So the first England squad since the World Cup has just been announced and now trending on Twitter is #HodgsonOut. For those of you who haven’t seen the squad the main news is Rooney is the captain, which I agree with, he’s by a long was our most experienced player and I think he will step into the role very well. Beyond Rooney I would have gone for Gary Cahill as he is actually younger than Wayne but I suppose he is always there as a back up if needed. Wayne Rooney is closing in on 100 caps for his country and will surpass all goalscoring records by the time he retires yet people seem to forget that mainly because of the club he plays for. As a non-league fan it is easy for me to look upon a national squad impartially but for fans of the top teams that seems as impossible task. If you’re a Liverpool fan then you are going to think that there should be more players from Liverpool in the squad and that the Man United forward Wayne Rooney should never captain your country but Roy is in charge, and for a reason might I add, and that is his decision. I really do wish people who lay aside their biased opinions when it comes to international football.
The other story is the inclusion of Danny Rose, John Stones, Calum Chambers, Jack Colback and Fabian Delph. I am all for included younger and less experienced players for these friendly matches as there is always a chance you stumble across a player who has no trouble stepping up to international level but others seem to disagree. Many of these people are also probably people who complain when the team is full of Man United players who ‘only get in because of their club’ so Roy has picked players from Newcastle, Everton, Villa and Spurs yet people still complain. These players like Delph, Colback and Rose are only 24 years old so are only just entering their best years, if they continue to develop well then who knows where their limit is. We may in years to come look back on this squad announcement as the start of a new era and twitter users all of the country will scramble to delete tweets like ‘Well #rooney is named England captain, wasted opportunity by mgr. Need a forward thinking team and management. Time for #hodgsonout #ssnhq’ and ‘Hodgson needs to get his tongue out of @ManUtd hole! Rooney made captain! England won’t even go close with this fool in charge. #HodgsonOut’
At the end of the day these games are friendlies and this is just an experiment, its not like this is his squad for a major tournament. In 2 years time that 23 man squad will no doubt have changed drastically and I have every faith that over the next 2 years Roy will work towards assembling his best squad, this is merely the first step on that journey.
Another step on that journey in my opinion is the naming of the under 21 squad. In 2 years time hopefully most of these players will have gained plenty of playing time not only at their respective clubs, but also in the international set up with each other. These players can then move up as a group into the first team and have a real impact on our teams fortunes, maybe not at the Euros but defiantly the 2018 World Cup. If we are to be successful then this is the way we need to go. Players like Eric Dier (a player I have raved about in another post already), Jamaal Lascelles, Nathaniel Chalobah, Will Hughes, James Ward-Prowse, Saido Berahino and Danny Ings. These are all players with so much talent and potential but for these players the next couple of seasons are crucial. Will they get enough playing time at their clubs? Will they stay fit? Will they be rushed through to the senior squad too soon?
If I was a betting man then I would bet that at least 6 of this under 21 squad will make the 23 man squad for the Euros and maybe 1 or 2 of the under 20 squad as well. This will provide the perfect mix of youth and experience and hopefully provide a large group of players will experience of playing together in internationals.