The omission of Rio Ferdinand has been in the news, but shouldn't we be more concerned with those that have been selected?
So, the big news from the England camp this week, as we build towards of the start of the tournament, has been Rio Ferdinand's second snub by manager Roy Hodgson. Having been originally left out of both the 23 man squad and the stand-by list, he was overlooked again this week when Gary Cahill was forced to withdraw through injury.
The decision should not have come as a major shock, however, as Liverpool youngster Martin Kelly was on that stand-by list, but questions remain over why Hodgson did not select 81-cap Ferdinand in the first place.
Rio Ferdinand, yesterday's man?
Despite reports to the contrary, I do not believe it has anything to do with the upcoming court case involving John Terry, who is accused of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother Anton. No, I believe it is simply that Hogdson thinks Rio's time is up.
Okay, so he had a decent finish to the season, taking Manchester United to within seconds of the Premier League title, but having selected Terry, Hodgson probably felt he needed some younger blood in the defensive areas. With us likely to face sides like Germany, Holland or Spain should we progress in the tournament, a central defensive partnership or Terry and Ferdinand would leave us vulnerable to swift counter-attacks. Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka both offer pace in that crucial area of the team and, as such, were the more sensible options.
A bigger surprise for me was the omission of Micah Richards. The Manchester City man can play at right back or centre half and that versatility would have made him an extremely useful member of the squad. In fact many would argue he would have been a better choice at right back than Glen Johnson, who is likely to start the tournament in that position despite a relatively poor season at Liverpool.
Micah Richards, unlucky not to be selected.
However, the evidence of Hodgson's reign so far suggests it is not defensively where England may struggle in Poland and Ukraine. No, a lack of creativity in midfield and up front appears to be the bigger issue, especially should we reach the latter stages of the tournament.
Wayne Rooney's suspension for the opening two group games is not the ideal start, leaving our hopes of progression from the group resting on the goal prowess of Andy Carroll, Danny Welbeck and Jermain Defoe. Hodgson has always preferred a 4-4-2 formation and with that in mind I would be tempted to start Welbeck with Defoe up front for the opening match against France on Monday evening.
Jermain Defoe, ready for a starting place?
United's Welbeck deserves his place after a good performance and well taken goal against Belgium last weekend, while Defoe did his chances no harm with a fine cameo from the bench. He has pace, is a willing runner of the channels and is a very good finisher.
I would move Ashley Young to the left, keep James Milner on the right and leave the midfield partnership of Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker intact. With Lescott replacing the unfortunate Cahill at the back, I believe this is a team capable of getting a positive result against the French, which would set us up nicely for the rest of the tournament.
We have a squad of players who look as though they want to play for the manager. Moreover, they appear happy, relaxed and ready for the battles that lie ahead. So let's forget about Ferdinand - a distraction we can do without - and get behind the players that have been selected. You never know we may just be rewarded come July 1st.