Roy Hodgson announces the England squad for the games against San Marino and Poland.

 

Roy Hodgson today announced the England squad for the World Cup Qualifiers against San Marino and Poland. The squad announced was as follows:

Fraser Forster – Goalkeeper
Joe Hart – Goalkeeper
John Ruddy – Goalkeeper

Leighton Baines – Defender
Gary Cahill – Defender
Ashley Cole – Defender
Kieran Gibbs – Defender
Phil Jagielka – Defender
Glen Johnson – Defender
Joleon Lescott – Defender
Ryan Shawcross – Defender
Kyle Walker – Defender

Michael Carrick – Midfielder
Tom Cleverley – Midfielder
Steven Gerrard – Midfielder
Adam Johnson – Midfielder
Aaron Lennon – Midfielder
Frank Lampard – Midfielder
James Milner – Midfielder
Theo Walcott – Midfielder

Andy Carroll – Striker
Jermain Defoe – Striker
Wayne Rooney – Striker
Danny Welbeck – Striker

While some of the major talking points of this squad will be the return of Aaron Lennon after a two year absence and call ups for Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney who missed the last squad through injury, I think the biggest talking point of this squad will probably be the inclusion of Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross who is in with a chance of winning his first cap for the national team as Roy Hodgson looks to find the player who can become the new heart of the England defence and fill the void left by John Terry who recently retired from International football.

In England’s last game against Ukraine. England played with Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka in central defence, and both had a decent game. There was nothing either of them could do about the Ukraine goal as it was a wonderful shot from Konoplienka from about 20 yards out that beat them that game. But despite losing that one goal, both were solid for the rest of the game and England fought back to claim a 1-1 draw when Frank Lampard tucked away a penalty in the 87th minute. What Roy Hodgson now has to decide is whether he wants to stick with the pairing of Lescott and Jagielka for the San Marino game on October 12th or does he perhaps give Gary Cahill and Ryan Shawcross a chance to stake their claim for a regular place in his team? It could well be a tough decision for him to make. If I was picking the team solely on how well the players had done for their clubs so far this season. I’d most likely pick Jagielka and Shawcross to start against San Marino as both have played well and started all league games for Everton and Stoke this season compared to Lescott who hasn’t started in Manchester City’s last couple of games and Cahill who is in and out of Chelsea’s starting eleven due to the high level of competition he’s up against in that team. While San Marino shouldn’t cause England too many problems and England should hopefully run out comfortable winners.

The next game against Poland will be a completely different kettle of fish. With the match taking place in Warsaw, Poland will probably feel confident enough to go into the game and believe that they can get a win. It will be up to the England defence to stop players like Robert Lewandowski from playing their natural game and posing a real threat to Joe Hart in goal. So whoever Hodgson decides to play against San Marino, if they play well he then has to make the big decision on whether he keeps them for the bigger game against Poland or if he gives somebody else a shot, because one thing is for sure. Regardless of what you think of John Terry off the pitch, on the pitch he could get the job done and was a real asset to England. Now that he has retired, it is up to another player to try and fill the gap that he has left.

I think the centre-halves Hodgson has picked for this squad are good choices and will be able to do a job for the next year or two until players such as Phil Jones and Steven Caulker get a bit more experience and then they can start making noises about wanting to become regulars for the team. Hopefully by the time the World Cup in Brazil is about to start, England will have qualified and Roy Hodgson will be able to have a collection of 6 or 7 quality centre halves that could give him a selection headache as he looks to pick the 23 players he feels will give England the best chance of success at the biggest tournament in the world.