• Pick & Mix (featuring Red Roy of Old Albion)

    Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Man City), Rob Green (West Ham), John Ruddy (Norwich)

    Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Man United), John Terry (Chelsea), Joleon Lescott (Man City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Leighton Baines (Everton)

    Midfielders: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Man City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Ashley Young (Man United), James Milner (Man City)

    Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Man United), Danny Welbeck (Man United), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)


    Standby players: Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea).

    First impressions:

    Joe Hart

    No brainer – 2nd name on team sheet & should be captain, IMO. Hart has been sensational since being left out of the team for WC2010 and is the only one that looks nailed on to play for the next 2 or 3 major tournaments, at least.

    Rob Green – welcome back

    John Terry

    Very disappointed to see Terry included. This will obviously dominate the news agenda for the next 2-3 weeks for all the wrong reasons and this will almost certainly detract from individual and team preparation. Hodgson might have sidestepped this issue by dropping Ferdinand and Terry (no one is expecting anything this time, Roy – you have a free pass through this one). Terry’s lack of mobility in tight areas in some recent games is a worry in itself and Karim Benzema must be rubbing his hands together.

    That said, if Terry clicks with Cahill at the heart of the defensive unit and we progress I will be among the first to congratulate Roy for making the right decision. Indeed, I’ll be offering Terry all of my appearance money because he fully deserves to have the best possible chance of getting all the available money in the land, wherever and however he can get it.

    John Ruddy

    John Ruddy? Ruddy Fuddy Duddy! What odds on that caption appearing with suitable Red Roy graphic in a redtop sometime soon?

    Glen Johnson

    Once Kyle Walker got crocked this was a straight choice between a right back whose confidence must be sky high and has earned rave reviews this year – and Glen Johnson. The fact that Micah Richards has been left out will intensify the scrutiny on Johnson. The fact is, though, that both are great going forward, but there are still doubts about both around the defending bit.

    Steve McLaren said that Richards had got a ‘great leap’. If Johnson gets crocked then Phil Jones will need a great leap of faith to play alongside Terry - a man who has an issue with his club mate Rio Ferdinand. Phil Jones must be scratching his head wondering how to square the group dynamic of club v country when he next sees Rio - his superior and excluded club mate! I hope he doesn't end up thinking about this at the fraction of a second that there has been a transition in play and he needs to do something decisive...

    Gary Cahill

    Cahill is impressive defensively. He’s also impressive both in the air and on the ground in the opponent’s penalty box, which could be significant. If he clicks with Terry and the team takes off out of the group then Hodgson’s selection might be vindicated (pending a positive outcome on the Terry court case, if that comes to pass).

    Stuart Downing



    Hope to see something exciting theXX, but doubt will get any game time. Good experience for him so very pleased for him.

    Stephen Gerrard

    Please can you limit the over hit Hollywood passes to switch play that go straight out? I can imagine Gerrard having some mind games with some colleagues over the captaincy as well (no prizes for naming names, here). This is one good reason I would go for title winning Hart for captain. It would give the team and squad the upward trajectory of a confidence boost for not only this tournament, but 2014 and beyond, too. MCFC, like Hart, are here to stay for some time.

    Gareth Barry & Scott Parker

    I’ve only seen Barry live twice this season. In the league game he was tidy enough in possession, but his mobility was still a question mark for me. The other game I saw him play was the international against Holland in Feb. Here, both Barry and Parker looked mechanical and comparatively poor against their opponents. It seemed to me that their first thought was to make sure they controlled the ball with their first touches and only then could they consider what to do next. In contrast, the Dutch were a study in perpetual motion - this was clear even in the warm up. Their play is like that of a chess grandmaster thinking of outcomes many moves ahead.

    Van Bommel and De Jong as a defensive holding pair were many levels above the England players. De Jong, in particular, showed us what a defensive midfield player can be. The way he rolled his foot over the ball teasing the England players as to which way he was going to play was something that would not enter the thoughts of the England players – even our strikers. Similarly, In the last game against France (Nov 2010) - when they absolutely battered us, by the way - there was a moment which summed up what I believe is a major problem with Barry. Just before the end of the first half Samir Nasri found himself confronted by Barry out wide near the halfway line. No problem – Nasri saw plenty of space behind Barry and executed a beautiful, quick trick (Ronaldinho) with ease and grace to leave Barry stranded in the channel like a ship-wreck. For me, that moment demonstrated why coaching in England desparately needs an overhaul (i.e. where are our players who can do something like this to beat a player and create a numerical advantage going forwards). Barry is simply not mobile enough to play in a midfield four, IMO.

    Oh no - Hodgson likes 4 4 2.

    Wayne Rooney

    Unavailable for selection for the first 2 games (thanks, Wayne). Bring your beach towel to get some practice in at the tournament before you go on holiday because you wont get chance to get much game time.

    Andy Carroll

    Last week, Damian Comolli said that only really intelligent people can now make it at the very top level in elite professional football. Andy’s own empirical evidence might cause Andy to challenge this theory, which would – in a strange way - bring Andy a bit closer to Damian’s hypothesis. Weird!

    Anyway, Carroll has been poor since his pricey move to Liverpool, but this gamble could be a red rags to riches double play. We live in hope (as ever)....

    Andy - my working hypothesis? Lose, draw, draw, ...beach!

    Of course, I hope that England exceed everyone's expectations, but I am not confident and I will explain why.


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