bent, who seems will be fit. And has an added aerial presence to his game, so gets the nod over Crouch for me. Sturridge brings a bit of flair, and the possibility to be used in the now-popular 4-2-3-1 if we choose to play that way, as is possible with two natural holding men in Barry and Parker and attacking threat on the wings.

Joel Durston

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