I’d like to think that I had thought about the idea of naming England’s 23-man team for EURO 2012 before this Guardian article, but you know what they say, I snooze I lose. For the heck of it, I will give my own two cents anyway, just because I can.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Scott Carson, Rob Green (unless Paul Robinson and Ben Foster come out of international exile)
Defenders: Micah Richards, Kyle Walker; Phil Jones, John Terry, Joleon Lescott, Michael Dawson; Leighton Baines, Ashley Cole
Midfielders: Scott Parker, Gareth Barry, Jack Wilshere, Jack Rodwell, Frank Lampard; Adam Johnson, Ashley Young, Theo Walcott, James Milner
Forwards: Wayne Rooney, Darren Bent, Gabby Agbonlahor, Andy Carroll, Daniel Sturridge
First XI: Hart; Richards, Jones, Lescott, Cole; Parker, Wilshere, Milner, Johnson, Young; Agbonlahor
Yes, I’ve added Lampard and Terry into the squad, but the Chelsea duo would add valuable experience if the Three Lions do qualify for the latter stages of the competition in Poland and Ukraine. Gerrard and Ferdinand, despite being at the wrong side of 30, would have been automatic choices on the plane had they not been so injury-plagued for the past couple of seasons.
What about the wildcards? Well, Agbonlahor has been in glorious form this season, and I rate him above the other strikers in the squad (with Rooney suspended). With his strength and searing speed, the Aston Villa forward would be a threat against any defence, and the fact that he likes to drift to the left wing means the front trio of him, Johnson and Young, with Milner in support, could switch attacking positions at will.
The central defensive pairing of Lescott and Jones may seem strange to some, but the City defender has improved by leaps and bounds under Mancini in recent seasons while Jones, though susceptible to lapses defensively, would offer a fresh attacking dimension with his bulldozing runs forward. Richards, who has strangely been shunned by Capello in the past few years, has been in devastating form this season for City and on form alone, he deserves a nod over the likes of Liverpool’s Glen Johnson and United’s Chris Smalling.
While Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka may feel hard done by the snub, Dawson really is a resolute defender, and with the ex Forest star coming back from injuries, he should play a starring role in the Spurs’ expected run to the Top Four this season. Plus, Scott Parker for captain!
This team might not win the European Championships next season (my money is on Germany), but surely they can’t do any worse than the class of ’10. Now where is Capello’s alleged 8 million Euro annual salary I should be pocketing?