Friday, 16 May 2014

England's World Cup 2014 Official Squad - Reactions and Review:

Hodgson's 23-man squad (+ the standby list) that he has picked to represent England at the WC
Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have reaction and a detailed review of England's World Cup 2014 official 23-man squad, which was announced by manager Roy Hodgson at 2pm on Monday afternoon.

The Premier League season came to an end yesterday, but that is certainly not the end of the football season! The World Cup begins in just over a month's time, and many of the international teams qualified for the tournament have started announcing their national squads ahead of the friendlies in a few weeks.

Monday was the long-awaited deadline for England to announce their squad, with many injuries ruling out players such as Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal) and Jay Rodriguez (Southampton), it would be interesting to see what team would be unveiled by Hodgson.

And then, there was some interesting developments on Sunday night, which featured an omission from the squad. Here it is:

  • Ashley Cole officially retired from international duty for England after being omitted from the national squad to play in the World Cup, with Hodgson saying that it would be best for the "youth to play" instead;

Proof: Cole confirmed on Sunday night that he has retired from England duty on Twitter
  • Meanwhile, Manchester United confirmed that they had submitted a £27million pound bid for Southampton young left-back Luke Shaw, who at the age of 18 has been selected to play for England in Brazil next month.
So here is the official squad plus the standby list for England, to go to the World Cup:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Man City), Ben Foster (West Brom) and Fraser Forster (Celtic). 

Expectation: Hart will be expected to perfom well, as he did during Euro 2012 (pictured)
No real problem with the goalkeeper selection, Hart is by far the best choice goalkeeper and there are two suitable replacements in Foster and Forster if need be. I would have probably expected Ruddy but the chances of him playing are slim so.

Jack Butland (currently contracted to Stoke) is a goalkeeper for the future, although he is currently playing for the under-21's. 

Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling and Phil Jones (both play for Man Utd), Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines (both representing Everton).

First choice regular? Baines will be expected to start for England in Brazil this summer
Young potential: Shaw has potential to be a regular in the coming years
The only real main concern for most England fans is that Ashley Cole is not going to Brazil, based on the recent performances of Shaw and the lack of encouraging displays from Cole himself. Mourinho is partly to blame for that, Cole has been a great servant for club and country and it's gone all of a sudden. 

Shaw probably will not start ahead of Baines, but it will provide some good experience of a major international tournament for the 18-year-old.

I would have thought that Caulker would be included in the squad, but maybe his team's overall performance (Cardiff getting relegated this season) is perhaps the reason why Hodgson has not included him. 

Midfielders: Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling (all 3 from Liverpool), James Milner (Man City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Ross Barkley (Everton), Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (both from Arsenal)

Quality: Lallana is a quality player who has impressed this season but, will he shine in Brazil?
Barkley has also proved himself this season for Everton, he could star for England aswell

No real issues to report in terms of midfield depth or strength. Probably the best looking part of the field from an English perspective, the balance between current-generation and next-generation is both exciting and intriguing to see how everyone plays.

Wilshere has been struggling with a few injuries as of late but when fit plays an integral part in the midfield. Barkley and Lallana should not be under any pressure to "carry" the midfield as it were, but do not be surprised if they perform well. 

Henderson is rewarded as a result of his improved performances for Liverpool this season with a justified place on the plane; but the question for him is whether he will be able to impress Hodgson enough to start matches, or just be an impact sub in the hub of midfield.

Improved: Henderson is now living up to the pricetag that Liverpool paid for him, will he impress in Brazil?
Sterling and Oxlade-Chamberlain provide the pace for the side, both have been influential for their respective clubs this season and they will be hoping that they can replicate that for their country also.

Milner is more of an impact substitution but if he starts he would be better placed away from the wing (ineffective) and Gerrard and Lampard are in amongst the more experienced members of the squad. 

Strikers: Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck (both from Man Utd)

Disappointed to see that Defoe is only on the standby list, if Tottenham had played him more often then I'm confident he would have been preferred over Lambert or Welbeck because he is certainly more clinical than both, has pace, an eye for goal and has experience. Hopefully he gets his chance.

Experience: Defoe (pictured here, 2010 World Cup) should have been chosen ahead of Welbeck