England manager Roy Hodgson has named his second England squad, a selection for next Wednesday’s friendly against Italy – the team that knocked out England at UEFA Euro 2012 before losing out in the final – in the Swiss capital, Bern.
The squad is young enough and inexperienced enough to assume that Hodgson sees the game as an opportunity to experiment, leaving the most active Euro 2012 players to continue their pre-season training uninterrupted and bringing in one or two debutants.
He’ll have plenty to choose from: six players have been called up who are yet to be capped. Goalkeeper John Ruddy may both get 45 minutes in place of Joe Hart, which could be a rare opportunity for him, but Jack Butland may be allowed to leave the squad in time to play for Birmingham City against Barnet in the League Cup.
Ryan Bertrand of Chelsea and Steven Caulker of Tottenham Hotspur are in contention for their first caps after playing at the back for Great Britain in the Olympic Games, along with midfielder Tom Cleverley. Caulker’s Spurs colleague Jake Livermore gets his first international call-up and will be looking to make his debut for England at any level.
But the most newsworthy inclusion is that of Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick, confirmation that bridges were not burned between player and manager ahead of the European Championships. If he can maintain the form that made his Euros exclusion somewhat surprising, that’s good news for all of us.
Here’s the run-down of the full squad.
Joe Hart (Manchester City), Jack Butland (Birmingham City), John Ruddy (Norwich City)
There’s nothing unexpected in Hodgson’s selection of goalkeepers. He was eager to recall Ruddy, who missed out on Euro 2012 through injury, and Butland should now be a regular feature of future England squads. There’s no better goalkeeper than Hart to learn from, and he’s proved that he’s worthy of the international opportunities that come his way.
Leighton Baines (Everton), Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)
The England boss has discharged the most active of his Euros defence, bringing in Gary Cahill who was injured in the pre-tournament friendly against Belgium. Kyle Walker also returns after injury, while Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka appear to be likely starters.
Caulker and Bertrand are called up after playing for the Great Britain Frankenstein team at the Olympic Games, which Hodgson says he observed keenly. This is an opportunity for the pair to impress Hodgson, if not during the game then at least in the few days the squad will be together. Given how highly both are rated, this could be the first step of many.
Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Jake Livermore (Tottenham Hotspur), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Ashley Young (Manchester United)
Livermore’s inclusion has raised more than a few eyebrows, and almost certainly wouldn’t have happened for a World Cup qualifier. He has never played for England at any level, which at the age of 22 makes him an interesting case for the Football Association, which often has favoured players who make their way through the system, though many don’t succeed at senior level. Jack Rodwell gets another chance after a season destroyed by injury.
Frank Lampard and Adam Johnson both come into the squad, along with Carrick, Cleverley and a trio of Euros players that includes Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The former Southampton prospect starred in England’s friendly against Belgium and was the next great hope in Poland and Ukraine; his brief appearances didn’t disappoint, but it’ll be fascinating to see if he can now kick on for both club and country.
Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea), Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Aiming to help Oxlade-Chamberlain turn chances into assists will be a distinctly Rooneyless attacking corps. Daniel Sturridge, whose mixed fortunes at the Olympic Games persuaded me to assess his performances despite not caring one jot about the competition, is back in the picture after missing Euro 2012 and only recently recovering from a bout of meningitis.
And I’m delighted to report that the big man is in! Andy Carroll of Liverpool – at the moment – is included having scored a storming header against Sweden in Ukraine, and I’m not going to pretend that the idea of an Andy Carroll with a point to prove doesn’t make me optimistic for his future in an England shirt.
What do you think of the squad?
(Photo credit: Andrea Sartorati via Flickr)