With upcoming games against Slovenia and Scotland, Roy Hodgson has selected his 26-man squad, causing a few controversial talking points.
Ben Foster (West Brom)
I think I’m one of very few who has this opinion, but with the chances of the third goalkeeper featuring in either of these two games being very slim, I’d rather have a young goalkeeper in the squad, someone who can learn huge amounts from a week of training with keepers with such experience and talent. Someone like Jack Butland, a future England number one, could gain a lot from working with Joe and Fraser.
Concluding the list of selected goalkeepers are Fraser Forster (Southampton) and Joe Hart (Manchester City).
Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton)
I’m so glad Clyne is in the squad this time around, and with Chambers being the only other recognized right-back, hopefully the Southampton full-back will start in the upcoming games. Clyne has put in consistent performances for a season and a half now, and it’s thoroughly deserved that he makes this squad, and hopefully, his England debut. With Clyne in the squad, it means Glen Johnson is left out, and I don’t think anyone is complaining about that omission.
Concluding the list of selected defenders are Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) and Leighton Baines (Everton).
Michael Carrick (Manchester United)
Not too sure why Carrick has been included in this squad. Having just returned from an injury at Manchester United, and having played poorly against Manchester City at the weekend, it has shocked many to see the 33-year-old return to the England side. I, as others do, feel this is a major step backwards in the way Hodgson has picked his most recent squads. Personally I would’ve much rather seen Jack Cork, a player who is playing well at a high-flying Southampton, given a chance in an England shirt, especially in these two fixtures that The Three Lions should be winning.
Stewart Downing (West Ham)
Very much deserved his place in the England side, and this selection shows that Roy Hodgson does have one eye on current form. Downing, who has had more than his fair share of criticism, has relished a new central role for West Ham, and is one of the main reasons the London club sit so far up the table.
Andros Townsend (Tottenham)
Townsend is someone I’ve never really rated, and it always brings a tear to my eye when I see him in yet another England squad. Not a regular in the Spurs side, and never performs when he does play, it’s a sad state of affairs for English football that there is no one to come in instead of Townsend.
Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Having only just returned to Arsenal’s bench two weeks ago after ten months out, it is a bit of a shock to see Theo Walcott included in the squad for these two games. The only reasons I see for him being thrown straight back into the England set-up is Arsene Wenger openly saying that he wanted Walcott to be in the squad and the real lack of options on the wide areas.
Concluding the list of selected midfielders are Ross Barkley (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) and Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Rickie Lambert (Liverpool)
Another one that can consider himself lucky to remain in the England squad, and this one certainly isn’t down to current form. Lambert hasn’t been given a sniff since his summer move to Anfield, and again, down to a lack of options, Lambert is kept in the squad by Roy Hodgson.
Saido Berahino (West Brom)
The most goals for an Englishmen in the Premier League this season, it was only fair that the West Brom man was included in the squad. Hodgson said he was overlooked last time because the Under-21’s needed him so desperately, and now he’s been given his chance on the biggest stage. I’d like to see Berahino start in at least one of the qualifiers.
Concluding the list of selected forwards are Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) and Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).