Roy Hodgson announced his squad to an eager England today - and the final 23 have come to a mixed reaction from fans around the country.
Goalkeepers - Green (West Ham), Hart (Man City) Ruddy (Norwich).
Defenders - Baines (Everton), Cahill (Chelsea), Cole (Chelsea), Johnson (Liverpool), Jones (Man Utd), Lescott (Man City), Terry (Chelsea).
Midfielders - Barry (Man City), Downing (Liverpool), Gerrard (Liverpool), Lampard (Chelsea), Milner (Man City), Parker (Tottenham), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Walcott (Arsenal), Young (Man Utd).
Forwards - Carroll (Liverpool), Rooney (Man Utd), Welbeck (Man Utd), Defoe (Tottenham).
Stand-by list: Stand-by: Jack Butland (Birmingham), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Jordan Henderson (England)
With Roy already stating that he would keep faith with some of the players who performed in the qualifiers, is it really a surprise to see some of the names listed?
The main objections seem to be aimed at Stewart Downing - with no assists and no goals all season, people are wondering what he has done to make the squad; he has had at best an average season - and along with Carroll is undeserved of a place in many fans eyes. Neither has played any where near their potential - but Downing in particular seems to be getting people angry. Admittedly Downings inclusion does seem to be a 'token' gesture. With England not being blessed for left side players, and being a regular in his squad, this could be why he is included- especially as Johnson barely plays for City.
Another name that seems to be courting negative comments is Henderson (another Liverpool player - this isn't a Liverpool hating post), on the stand by list. The youngster, does have a lot of potential, but has hardly lit up the Premiership since his £20'000'000 move to Anfield, and with the likes of Michael Carrick (a very undervalued player - except seemingly by Sir Alex) sure to be disappointed, Jordan Henderson can be forgiven for counting himself lucky to be on the list - stand by or not. Whether or not he would be on it had Jack Wiltshire, or Tom Cleverly been available, remains doubtful.
Danny Welbeck has been mentioned in some sections, but the UTD youngster has come on leaps and bounds - and making 23 starts for Ferguson's UTD could be a master stroke by Hodgson.
It seemed a straight up choice between Daniel Sturridge & Danny Welbeck - both very similar players; direct always looking for goal, and pace - but it seems Roy has gone for Welbeck - perhaps because of Rooneys presence - and this could actually turn out to be a positive for England. With the two players starting to form an impressive understanding in the league it is hoped that they can transfer it to the International stage - and with both capable of surprising the opposition, could just be a good call from Mr Hodgson.
Another big talking point is the omission of Rio Ferdinand, and the inclusion of John Terry. It has been said that for the sake of squad harmony, it had to be one or the other, but on a personal note, if that were the case, surely neither should go?
Both players have seen their careers take a little blip over recent seasons. Neither of them are the rock solid CB's that were feared by any opposition. Both with a lack of pace, both making uncharacteristic errors, it really could of been one way or the other. Unfortunately for Rio it was him, but either one of them would provide experience, and would put themselves on the line for their country.
Terry made it, for me, on the basis of Gary Cahill making the squad - and again this could prove to be a good play by Hodgson. Both may even be Champions League winners by the tournament - which can only help the England cause.
With several familiar faces in the squad, people seem to be presuming this tournament may only end badly - especially given the last World Cup (and the failure of 2008) It may be true, but to criticise before they have even kicked a ball is not helping, and Roy & the boys deserve to be given a chance. Their may be some old faces in there, but since the last tournament, the team has brought in some fresh blood.
Hart is immovable as the number one - both for City & England. Rapidly becoming one of the top keepers in the world, Hart is the stability England have longed for between the sticks.
Ashley Young has made great strides under Capello, Carroll was introduced (at the time to popular request), Wilshire was given a chance, and Walker & Richards have come on leaps & bounds. That's forgetting the likes of Tom Cleverely, Chamberlain, Welbeck, Sturridge & Johnson - all being given a chance. We could of taken a couple more younger/better players sure. But really would anything be much better?
Perhaps if Walker & Wilshire had been fit, then the England team may look a bit better (both providing stand out qualities) - and Roy would of got a few more pats on the back - but past that he really couldn't have done much better.
Lets give the guy a chance before we hang him, and maybe we will see some results. England were never like to win this tournament - but come Brazil - with the likes of Hart, Walker, Chamberlain, Wilshire, Cleverely, Sturridge/Welbeck all in and around the first team - the future DOES look like bright.