We only have one goalkeeper. If Joe Hart picks up an injury the depth of the talent pool between the sticks is rather shallow. John Ruddy has had a good season, hence his inclusion, but he’s third choice behind a man who might not be playing Premiership football for the second season in a row. Hart is the undisputed number one, he is the best goalkeeper England have had since David Seaman and you can assume that he’ll be England’s first choice for the rest of his career.
Balance is imperative. Roy Hodgson emphasised the importance of finding the right balance in the squad. Has he done it? The selections of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, Theo Walcott and Andy Carroll are big indicators of the direction the squad will go in the future. Barring injuries they would all be in the 2014 World Cup squad so bedding them into the international process now is crucial. He’s balanced the youth with the members of the old-guard too. John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and Steven Gerrard will probably all feature and possibly for the last time in a tournament. They probably feel they’ve got something left to prove, too.
Stewart Downing?! 0 assists and 0 goals in 36 games. 27, so not that young. No genuine pace, not really a direct winger in the same sense that Young, Walcott and Chamberlain will be. The entire nation isn’t sure about this one. Saying that, proved at Villa that he could do something. Playing for England, in my opinion, will be a completely different experience to playing for Liverpool in the circumstances that club is in.
Rio’s time is up. Questions were raised about his fitness, he’s been caught up in the race row between his brother and John Terry but he’s not been chosen for “footballing reasons”. At 33, Rio’s done his time. He’s been to four World Cups and two European Championships, he’s the third most capped centre-back in the country. There comes a time when it has to end and I’m sure he’d happily pass the opportunity on to Phil Jones and Chris Smalling who, I’m sure, would have been in if he’d been fit.
No one is happy. Manchester United fans are livid at the exclusion of Michael Carrick and Ferdinand. Manchester City fans are bemoaning Micah Richard’s absence. Everyone is questioning Downing’s selection, even the Liverpool fans. Some think Carroll’s £35m fee dictates how he should have played all season, even though he has ended the season in good form. Some don’t think Terry should go, some think taking Wayne Rooney is a risk and others think that it doesn’t matter because England won’t win it.