With a little under a week to go before the game, Roy Hodgson has named a 24-man squad for England’s friendly international against Brazil. The match will take place at a sold-out Wembley Stadium next Wednesday evening.
That Hodgson has named 24 players and only two goalkeepers is interesting if only for the fact that it suggests he has a few dilemmas. A recent peruse through England’s options suggested that Daniel Sturridge must be included, but it’s difficult to see where Hodgson could gain the space to include him. By creating two extra spots in his squad for Brazil, the England boss has created room he doesn’t really have.
With that in mind, there will no doubt be a few players whose performance next week could help shape their international prospects. Overall, though, it’s a very strong squad (insofar as any England squad is strong). There’s nothing in the way of experimentation, nor are there any debuts in the pipeline.
Here’s the squad in full:
Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Joe Hart (Manchester City)
As ever, nothing to see between the pipes, as they say. Hodgson has sacrificed a goalkeeper spot in a way he wouldn’t be allowed to repeat for a major tournament, meaning that Celtic’s Fraser Forster misses out. It’s okay though; like John Ruddy he’s injured anyway, so Hodgson’s decision to not select a third goalkeeper seems to tie off his corps at four.
At the time of writing, Jack Butland’s future remains uncertain with five hours remaining of the winter transfer window. He reportedly rejected the chance to leave Birmingham City and talk to Chelsea, but Stoke City’s interest in him remains.
Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)
There are no surprises in Hodgson’s selection in front of Hart and Butland either. Chris Smalling is the only inclusion worth raising an eyebrow for, and the Manchester United defender will be expected to deputise for Gary Cahill and either Phil Jagielka or Joleon Lescott in the middle of the back four.
Chelsea’s Ashley Cole is in line to complete a remarkable achievement on what should be a special night at Wembley. With Ronaldinho and Neymar in town, an appearance at left back for Cole would earn him his 100th cap. Much, much more on that in these very pages if and when it occurs.
Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur), James Milner (Manchester City), Leon Osman (Everton), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Hodgson has opted for midfield stability too. Arsenal’s baby-faced duo Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain keep their spots, and at the other end of the spectrum skipper Steven Gerrard is joined by Frank Lampard. Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley offer more options in the middle.
Leon Osman of Everton has retained his spot after a tidy enough debut against Sweden. There isn’t a huge amount of natural width on offer, but Oxlade-Chamberlain and club team-mate Theo Walcott – as well as James Milner and perhaps Osman himself – will provide the solutions for Hodgson on the flanks.
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United)
Some of Liverpool’s English players have been shining of late, and arguably their absence is the only slight surprise of the squad in general. But Daniel Sturridge, a new signing for the Merseyside club, has really hit the ground running at Anfield and fully deserves his inclusion in this latest squad. Around him, the usual suspects keep their places as England continue to struggle to find striking talent whose faces fit.
Rickie Lambert, meanwhile, is overlooked once more.
(Photo credit: cieguilla via Flickr)
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