With just a little more than 3 months left for the Euro 2012 to kickoff in Poland and Ukraine, it’s time for the English FA to focus on picking a new manager and then the 23 players who will be wearing the Three Lions this summer.
Here’s what I think the squad will be..
Joe Hart – Manchester City
Obviously England’s number one as there is no other English keeper that can come near him at this current moment in time. An integral part of the Manchester City team that are currently at the top of the Premier League.
Robert Green – West Ham United
Robert Green is only experienced backup keeper England have in their entire national pool but he has played his football in the second tier this season and question marks remain if he is still haunted by his World Cup disaster.
John Ruddy – Nrowich City
His current form in the Premier League is outstanding and is one of the reason why Norwich City are sitting so high in the Premier League. His most notable performance came at Anfield where he denied Liverpool the win and gain a 1-1 draw for Norwich.
Players Missing Out – Ben Foster (West Brom), Scott Carson (Bursaspor), David Stockdale (Fulham) & Joe Lewis (Peterborough).
Glen Johnson – Liverpool
The Liverpool right-back has been England’s first choice right-back during the Capello era and will continue to be in the near future unless he gets injured. But at the same time the attack minded defender needs to be consistent as he faces some fierce competition for the place in the team from Micah Richards and Kyle Walker.
John Terry – Chelsea
Even though he has the racist allegations hanging over his head, I believe that he is still England’s strongest centre back and without a doubt one of the first names on the team sheet. His determination and bravery are key to his game and he is willing to put his body on the line to stop a shot going in.
Gary Cahill – Chelsea
John Terry’s Chelsea team-mate has been in some superb form for the past few seasons with his previous club Bolton. During which he earned an England and now has almost established himself as Terry’s first choice centre-back partner ahead of Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott and even Rio Ferdiand.
Phil Jagielka – Everton
The Everton man is a rock in the defence and has formed an effective partnership with Johnny Heitinga. Since his move from Sheffield United, he has gone from strength to strength and is still improving as a player. I believe he should be on the plane ahead of Man City’s Joleon Lescott or Man Utd’s Rio Ferdinand.
Ashley Cole – Chelsea
Another player that is probably one of the first names on the England team sheet, Cole has gained a reputation of being one of the best attacking full backs in the world and some would even say the best attacking full back England has ever seen. This could well be his last major tournament for England.
Leighton Baines – Everton
Baines is well-known for hit set pieces for Everton, scoring plenty of free kicks and penalties since his move from Wigan. Homesickness cost him a World Cup place but now is an adequate replacement for Ashley Cole and showed that in the recent friendly against Netherlands.
Phil Jones – Manchester United
Since making his big money move to Manchester United in the summer, he has grown in stature and has shown a lot of versatility by filling in various roles in defence and midfield. He considers himself as a centre-back but yet has to play single minute in that position for England after making appearances in the midfield and as a right-back.
Micah Richards – Manchester City
He made his debut in 2006 but was completely out of favour under Fabio Capello but returned to the England first team in the absence of Glen Johnson during recent friendly against the Netherlands. A strong and pacy right back is just what England need and will be a tough competitor for Glen Johnson.
Players Missing Out – Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Joleon Lescott (Man City), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Ledley King (Tottenham).
Steven Gerrard – Liverpool
A key part of Liverpool and England’s midfield over the past few seasons, his passion for the game is clear when he steps out on the pitch week in week out. An integral part of the England midfield in South Africa his ability to defend and attack makes him one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world. Has recently said that this could be his last international tournament so wants to make the most of it and bring home a winners’ medal.
Scott Parker – Tottenham Hotspur
Parker was named the England captain for the recent friendly against Holland and also was England’s best player for the past year. At 31, he has peaked in the past few seasons instead of going the otherway. He has been in great form for club and country this season and has become England guaranteed starter for the Euros.
Michael Carrick – Manchester United
Has been United’s best midfielder this season. He has been ignored by England quite a lot in the last few years but I feel now its the time for Michael Carrick to step up and even perform in England colors. His form this season has been vital for United and it has not gone unnoticed as he received praise from both managers and the players.
James Milner – Manchester City
The Manchester City midfielder has played a crucial role in his club’s oustanding season, with his all-action displays earning him rave reviews. His energy, committment and versatility to play in centre midfield or out on the wings has been his key to success. He should be on the plane ahead of his City team-mate Gareth Barry.
Ashley Young – Manchester United
Since his summer move to Manchester United, Young has been in top form for his new club and his country. Links up well with Wayne Rooney and can play in any attacking midfield role whether it may be on the left or right-wing or player behind the striker in a 4-5-1 formation.
Adam Johnson – Manchester City
Johnson has enjoyed sparkling form for Manchester City this season, so much that his manager Roberto Mancini has claimed “he has everything to become one of the top wingers”. Johnson has been similarly impressive for England and has now scored twice for his country, both in Euro 2012 qualifying against Bulgaria and Switzerland late last year.
Frank Lampard – Chelsea
Was England’s best player during the World Cup but was out of favour due to poor form for both Chelsea and England towards the end of the Capello era. Now, he is back in form for his club scoring some goals of late and will again be a key part of the England setup once the new manager is appointed.
Players Missing Out – Gareth Barry (Man City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Tom Cleverley (Man Utd), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Scott Sinclair (Swansea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham).
Wayne Rooney – Manchester United
Even though Rooney is banned for the first two games of group stages, he is the first player on the team sheet. He is one of the world’s best striker and is currently in form for Manchester United scoring around 21 goals so far this season. He is the one player in whole England squad who can win game single handedly.
Theo Walcott – Arsenal
Few players in the world can match the pace of the Arsenal winger. Walcott’s recent brace against fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur showed he is getting back his form which he showed at the start of the season. If Walcott can replicate his club performances for England, he will be able to add to his three international goals.
Danny Welbeck – Manchester United
Welbeck has grown in stature this season at Manchester United and is the club’s no.1 strike partner to Wayne Rooney ahead of Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov. Welbeck has been in superb form this season scoring 14 goals for his club and has also been very impressive during his four appearances for England.
Daniel Sturridge – Chelsea
The former Manchester City striker gave notice of his talent during a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers last season and has shone under the management of Andre Villas-Boas at Stamford Bridge this season. He capped a very impressive performance against the Netherlands on Wednesday and is expected to make the plane to Poland-Ukraine.
Jermain Defoe – Tottenham Hotspur
With Darren Bent out injured for the rest of the season and mostly doubtful for the Euros and Fraizer Campbell too inexperienced at this level, Jermain Defoe will be the final player on the plane ahead of Peter Crouch, Andy Carroll and Bobby Zamora. His hattrick against Bulgaria during the qualifiers is not forgotten and he still has the predatory instincts and the experience in him which will be very useful.
Players Missing Out – Darren Bent (Aston Villa), Peter Crouch (Stoke City), Fraizer Campbell (Sunderland), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Bobby Zamora (Q.P.R).
To succeed at such major tournaments, England will need a good blend of experience and youth in their squad and in the above squad which I think will fly Poland-Ukraine, they have it both that will hopefully put in a good display and make the country proud.