Date:Thursday January 31 2013
Roy Hodgson has named a 24 man squad for next Wednesdays friendly against Brazil at Wembley.
For me there is a positive that he has selected a squad with no major surprises, in what I hope will be the start of a more settled selection policy leading up to next summers World Cup in Brazil. Several of the recently capped youngsters such as Sterling, Shelvey and Zaha have been selected for the Under 21 game against Sweden the day before, perhaps with the idea that they will be better served representing the younger group in this summers European Championships in Israel as opposed to making up the numbers for the seniors. A very sensible move as far as I can see.
Interestingly there are only two goalkeepers in the squad, with Joe Hart and Jack Butland, which is probably due to injuries to John Ruddy and Fraser Forster, and sadly there aren't too many other stand-out candidates to consider at this time. Chris Smalling makes an international return following a series of injuries and Leon Osman keeps his place in the squad after impressing last time out. Jermain Defoe is selected as one of five strikers, but is is likely that injury will force his withdrawal, as he continues to struggle with a pelvic problem.
Perhaps the only surprise omission is that of Tottenham's Scott Parker. Perhaps this is due to his still regaining his match fitness following his long term achilles injury, but at 32 and with four other over thirties in the midfield (Gerrard, Lampard, Carrick and Osman) you wonder if Parker will also struggle to regain his place, especially with Wiltshere, Cleverley and Oxlade-Chamberlain all needing games and experience leading up to the World Cup.
The Squad: Jack Butland, Joe Hart; Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Phil Jagielka, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker; Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Leon Osman, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Daniel Welbeck.
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Rooney Reward (Tuesday January 13 2015)