England put in a gutsy and relatively composed performance against France in their Euro 2012 opening fixture, with Roy Hodgson’s men recording a 1-1 draw against Les Bleus in their first game in Group D. Despite this, some of the new manager’s squad selections have been queried; here is an alternate England XI that was overlooked.
GK – Ben Foster – Opted to retire from international football due to past disappointments, the Birmingham man proved a consistent performer for West Brom last term.
LB – Kieran Gibbs – Potential in spades, Gibbs is one of Arsene Wenger’s youth projects and could well play a role in the national set-up after Ashley Cole’s days are done.
RB – Micah Richards – Despite being an important player at the Etihad Stadium, Richards seems to have done something to annoy the powers that be at the FA.
CB – Rio Ferdinand – Omitted for ‘football reasons’, Ferdinand apparently was too good to call up after Gary Cahill’s injury. Hmmm
CB – Ledley King – In this fantasy team lets pretend King is fully fit and functioning. Rolls Royce of a football player.
LW – Adam Johnson – A victim of Roberto Mancini’s star-studded squad, the former Middlesbrough winger has the ability to deliver if he is in the mood.
RW – Aaron Lennon – One of the surprise omissions, Lennon’s blistering pace and penetration is vital at White Hart Lane, and could have been for the Three Lions too.
CM – Paul Scholes – Mercurial, masterful, magic but getting old, Paul Scholes is one of the best players to play in the Premier League over the last 10 years. Fact.
CM – Michael Carrick – Has been overlooked once more even though he starts most weeks for Manchester United. In England’s little black book alongside Richards.
ST – Grant Holt – The Norwich targetman proved a right handful for Premier League defences in 2011-12, and he netted 15 goals. The Italians or Spanish in the knockout stages wouldn’t have enjoyed encountering him for the first time.
ST – Daniel Sturridge – Was an important player for Chelsea under AVB, but lost his way in the second half of 2011-12; still a talented player and one for the future for England.
Ferdinand’s leadership, Richards’ physicality, Scholes’ guile, Lennon’s pace, Carrick’s passing range and Holt’s bullying tactics; I think this team would have done ok……