Something of a formality this month – the England squad depth update for May and June is intended to reflect (i.e. second guess) England manager Roy Hodgson’s current thinking and, as we know, a large portion of that thinking has now been crystallised in his first squad.
It is based on the actual England squad for UEFA Euro 2012, the most appropriate point at which to reset my list given that it is an attempted assessment of where I think Roy Hodgson’s thinking might be in any given month.
Joe Hart, Robert Green, John Ruddy
Scott Carson, David Stockdale, Jack Butland
Despite an apparent media effort to drag Ben Foster out of retirement it is John Ruddy who steps up to join the squad. The Norwich City goalkeeper won endless plaudits for his performances in the Premier League last season and deserves his call-up ahead of a crop of goalkeepers that haven’t quite matched him. Rob Green sits in the second spot, with Joe Hart obviously the man in possession of the number one shirt.
Jack Butland’s inclusion on the standby list raised a few eyebrows, but none on this face. The Birmingham City and England Under-21 goalkeeper is mightily impressive for a man of modest years, and despite going out on loan from St Andrew’s last term he is a promising prospect between the posts. David Stockdale and Scott Carson miss out, and potentially drop out of the England reckoning, though I’d hope Stockdale has international involvement ahead of him.
Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Joleon Lescott, Glen Johnson, Phil Jones
Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Kieran Gibbs
Chris Smalling, Phil Jagielka, Kyle Walker, Micah Richards, Martin Kelly
Kyle Walker misses out through injury but will surely be back in the reckoning by the time the new season starts. The same is not necessarily true of Rio Ferdinand, who has most likely now played his last game in an England shirt. Phil Jagielka has been named on the standby list, and the selection of John Terry, the superior form of Joleon Lescott and the rise of Gary Cahill did him no favours.
Chris Smalling will be waiting in the wings should any of these players – I mean you, Terry – decide to retire after Euro 2012, while Micah Richards should return to the Manchester City side in August desperate to re-establish a permanent birth in the defence of the Premier League champions and a return to the England squad.
Gareth Barry, Stewart Downing, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Scott Parker, Ashley Young
Scott Sinclair, Aaron Lennon, Jack Rodwell, Michael Carrick, Jack Wilshere
Adam Johnson, Joe Cole, Tom Cleverley
With Michael Carrick effectively retiring himself from international football and Jack Wilshere back to square one on the injury front (a return date of 2-3 months from now is currently slated), Manchester United’s young midfielder Tom Cleverley takes a step closer to the squad. Like Terry, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are of an age where retirement could come under consideration, and while Gerrard’s appointment as captain makes his withdrawal unlikely, Lampard might just think twice come July.
The selection of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cements the Arsenal youngster’s place in the senior England set-up, but Stewart Downing heads into the Euros under a mountain of pressure. Adam Johnson is waiting in the wings (on the wings, natch) to steal his place.
Wayne Rooney, Andy Carroll, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Jermain Defoe
Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Daniel Sturridge
Jermain Defoe’s call-up is not necessarily a reflection of his long-term England prospects, but it’s a real kick in the teeth for Daniel Sturridge, in whom Hodgson clearly doesn’t yet have full confidence. Theo Walcott quickly recovered from an injury problem to take up his place in the squad, and Andy Carroll recovered something resembling form in order to see off Peter Crouch, who’s reaction was reportedly similar to that of Carrick.
Darren Bent’s injury eventually did for him too, though he felt he was fit enough to attend this summer despite making a limited contribution at Aston Villa during the season that’s just concluded.
There you have it – a bit shorter than usual, but a refreshed base list to work from next season. Come on England!