Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughChanges needed to the England squad - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Changes needed to the England squad - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Changes needed to the England squad

So the long awaited announcement was made on Wednesday as Roy Hodgson named his first England squad ahead of the European Championships. Understandably, it has been met with stark criticism sent in the way of the recently appointed national coach with all those with an opinion feeling this player should have been in ahead of that.

The23 man squad in full is as follows:

Joe Hart

John Ruddy

Rob Green


Glen Johnson

John Terry

Phil Jones

Joleon Lescott

Gary Cahill

Ashley Cole

Leighton Baines


Theo Walcott

Stewart Downing

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Steven Gerrard

Gareth Barry

Frank Lampard

Scott Parker

Ashley Young

James Milner


Andy Carroll

Danny Welbeck

Jermain Defoe

Wayne Rooney


On Standby:


Jack Butland

Phil Jagielka

Jordan Henderson

Adam Johnson

Daniel Sturridge


As pointed out, the squad was going to be criticised from the off, and rightfully so by some of the choices Hodgson made. Below, I will go into who shouldn’t be in the squad and who the natural replacement should have been.


After John Terry was stripped of the England captaincy back in February over the alleged racial allegations made to the Chelsea defender, much has been made over who will replace him in leading the nation this summer in Ukraine and Poland. Scott Parker was handed the role during the 3-2 defeat to Holland at the beginning of March under Stuart Pearce during his one game outing as interim manager.

Naturally, once Hodgson had taken over the speculation started up once again and, as expected, it was Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard that was handed the armband, having been instilled as the bookies favourite when Terry was stripped of the captaincy. While I don’t naturally disagree with Gerrard taking over the reins, for the Euro’s at least, with his credentials unrivalled by most, in the long-term, I believe there is a more viable option in the squad.

And that option comes in the form of Joe Hart. Let’s face it, barring serious injury, suspension or a cataclysmic drop in form, Hart has the England number one spot sealed up for the next 15, or so, years. So why not give it to a player that is going to be in and around the starting XI for the long-term? Laurent Blanc did the same with Hugo Lloris with France and I feel Hart would be the better choice to lead the nation, if not for the Euro’s, certainly the time after its completion.

Stewart Downing

This is beyond perplexing. How Liverpool winger Stewart Downing, who has played 36 league games and has as many Premiership goals and assists as I do, made the final 23-man squad is beyond anyone’s guess. Yes, I may have witnessed him score a goal this season and yes, he may have showed a glimmer of his quality in the Carling Cup final against Cardiff City, but for a player that was brought for £16m, his first season with the Reds has certainly failed to live up to expectations.

Yet, Hodgson must have seen something in him to have seen the 27-year-old warrant a call up to the national team. Granted, his time with Aston Villa was largely productive, with the winger ended his second season at Villa Park with eight goals and eight assists, but on recent form, the Reds man would be lucky to get near the Liverpool substitutes bench, let alone the England team.

Numerous candidates had every right to take his place in the squad, two of which are on the stand-by list in; Daniel Sturridge and Adam Johnson. Aaron Lennon, Matt Jarvis, Matthew Etherington, even Nathan Redmond, would all have been better choices ahead of Downing for one of the places on the place to Ukraine and Poland.

Scott Parker

Before you jump all over me for this, there is a valid reason Scott Parker shouldn’t be on that plane. Yes, he where’s his heart on his sleeve. Yes, he is the perfect midfield shield for the back four and yes, he has been excellent for Tottenham Hotspur this season, but, the fact of the matter is, Parker is currently nursing an Achilles problem that will surely see him drop out of the squad over the next week or so anyway.

Achilles injuries are one of the most difficult to overcome for a professional footballer due to the pressure the muscle undergoes during a 90 minute game, not to mention training on top of that. Team-mate Michael Dawson missed a substantial chunk of the 2011/12 season as a result of the problem he picked up while David Beckham, on-loan with AC Milan at the time, was forced out of the 2010 World Cup with the very same problem.

Both missed months of the season as a result, leaving Parker facing a similar fate. Having missed the end of the current campaign through the injury problem, chances are the tough-tackling returning to Spurs next week are high. Michael Carrick has been instrumental in Manchester United’s success this season and his defensive stats are marginally worse off than Parker. However, on a creative side, his passing is borderline 80% per game leading to calls as to why he wasn’t included in, at the very least, the stand-by list. And, if as predicted, Parker does pull out of the squad, then there is always Jordan Henderson to be drafted in….

Micah Richards

How Micah Richards didn’t get into the final 23-man squad beggars belief. Hodgson confirmed it was between him and Phil Jones about who would travel with the squad for the European Championships, with the Manchester United preferred due to his ‘versatility’. And while I don’t condone Jones’ inclusion, not taking Richards on the plane is a mistake in itself by Hodgson.

With Kyle Walker playing no part in the tournament due to injury, many believed Richards was a shoe-in for a place in the squad, either as Glen Johnson’s back-up or as a starter. But, to not even include the 23-year-old on the standby-list, like Carrick at the very least, is another poor choice by the former Baggies boss, especially considering Phil Jagielka has his history of injury problems coupled with Richards being more versatile than the Everton defender.

Personally, I would’ve dropped him for Chelsea defender Gary Cahill, or even team-mate Frank Lampard. Many believe that he should’ve been on the plane ahead of Terry, something I disagree with despite the looming court case, but either way, Richards deserved his place on the place to the Euro’s.

Peter Crouch/Grant Holt

Either Peter Crouch or Grant Holt, of Stoke City and Norwich City respectively, deserved as much recognition as any of the front-men that Hodgson included in his squad. Both have enjoyed successful campaigns for their teams this year, while the former already has a formidable international record, with 22 goals in 42 games.

Holt may have been considered a wild card by some, but he still captained the Canaries to a 12th place finish in their first season back in the Premier League since their relegation in 2005. The 31-year-old, who recently handed in a transfer request, ended the season with 17 goals in all competitions and was a constant thorn in the side of every defence he came up against during the season.

With an impressive run of form towards the end of the season for Andy Carroll, Wayne Rooney always set to be included and team-mate Danny Welbeck enjoying a successful campaign for Manchester United, it would be Tottenham Hotspur’s Jermain Defoe that would be the unlucky one to miss out on a place in the England squad. He may have ended the season with 17 goals, despite appearing sporadically under Harry Redknapp this year, but many are of the opinion that either Crouch or Holt would make a better impact against opposition defences, especially from the bench.

Ben McAleer