On Thursday morning, England manager Roy Hodgson announced the squad he will use for upcoming friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands in the build up to Euro 2016. Two opponents that demand the Three Lions’ finest if they are to emerge victorious, and whilst Hodgson’s selections are bursting with talent, there was yet another sense of predictability.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Fraser Forster
The goalkeepers picked could hardly be argued with, but it’s again likely Joe Hart will be the preferred number one when perhaps Stoke City’s Jack Butland and Southampton’s Fraser Forster are more deserving based on this season’s performances.
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne, Phil Jagielka, Danny Rose, Chris Smalling, John Stones and Kyle Walker
In defence, Tottenham left-back Danny Rose has been picked, but it must be argued that West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell has performed equally well this campaign and should have been given a look in.
Perhaps most bewilderingly is Phil Jagielka’s selection ahead of the likes of Scott Dann, the former having suffered an array of injuries this season whilst the latter has performed admirably for a struggling Crystal Palace side.
Midfielders: Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Eric Dier, Danny Drinkwater, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, James Milner and Raheem Sterling
England’s midfield epitomises the point of players being chosen because of who they play for rather than their performances on the pitch.
Jordan Henderson is a particularly confusing choice given how well Mark Noble has played in the centre of West Ham’s midfield, and it could be argued James Milner is just as undeserving.
Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Danny Drinkwater have all been chosen for their contributions and excellent displays this campaign, so why not Noble – the leader England is arguably lacking?
Forwards: Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck
With regards to going forward, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are hands down England’s best current strikers, scoring goals on a regular basis in the Premier League and potentially steering their respective clubs to the title.
However, long-term injuries to Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck this season perhaps suggest they haven’t done enough to warrant a place, whilst Theo Walcott’s form has been largely shocking over the past few months.
Had it not been for a lack of other quality options, the above three might not have been included.
The only blessing in disguise is Wayne Rooney’s absence as a result of injury. The Manchester United striker has long struggled for domestic form and whilst his place at the European Championships shouldn’t be guaranteed, his role as captain will see him nudge someone out of the picture – unfortunately.