Come 29 May, England's new man at the helm, Mr Roy Hodgson, will have completed his first major task as manager of England. Said task is to pick a 23 man squad to launch an assault on the European Championships which start in Kiev on 1 June. Given the notorious nature of the British public this is no easy task, especially given Hodgson wasn't the "people's choice". So, who does he take?
Goalkeepers (three must be selected):
When selecting goalkeepers for a major tournament one would really rather be in Germany's shoes, but unfortunately we are not. Our only world-class protagonist in this position is Joe Hart, a man who must remain fit for the duration of the championships if we are to have but a chance to win. As a Cambridge boy I would suggest taking John Ruddy as #2 after a fine season with Norwich. As for the third, take your pick from a decidedly average bunch, Carson, Green, Stockdale etc etc.
One has to assume that Ferdinand will agree to go despite having to grace the same area as John Terry (something most would find irksome). Increasingly confident performances in Europe from Gary Cahill at Chelsea would likely mean he will be on the plane. The left-footed balance that Joleon Lescott adds also assures him of a place on the plane.
Relatively speaking we are spoilt for choice here. At right back we have Micah Richards, Glen Johnson and the superb young talent of Kyle Walker. Given Richard's versatile nature it is likely that he will be off to Poland and the Ukraine this summer, as will the more experienced Johnson. Walker's time will come however. On the left, Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines both will go, end of discussion. A half fit Cole is better than a fully fit Wayne Bridge.
In my eyes this is fairly straightforward. Gerrard, Lampard, Parker and Barry. Those of you that have the same glasses prescription as Alex Ferguson will be trying to flaunt Michael Carrick, yet without those glasses on you will realise that he has no place in an England Shirt.
* We are assuming that even the eloquent Roy will not be able to persuade the great Paul Scholes out of international retirement.
Despite all his silly diving histrionics Ashley Young is currently the nation's best winger. Closely followed by Aaron Lennon who possesses the ability to tear average teams to smithereens. Man City's Adam Johnson is comfortably the best left-footed winger in the country and therefore must go. Finally, Mr Versatility, James Milner, will be going for exactly the above reason.
**If Stuart Downing goes ahead of Johnson to the Euros I may cry.
Wayne Rooney goes irrespective of his ban. The man is a genius (at least compared to the other options). Danny Welbeck must also be on the same flight given his outstanding form for the Red Devils. Despite failing to live up to his ludicrous price tag, Andy Carroll should also take the trip to add an extra dimension. The fourth space is a lottery. Do we go with the tried and tested and distinctly average Jermaine Defoe, or go for the mercurial talent of Daniel Sturridge. For me, Sturridge any day of the week.
Hart, Ruddy, Carson.
Terry, Ferdinand, Cahill, Lescott.
Richards, Johnson, Cole, Baines.
Gerrard, Lampard, Parker, Barry.
Young, Lennon, Johnson, Milner.
Rooney, Welbeck, Carroll, Sturridge.
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