First real post so I thought I’d start with something quite big and go for my England squad. Let me start by saying that in terms of expectations I think we’re a quarter final team so that’s what I expect but our group is going to be tricky to get through and if we do we will be playing on of the best teams in the world so no easy games.
Hart, Foster, Forster.
Hart is obvious first choice and will be for the foreseeable future. Ben Foster provides a back up with international experience which could be vital and Forster is now in the prime of his career and if he was playing in the Premier League I think everyone would have him in their squads but the Scottish league is seen as too each and not enough of a challenge. Beyond those I think next on the plane would be Butland to give him the experience.
Baines, Cole, Shaw, Cahill, Jagielka, Jones, Johnson, Walker.
9 defenders is one more that I would ideally take but my reasons will become clear. This gives you a solid starting defence of Baines, Cahill, Jagielka and Walker/Johnson. It then gives Jones as a backup who can play anywhere they are needed and then Cole as an experienced head in the camp and Shaw to gain experience. I fully believe Luke Shaw is the future of England left back position and the fact he was in the PFA team of the year only cements that idea.
Barkley, Wilshere, Carrick, Gerrard, Henderson, Lallana
This is where it starts to get tricky. Barkley has been much improved this year and I think he will be an England regular in the future. Wilshere is a tricky one because of all his injuries he hasn’t had as much game time as others so it could be argued that his place on the plane isn’t justified but he is young and on his day is an excellent player. Carrick may be seen as boring by many people but he has his job to do and does it very well for Man United. Beyond Carrick you could argue the case for Milner or Lampard or even Huddlestone but I’ve gone for Carrick. I do think Roy will take Milner or Lampard as well though. Gerrard and Henderson have formed a very good partnership for Liverpool and I think that should be continued for England and Lallana has been exceptional this year and I think he will be one of the first on the plane. Beyond these players there is Cleverly who isn’t highly rated by fans but Hodgson, Ferguson and Martinez have all used his a lot so they must see something in him that fans don’t. I think Roy will consider him but I don’t have space in my squad for him.
Chamberlain, Sterling, Rooney, Lambert, Sturridge, Welbeck.
Chamberlain and Sterling will provide pace down the wings that I think will be the base of Englands set up. Sterling has been excellent for Liverpool and although he is still young I think he can step up and perform. Rooney on his day is magical but he doesn’t have those performances as much as he should, regardless he won’t be missing out on a spot. Lambert provides an alternative that is often needed in World Cup games and he also provides a slight unknown element that could work in our favour. Sturridge has been excellent all year and is on the plane 100%. Danny Welbeck is the only uncertainty of this group as there are lots of other players his spot could go to but he seems to get into good positions for England and scores plenty but doesn’t do that for his club.
If Rodriguez was fit he would be close to this squad. Smalling is unlucky to miss out as is Barry who has been very good for Everton. Cleverly will be considered as will Lampard and Milner. Townsend may also go but I only have 23 spots and have tried to balance youth and experience with different options depending on the game and situation.