Hodgson names Euros squad

Roy Hodgson has named his provisional 26 man squad for Euro 2016, with the inclusion of Marcus Rashford proving the biggest talking point. Jack Wilshere has also made the squad after making just one Premier League start this season.


Rashford was supposed to be on Under 21 duty this summer. Image: Manchester Evening News.

Rashford has scored 7 goals in 16 since breaking in to the Manchester United first team, but his inclusion has surprised many due to his lack of experience. Fabian Delph is another surprise call up, alongside Newcastle’s Andros Townsend.

Leicester have two representatives in the squad, Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater, whilst there are five players from both Spurs and Liverpool.

Theo Walcott is perhaps the biggest name to miss out, with Hodgson citing lack of first team football for his omission, whilst Jermain Defoe also misses out despite his 15 league goals for Sunderland. West Ham’s Mark Noble and Aaron Cresswell have also missed out after good seasons.

The final 23 man squad has to be named by 31st May, meaning that 3 players will face an agonising cut.

Butland steps in to England reckoning

Jack Butland has been one of the form goalkeepers in the Premier League so far. The Englishman has seized on the opportunity left by Asmir Begovic’s move to Chelsea. After his performances this season, there have been calls for Roy Hodgson to give him the chance to add to his solitary cap. He was named in the squad to face San Marino and Switzerland, but did not get a chance to play, even against the group minnows.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Stoke have had a pretty miserable start to the season, with the sales of Begovic and N’zonzi, and the loss of Ryan Shawcross to injury, meansing that the spine of last season’s team has disappeared. It is no wonder that Mark Hughes’ side have looked anything but solid, picking up just two points from five games.

But from this turmoil, Butland has risen to be considered once again as Joe Hart’s natural competitor. Butland was one of only four goalkeepers to take to the field last weekend that are eligible to play for England, and he produced a string of fine saves to limit the Potters to a 2-0 defeat. His importance to the side could be seen in his Man of the Match performance against Norwich, in which he made six saves whilst playing with a broken finger.

Source: bbc.co.uk/sport

Source: bbc.co.uk/sport

In fact, Butland’s 27 saves this season is more than any other Premier League stopper, but why has he suddenly stepped up to become one of the best performing goalkeepers in the division. The main reason, one would presume, would be because of the confidence that he has due to being the definitive number one. Begovic’s departure could have seen Stoke sign a new first choice keeper, and continue loaning out Butland. Instead, they gave him the number one shirt, and brought in Shay Given. The experienced Irishman would be able to provide guidance for the 22 year old, but also to step straight in if Butland needed to be taken out of the limelight. This boost in confidence, as well as the stability of knowing where he will play his football this season can only have aided his game.

Another reason why Butland had stepped up is that he was needed to. With an untried defence, and a midfield unit based more on the attacking side of the game, Stoke have looked very vulnerable at times. Added to this, they have had a tough run of opening fixtures, already facing Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal. These factors mean that he was likely to see a lot of action, and his club have needed him to seize the initiative and show why they had placed so much faith in him. The easy option for Hughes would be to play the tried and tested Given until the defence had settled, or at least until Shawcross had recovered, but the manager has to be applauded for keeping faith with his young stopper.

Butland had previously won plaudits in 2012, where he stepped up from League Two Cheltenham Town to make England’s European Championship squad, winning his only cap to date, as well as keeping goal for the Great Britain Olympic team.

England squad numbers announced

This afternoon the FA announced the England squad numbers for the upcoming World Cup. This may reveal how Roy Hodgson is looking to line up, perhaps giving the first 11 shirts to his preferred starting line up.

If this is the case, the major talking point will be Frank Lampard’s selection, wearing number 8. The numbers suggest that Hodgson may resort to the same old England managers’ mistake of playing both Lampard and Gerrard together in midfield. This would see the omission of the in-form Jordan Henderson, who will wear 14, Adam Lallana (20) and Ross Barkley (21). The back five picks itself, with Hart, Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka and Baines being give the numbers corresponding to their respective positions, whilst captain Steven Gerrard will wear number 4 – which he usually wears for England and is synonymous with the Anchor Man role that he will be asked to play in Brazil. Jack Wilshere will wear the number 7 shirt despite his lack of appearances recently for Arsenal.

It would appear Danny Welbeck will be played out on the left, with Daniel Sturridge, the top English goalscorer in the Premier League, being shoved out wide on the right. This, as shown in the most recent friendly against Denmark, will be a complete waste of Daniel Sturridge, just too accommodate the best 11 players that England have. Rather than playing Sturridge out wide, surely Hodgson would have learnt from that friendly and will look to play him centrally. Should the first eleven players be picked to start, this would mean the omission of Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling, who have both had excellent seasons at Southampton and Liverpool respectively.

However there is another way at looking at these numbers. As Frank Lampard is the vice captain, he may have been given his preferred number 8, which he has worn for club and country for over a decade. Chris Smalling (12), Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (15), Adam Lallana (20) and Luke Shaw (23) have all been given numbers outside of the 11, but they also wear these numbers for their clubs, so these could be their preferred numbers. Hodgson has recently said that he hasn’t yet decided who will start against Italy in England’s opening game, so don’t be surprised if anyone in the squad makes it in to the team in Manaus.


The England World Cup squad numbers in full:

1. Joe Hart, 2. Glen Johnson, 3. Leighton Baines, 4. Steven Gerrard, 5. Gary Cahill, 6. Phil Jagielka, 7. Jack Wilshere, 8. Frank Lampard, 9. Daniel Sturridge, 10. Wayne Rooney, 11. Daniel Welbeck, 12. Chris Smalling, 13. Ben Foster, 14. Jordan Henderson, 15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 16. Phil Jones, 17. James Milner, 18. Rickie Lambert, 19. Raheem Sterling, 20. Adam Lallana, 21. Ross Barkley, 22. Fraser Forster, 23. Luke Shaw