Frank Lampard’s days in an England shirt could be numbered after the 33-year-old Chelsea midfielder became a confirmed absentee from England’s UEFA Euro 2012 campaign due to a thigh injury.
Lampard’s withdrawal follows the ruling out of Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry, and leaves England manager Roy Hodgson to bring in another player from the standby list. That man is Liverpool’s 21-year-old former Sunderland youngster Jordan Henderson, a fifth Reds player to join the squad under their former boss.
Hodgson quite rightly considers Lampard injury to be a disappointing development for England. From BBC Sport:
“It’s a huge blow for the team, especially coming after the loss of another senior player in Gareth Barry. The fact that the doctor cannot guarantee Frank could take part in any of the group matches means we have to replace him in the central midfield area. Apart from it being a huge blow to me and the team, I’m especially disappointed for Frank himself.”
With Steven Gerrard being the captain and Hodgson not being a complete moron, it’s unlikely that Lampard would have featured too heavily in Ukraine and (hopefully) Poland. But an unfortunate sequence of events has prevented England from being able to replace him adequately.
I don’t buy into the tabloid-style criticism of Henderson, which all too often comes across as a reflex response from supporters. I also think Henderson most likely has a significant future with the England team and, on that basis, I’m not displeased that he has been added to the squad.
Most importantly, I don’t blame Henderson for being the man on the standby list and therein lies the disappointment in all this. Discounting Paul Scholes for a moment – as a one-off and after a lot of thought, I’d have liked him to be involved this summer – a large contributor to the wailing about Henderson’s call-up is the fact that Michael Carrick is widely recognised to have enjoyed an exceptional season in the middle of the park for Manchester United.
The exact details of Carrick’s omission are a little hazy and seem to vary from source to source. It appears that he was given some indication of his position in the pecking order, be that on the substitutes’ bench or on the standby list, and chose to make himself unavailable. Instead of heading for Poland and Ukraine as first Barry’s and now Lampard’s replacement, Carrick is on the mythical footballers’ summer beach in de facto international retirement.
This state of affairs might still be acceptable to Carrick or it might be a source of regret. But whatever the player’s feelings on whether he should have been included ahead of Lampard and Barry or his attitude towards the standby list, it’s a shame for England that he couldn’t at least have been an option for Hodgson at this stage.
(Photo credit: DFID via Flickr)