WASHINGTON, May 14, 2012 — Will newly appointed England coach Roy Hodgson surprise us when he names his 23-man roster for the 2012 European Championship on Wednesday? He’s already delighted many of us by naming former Manchester United defender Gary Neville, 37, to his coaching staff.
It might be time for Hodgson to bring in some new blood on the backline and leave the feuding John Terry and Rio Ferdinand behind. However, that would leave a lack of experience in the middle of the defense, so it’s likely Hodgson will bring one of the two, and the pundits think its going to be Rio Ferdinand.
I argue that Hodgson should take Andy Carroll as a striker. Carroll seems to be finding his form at the right time and often plays well in the big games.
See my choices below as well as those who should start against France in the opening group game on June 11.
1. Joe Hart - Finally England has a solid number one goalie. Hart has been excellent for Manchester City (Starter).
2. Ben Foster - Has the experience to come in and replace Hart if needed.
3. Paul Robinson - Best to have some experience on the bench rather than a youngster just in case there’s an injury or a red card.
4. Ashley Cole (Starter) - Still one of the best in the world. Hard working and experienced.
5. Leighton Baines - He is coming off a great season at Everton.
6. Gary Cahill - The Chelsea player is coming off an injury but has done well learning from John Terry.
7. Joleon Lescott (Starter) - He has been a big part of Manchester City’s success this season.
8. Rio Ferdinand (Starter) - Having been ruled out of the 2010 World Cup with an injury, this could be the last chance for the vastly experienced defender to play in a major international tournament.
9. Micah Richards - A talented overlapping player with great speed and the potential to get a shot on goal. It’s a tough call between him and the experienced Glen Johnson.
10. Kyle Walker - He maybe peaking just at the right time and could easily start.
11. Glen Johnson (Starter) - Solid defender who has good attacking skills.
12. Scott Parker - A solid workhorse in the middle of the park. The kind of player every team needs.
13. Steven Gerrand (Starter) - Can be brilliant at times. Still working his way back to top fitness.
14. Frank Lampard (Starter) - Still a very wise and smart player who scores goals and makes excellent passes. Good player to bring off the bench. Has notched 11 goals in the league this season.
15. Gareth Barry (Starter) - Consistent and practical. He does all the right things.
16. Phil Jones - A good utility player who leaves it all on the field.
17. Ashley Young (Starter) - Has the speed and ability to make the killer pass.
18. Theo Walcott (Starter) - Is this the event where Walcott finally breaks out and proves to us he has the talent? The speed is there, but he must finish off chances.
19. Adam Johnson - Didn’t get a lot of playing time this season at Manchester City, but he can hold the ball and cause problems at the top of the 18-yard with his nifty dribbles and cuts across the box.
20. Wayne Rooney - The key striker on the team with 27 goals this season in league play, but he will miss the first two games due to suspension.
21. Andy Carroll - We are still waiting to see the best form this player but he turns up in the big games. He can also defend. Also a good player to bring off the bench.
22. Danny Wellbeck - (Starter) Landed a starting role at Manchester United and scored nine goals this season. Holds the ball up very well.
23. Daniel Sturridge - This is one hungry player with great speed and a nose for the goal. He needs a chance to prove himself and this could be the moment.
The England team will gather on May 21 and travel to Malaga, Spain for a five-day training camp. and then plays a friendly against Norway in Olso on May 26. The team then plays before a friendly, a sold-out Wembley Stadium on June 2 before the team heads to their base in Krakow, Poland on June 6.
For over 20 years John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
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