It’s been a week of mixed fortunes on the field for England, and there’s been plenty of news to pick through besides. It’s worth noting, of course, the developments this week regarding Hillsborough. The families of the 96 supporters lost that day have been vindicated in their 23-year cause and I wish them every success in securing some form of justice. The Football Association is among those that should be hanging their heads.
According to BBC Sport, Stoke City’s towering striker Peter Crouch is currently out of the international picture because of his refusal to be on Roy Hodgson’s UEFA Euro 2012 standby list. England’s weakness up front due to recent injuries might have opened the door for Crouch, but Phil McNulty reports that Hodgson isn’t too keen on Crouch. He’s not ruled him out, however. Crouch has spoken of his desire to get back in the England side and bring new team-mate Michael Owen with him.
(Former?) England midfielder Gareth Barry has been joined at Manchester City by a multitude of last-minute new signings, but one of Roberto Mancini’s earlier summer captures was Jack Rodwell from Everton. According to Barry, Rodwell has settled in well at the Etihad and is already bedding in. The more he plays, says Barry, the better he’ll be. Let’s hope he’s right, because Rodwell remains highly rated and should be part of the England set-up for years to come.
Raheem Sterling’s late call-up for the FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying match against Ukraine on Tuesday was a surprise to most of us, but offered him the chance to experience the competitive international scene despite his modest age. Iain Macintosh is encouraged by the Liverpool teenager’s shock selection because it indicates a side of Hodgson that he doesn’t show very often. Sterling, says Macintosh, is fun. Quite right.
If Sterling’s late call-up was surprising, a call-up for Norwich City midfielder Johnny Howson would have been right out of left field. But the 24-year-old quite rightly hasn’t given up hope of an England career, and there may well be caps in his future because he’s a player of some quality. And certain news outlets think there are no alternatives to Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard!
The Football Ramble podcast this week is as good as ever, with an added Englandy bonus: the subject of the profile is England legend Peter Shilton.