England v Sweden: Huge game for certain players on Merseyside

The England squad was announced today ahead of next week’s friendly in Sweden, with most of the talk being about a recall to Jack Wilshere after not playing for his national side since June 2011. However, it is also of huge importance to two players in particular for vastly different reasons.

Leon Osman has been a regular contributor to the goals and assists column in the Premier League since his breakthrough into the Everton first team back in 2004. For Osman, it is a reward for all his hard work, and at 31, probably his last chance to show he has International class. Some fans, including those not supporting Everton, have felt that Osman was long overdue his call up to the national side; Everton are consistently in the top half of the table, often finishing in the European places, and even producing a season back in 04/05 that saw them finish in fourth position.

Osman, who is also eligible for both Cyprus and Turkey, has started over 25 games a season for Everton since 2004, and has proved over his years at the club that he has the tenacity and engine needed in the English game, as well as having a ‘European’ style of play, showing guile and creativity from midfield, with a low centre of gravity. Since Roy Hodgson’s appointment as England manager, we have seen players included who have barely played for their club side; was this because of the eliteism of the ‘top 6’ in England? Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson was heavily linked with a call up, while Ryan Bertrand, Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling have all gained call ups without a huge amount of first team experience.

Liverpool’s Sterling, is another player whose call up will mean a lot to his footballing career, as well as being a big cultural decision in his life. Sterling was born, and bred in Jamaica until the age of 5, and it was understood that the 17-year-old was holding talks with Jamaican representatives about the prospect of representing the ‘Reggae Boys’. England appeared to have shackled the talk of Sterling’s future when he was called up to the senior side for the game against Ukraine, but as the youngster didn’t future, he was up for grabs in terms of which national side he could represent. England’s capture of the talented winger should be seen as somewhat of a coup, given the player’s fine form he has shown in his 9 games for the Merseyside club this season, and it’s now up to the player to show he’s good enough to compete for a starting birth with the likes of Ashley Young.

Osman and Sterling are at completely different junctions in their respective footballing careers, but this call up and upcoming friendly should they start, could have a huge and positive affect on both their football, and personal lives.