Tag Archives: Leighton Baines

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 14

Hernandez-Routledge-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting fourteenth gameweek in the Premier League. Everton and Swansea City provide two players each, while there is one each from Aston Villa, Manchester City, Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City, Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur.

Simon Mignolet (Sunderland)

The Belgium shot-stopper put in a positive display – which showed he had recovered from error against West Brom at the weekend – to earn himself and his team a much needed clean-sheet. He was not regularly tested by the QPR forwards, but was more than ready when called upon and made total of six saves during the game on Tuesday.

Rafael (Manchester United)

Being a Manchester United fan, I am loving to see the progress the young Brazilian has made this season. He has come of age and was once again at his best, as he was alert to the early threat of Matt Jarvis, making a number of key interceptions. Going forward, he put in a couple of dangerous crosses and was a threat to deal with for the West Ham defence.

Ryan Nelsen (Queens Park Rangers)

QPR will need some strong characters in the dressing room and on the pitch to get them out of this tricky hole at the foot of the table, and the New Zealand international is one of those. Having signed him while at Tottenham in February, Harry Redknapp knows Nelsen has those qualities and the defender was rock solid in the heart of the defence  in their clean-sheet at Sunderland on Tuesday.

Matija Nastasic (Manchester City)

Many eyebrows were raised when Roberto Mancini decided to break up the successful partnership of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott at heart of the City defence. But the doubts have given way to nods of approval as the young Serbian once again impressed alongside the skipper and was solid at the back in the City’s 2-0 win at Wigan on Wednesday.

Leighton Baines (Everton)

The Everton left-back has been in the form of his life this season as he put in another superb display in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal at Goodison Park. The marauding full-back provided a constant outlet for his side on left and linked up with Steven Pienaar to devastating effects at times which caused the Gunners some trouble at the back.

Pablo Hernandez (Swansea City)

Pablo Hernandez has made his name as a right-winger for Valencia in the La Liga, but in Swansea’s impressive win over high-flying West Brom on Wednesday, the Spaniard did much of his best work on the left flank. Hernandez was a class apart during a first half performance that saw the Swans go 3-0 up within 40 minutes and he was involved in all the three goals.

Wayne Routledge (Swansea City)

Another player who has been impressive alongside Michu and Pablo Hernandez for the Swans this season has to be Wayne Routledge. The former Newcastle man was at his very best in the win over West Brom. He scored twice with two superb finishes and the midfielder popped up virtually in every attacking position as he caused havoc to the Baggies defence.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

The big Belgian returned from suspension and played a huge part in his side’s 1-1 draw at home on Wednesday. Fellaini epitomised all that was good about hard-working Everton, but also brought a significant amount of quality too. His curling effort in the first half brought the Toffees back on level terms after Theo Walcott had given Arsenal an early lead.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

It takes something special to make it in the Team Of The Week after scoring such an own goal and that’s exactly what the Welshman did in the 2-1 win over Liverpool at White Hart Lane. Bale’s driving run and delicious delivery led to Aaron Lennon’s opener within ten minutes before he doubled the lead with a brilliant free-kick.

Cameron Jerome (Stoke City)

We have seen many super-subs this season and Jerome was the latest of the lot. He came on in the 68th minute against Newcastle and completely turned the game on it’s head. The former Birmingham man used his pace to trouble the full-backs and delivered a perfect cross for Jonathan Walters to equalise. Then the forward repaid the faith shown in him by Tony Pulis as he won the game with a late strike.

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)

The Belgium striker has been keeping Darren Bent out of the team with his superb performances and on Tuesday night against Reading, he again showed why he deserves to start ahead of the England international. Benteke saw a superb chance denied by Adam Federici in the first half and was superb as a target-man throughout the game before scoring the late winner.

TOTW GW 14

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 9

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting eighth weekend in the Premier League. Arsenal and Manchester United have provided two players each, while there is one each from Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Norwich, Tottenham and Wigan.

David De Gea (Manchester United)

It was the same fixture last term that helped De Gea cement his place as United’s number one. The Spanish keeper was again at his best making a number of fine saves to keep the Blues at bay towards the end of first half, including a couple with his feet.

Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)

The Frenchman made an excellent return from injury to give Arsene Wenger a selection headache between him and the impressive Carl Jenkinson ahead of the important clash against Manchester United this weekend. Sagna fired in a string of crosses as he got forward for the Gunners while was also sound defensively as Arsenal picked up a clean sheet.

Ivan Ramis (Wigan Athletic)

The Latics defender was very impressive against West Ham at home. He scored the game’s opener in the eighth minute with a sizzling left-footed, while at the same time kept things tight at the back. He along with his defensive partner successfully dealt with the treat possessed by Andy Carroll.

Michael Turner (Norwich City)

The former Sunderland and Hull City centre-back was solid at the back for the Canaries as Aston Villa were restricted to just one chance in the 1-1 draw at Villa Park. Adding some gloss to his display, he scored a late equaliser, heading home Wes Hoolahan’s corner.

Leighton Baines (Everton)

The Everton left-back was very unlucky to be on the score-sheet for Liverpool in the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park. However, he didn’t allow this disappointment to affect his overall game and he went on to enjoy a good solid afternoon. He was a constant threat on the left hand side and also created some good chances for his team-mates.

Juan Mata (Chelsea)

Mata is no stranger to our Premier League Team of the Week and contributed another excellent display against Manchester United, playing a key role as the Blues came back from two goals down. The little Spaniard scored a brilliant curling freekick at stroke of half time to inspire Chelsea’s revival but couldn’t stop them losing after going down to nine-men.

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Returning after a 17-month injury lay-off Wilshere was in superb form for the Gunners as he took up his usual place in the heart of midfield. It looked like the youngster had never missed any football as he made several attacking runs and linked up well with Santi Cazorla.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Welshman was at his very best and was a constant threat to the Southampton defence throughout the game. He saw his efforts rewarded with a well-taken opener, nodding home Tom Huddlestone’s through-ball with apparent ease for his fourth headed goal of the season.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

Suarez caused problems for Everton’s defence throughout the Merseyside derby as he enjoyed a great afternoon, seeing his shot deflect into the net by Baines for the Reds’ first then adding another six minutes later. The Uruguayan forward should have had a third in the dying minutes but it was wrongly ruled out for offside.

Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham)

The Bulgarian looks like he is enjoying his football. There are very few players who leave Manchester United and rediscover their old form and Berbatov is one of them. He was outstanding for the Cottagers against Reading and capped-off a fine performance with a well deserved goal.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

The Dutcman looks like he has picked up form for United from where he left at Arsenal as he was once again impressive for the Red Devils against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Van Persie saw saw a fourth-minute shot deflected in off David Luiz before lashing home Antonio Valencia’s cross for the home side’s second eight minutes later.

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 2

See who have made our Team of the Week from a thrilling second weekend in the Premier League. Chelsea and Everton have provided two players each, while three Manchester United players make the team.

Ali Al Habsi (Wigan Athletic)
The Wigan keeper had to be at his very best on a number of occasions in the 2-0 win over Southampton on Saturday. The Oman international made a total of six saves and most importantly from Adam Lallana and provided the platform for the Latics to go on and win.

Rafael (Manchester United)
The young Brazilian full-back put in one of the most impressive displays of his career against Fulham. He scored his first league goal since December 2009 and was always a threat for the Fulham defence when going forward. Defending wise he still needs to improve.

Ashley Williams (Swansea City)
The Swansea City centre-back was very impressive in his side’s 3-0 home win over West Ham. He was rock solid in the defence, winning all of the tackles he attempted in the game and also helped his side in keeping a second consecutive clean-sheet.

Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)
The Liverpool centre-back went from hero to zero in the space of sixty minutes. His bullet header gave the Reds the lead and set up an excellent Liverpool performance, but his backpass gifted Manchester City the equaliser. Well we all make mistakes but his performance on the day was just too good.

Leighton Baines (Everton)
The Everton left-back was a major threat going forward and was also solid as a rock while defending in his side’s 3-1 win at Aston Villa. He created the second goal for Steven Pienaar and seven more chances – most by a player in single game this season – for his side.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
The Belgium star was again very impressive for the Blues as he was last week and makes the team of the week for the second cosecutive time. He scored his first goal for the club from the spot and set up Torres for Chelsea’s second with a clever backheel.

Moussa Dembele (Fulham)
The tricky Belgium was probably Fulham’s most impressive player and was a constant threat to United back-four with his trickery and quick feet. He created a lot of opportunites for his side and had a chance himself late in the second half to equalise, but his shot was saved by David De Gea.

Steven Pienaar (Everton)
The South African international didn’t get many opportunities to prove himself at White Hart Lane, but back at Goodison Park and under David Moyes, he is the star of the team. Pienaar score his side’s second against Aston Villa and was a constant threat to the defence.

Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United)
The Japanese international was very good against Everton last week, and this weekend he was even better. He played brilliantly in the hole behind the striker, worked very hard throughout the game and his efforts were rewarded with a goal on his home debut.

Fernando Torres (Chelsea)
Looks like the Spanish international is getting back to his best. He won his team a penalty with an excellent dibble which was scored by Eden Hazard, and then his finish for his side’s second goal from a Hazard backheel was just vintage Torres.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
Much was made about Wayne Rooney being benched before the match, but it was Robin van Persie and his fantastic goal which took all the headlines after the match. He announced himself to the Old Trafford faithful with a stunning half-volley and was also involved in the other two United goals.

10 Things You Should Know About Manchester United’s Latest Signing – Alexander Buttner

Manchester United confirmed yesterday that they have completed the signing of Alexander Buttner from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem for an undisclossed fee.

The Dutch defender, who was linked with a move to Southampton early in the summer, passed his medical on Tuesday, agreed personal terms and signed a five-year contract at Old Trafford until 2017.

His new manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the club’s official site:

“Alexander is one of the best young left backs in Europe and we’re delighted to sign him. He’s someone we’ve been watching for a while now. He gives us some really exciting options in that position.”

The 23-year-old couldn’t hide his excitement about the move, he told manutd.com:

“Joining Manchester United is one of the best days of my life. It’s a team I have admired for many years now and I can’t wait to join my teammates and play my part in helping the club be successful.”

Buttner, who can also play as a left winger, a defensive midfielder, an attacking midfielder and as a right-back, will add much needed depth to the defence and will be a pretty good cover for Patrice Evra. If the £3.9m fee on this move is to be believed, then Manchester United have got themselves a pretty solid bargain here.

With the move now officially completed and announced by the 19 times English champions, here are the ten things you should know about Alexander Buttner.

  • Alexander was born on 11th Feb, 1989 in Doetinchem, other footballers to hail from the Dutch town include former Cardiff and Celtic defender Glenn Loovens and ex Dutch international and Man City midfielder Paul Bosvelt.
  • After impressing with local side VV Doetinchem, Alexander joined the famous youth academy of Ajax.
  • After leaving the Dutch giants aged 16 he moved back to Gelderland, and despite being from Doetinchem, home of De Graafschap he signed instead for rivals Vitesse Arnhem.
  • After making his debut in 2008 he went on to score his first goal for the club against FC Volendam in a 3-1 victory.
  • He has since gone on to make 107 league appearances for Vitesse scoring 10 goals.
  • Alexander is a versatile player who has operated on the wing, holding midfield, attacking midfield and a right back but has more recently established himself as a left back.
  • He was included in the 36 man preliminary squad for The Netherlands disastrous Euro 2012 campaign but was not taken to the tournament itself.
  • He has therefore yet to make his full Dutch debut but has represented the Netherlands at youth team levels.
  • In July it seemed certain Alexander would sign for Southampton with a fee agreed between both sides and a medical being, seemingly, the only obstacle. However an unnamed third party requested a portion of the transfer fee and the deal collapsed.
  • After failing in their attempts to sign Leighton Baines, The Red Devils have moved to take the 23 year old to Old Trafford to provide backup, and competition, for Patrice Evra.

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Everton

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Everton’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: David Moyes.
Captain: Phil Neville
Stadium: Goodison Park (40,216).
Last season: 7th.
Leading scorer (PL): Nikica Jelavic (9).
Odds: Title 275-1. Relegation 30-1.

In: Steven Naismith (Free, Rangers), Steven Pienaar (£4.5m, Tottenham).

Out: Adam Davies (Released), Adam Forshaw (Free, Brentford), Tim Cahill (£1.1m, N.Y. Red Bulls), Marcus Hahnemann (Released), James McFadden (Released), Aristote Nsiala (Free, Accrington), Femi Orenuga (Released), Connor Roberts (Released), Jack Rodwell (£13.2m, Manchester City), James Wallace (Undisc., Tranmere), Joseph Yobo (£2.2m, Fenerbahce).

Kits

Key Man – Nikica Jelavic
Although the imposing Croatian striker has yet to play a full season in the Premier League, he is already a fan favourite at Goodison Park after having established himself as the Toffees’ first-choice striker. The target man was the club’s top goalscorer last season with 9 goals and David Moyes will be hoping the former Rangers man continues his good form as his goals will be very important for a top 6 finish this season.

Opening Fixtures
20-Aug – Man Utd (H)
25-Aug – Aston Villa (A)
01-Sep – West Brom (A)
17-Sep – Newcastle (H)
22-Sep – Swansea (A)
29-Sep – Southampton (H)

Probable Formation (4-4-2): Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines; Osman, Fellaini, Gibson, Pienaar; Naismith, Jelavic.

Verdit: David Moyes continues to get his team well drilled ahead of the new season and fired by the goals of the Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic, the Toffees will be pressing for a top-six finish harder than ever. The re-acquisition of Steven Pienaar is very helpful as the South African’s creativity and pace will be a threat for any team. If Jelavic and Steven Naismith click, the Toffees will be more of an attacking threat than last season but the lack of creativity in the midfield could hamper the team’s success. With their arch-rivals Liverpool expected to improve under Brendan Rodgers, I expect the Reds to finish above the Blues this season.

Prediction: 8th.

Manchester United’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

Manchester United had a decent last season as they finished second – just on goal difference – behind city rivals, Manchester City in the league but were very disappointing in both European – both the Champions League and Europa League – and the domestic cup competitions. 

This summer, United will look to strengthen their squad as they look to win back the Premier League title from their noisy neigbhours and also try and win the Champions League for the first time since the 2008. Sir Alex Ferguson has already strengthen his squad this summer by signing the Japanese international Shinji Kagawa and the highly-rated youngster Nick Powell, but the Red Devils will have to bring in some more new names if they want to challenge for trophies on all fronts. Here are Manchester United’s potential transfer targets the summer..

LEIGHTON BAINES – EVERTON (DEFENDER)

The Everton left-back has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for some time now and its highly likely that the England international will be a United player before the start of the season. Patrice Evra’s form dipped last term and the Frenchman is not getting any young. With Fabio away on loan at QPR, United need a new left-back and the 27-year-old would be a great choice. Baines, who is very good at set-pieces, is valued around £15m and would be a quality replacement for Evra.

MATS HUMMELS – BORUSSIA DORTMUND (DEFENDER)

The German defender had an outstanding Euros in Poland/Ukraine this summer and was one of the best performers for his country. The former Bayern Munich youth player has been one of the reasons for Dortmund’s success in the past couple of years as they did the League and Cup double last year. The Turkish origin defender, who is rated around £30m, has stated he is very happy to stay at Dortmund having sign new contract recently, but he would be a great signing for the Red Devils and with Rio Ferdinand past his best, he would be a great replacement for the veteran.

ALEX WITSEL – BENFICA (MIDFIELDER)

Portuguese giants Benfica are ready to cash in on the Belgium international, just a year after they signed him from Standard Liege. The 23-year-old was instrumental in helping the Portuguese side make the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season. Manchester United are interested in signing the £20m rated midfielder as they look to add more depth and quality in their midfield. Chelsea are also interested in him and a chance to play alongside his Belgium teammates – Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku – might just incline him towards Stamford Bridge.

LUKA MODRIC – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (MIDFIELDER)

Luka Modric is one name that has been on the Manchester United radar for some time now. With the playmaker ready to leave White Hart Lane this summer in search of regular Champions League football, Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to bring the £36m rated Croatian international to Old Trafford. But according to the reports in various papers in Spain, Modric has already agreed a deal with the La Liga champions Real Madrid and is expected to sign for Jose Mourinho’s side before July 15.

JOAO MOUTINHO – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

Moutinho has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League this summer after some putting in some impressive displays for Portugal at the Euros. The £25m rated midfielder has been a United target since his Sporting Lisbon days and is seen as an alternative for Luka Modric. Some reports claim that the Red Devils have already launched a bid for the Portuguese international, but they will have to battle with the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham – who are also interested in him – to bring him to Old Trafford.

KEVIN STROOTMAN – PSV EINDHOVEN (MIDFIELDER)

Sir Alex Ferguson is said to be interested in the the Dutch midfielder who has been dubbed as the ‘new Roy Keane’ because of his combative style of football. With the future of Darren Fletcher uncertain and with number of injury prone players in the squad, Strootman could be the answer to all of Ferguson’s problems. The PSV star has attracted a lot of interest because of his impressive performances over last couple of years and was also a part of the Dutch squad in Poland/Ukraine. The £15m rated Dutchman, who can also play as a holding midfielder, would no doubt strengthen the United midfield.

JAMES RODRIGUEZ – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

The young Colombian is another player linked with a move to Old Trafford many times in the last couple of months. The 21-year-old had an impressive last season in the Portuguese league with FC Porto and has attracted interested from a host of Premier League clubs. With the future of Nani doubtful, Rodriguez could be a great addition to squad but it looks highly unlike that United and Sir Alex Ferguson would be ready to pay around £30m for the midfielder who has been dubbed the ‘new Cristiano Ronaldo’.

LUCAS MOURA – SAO PAULO (MIDFIELDER)

Lucas Moura is one of the most talented youngsters and the most hottest property in world football. The 19-year-old Brazilian has attracted interested from almost every top club in Europe and Manchester United are said to be one of them. According to the latest gossip columns, United have sent a delegation to Brazil to convince the £35m rated Brazil international – who has already been capped 13 times by his country – and his family about a move to Old Trafford, where he will join his fellow compatriots – Anderson, Rafael and Fabio.

MOUSSA DEMBELE – FULHAM (MIDFIELDER)

Dembele has had a successful time, so far, at Craven Cottage since joining Fulham in 2010. The forward who scored 24 times for AZ Alkmaar, has adapted very well to a midfield role in the Fulham team and was very impressive in the previous season. Dembele has just a year left on his contract and is in no hurry to extend it because of interest from several big Premier League sides like United and Chelsea. Some papers reported that the Reds Devils had an offer for the Belgium international rejected by Fulham over the weekend.

IKER MUNIAIN – ATHLETIC BILBAO (STRIKER)

Iker Muniain is another teenager who is on the Manchester United shopping list. The 19-year-old Spaniard caught Ferguson’s eye after he played an important role in knocking the Red Devils out of the Europa League last season. The versatile striker, who can play upfront or on the wings or just behind the striker in the midfield, scored the winner in the first leg and impressed in the second leg in Spain. The Bilbao forward, who made his international debut this year, is rated around £25m and would no doubt be great signing for the team.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE – ARSENAL (STRIKER)

Along with Juventus and Manchester City, United are also interested in signing the Arsenal skipper – Robin van Persie, who has said that he won’t be signing a new deal at the Emirates Stadium. Van Persie was in some outstanding goal scoring form last season and ended the league season as the Premier League’s top goal scorer with 30 goals. With Michael Owen having already left and Dimitar Berbatov expected to leave, there is place for another striker in the squad and Van Persie will be an outstanding option. The Rooney-Van Persie combination up front will be just too deadly to deal with for any team. With just one year left on the 28-year-old’s contract, the Gunners are expected to cash in on the forward this summer and an offer around £16m-£20m may well be enough.

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI – BORUSSIA DORTMUND (STRIKER)

The Poland international, who scored the opening goal of the UEFA EURO 2012, is another Dortmund player to be linked with a move to United this summer. Lewandowski has had an incredible past 12 months and has scored 30 goals including a hat-trick in the 5-2 win over Bayern Munich in the German Cup final. The striker has just two years left on his contract and has attracted interest from many Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea.

Rating The England Squad For The Euros

Roy Hodgson has named his 23-man England squad that will carry the hopes of the entire nation at the Euro 2012 finals in Poland & Ukraine this summer. But has he got the right players? After having a look at the complete squad, here is my verdict on the squad.

Goalkeepers

Joe Hart

Its a long time since England have had one of the best keepers in the world. For me he is not only the best in the Premier League but also the best in the world and should be mentioned along with the likes of Iker Casillas, Gianluigi Buffon, Manuel Neuer or even Hugo Lloris. Hart has developed a lot since his loan spell at Birmingham couple of years back and could be England’s number one for many years to come.

Robert Green

He has been good for West Ham this season. I know he is playing in the Championship but he has performed for West Ham under a lot of pressure and expectations. He is going to be 2nd choice to Hart and so I have no worries at all unless Hart gets injured.

John Ruddy

Paul Robinson and Ben Foster have retired while Scott Carson plays in Turkish league and David Stockdale hasn’t perform this season, so John Ruddy was the best option. I am really happy for him. He has been very good for Norwich this season and their position in the league proves it. He has made some amazing saves this season in a matches against the top sides especially against Liverpool at Anfield.

Defenders 

Glen Johnson

England are lucky to have some many good right-backs and Glen Johnson is the best of them. Unlucky that Micah Richards didnt make the plane but Johnson for me is by far the best right-back England have had for some years now. His defending is a bit of a worry but going forward is as good as Dani Alves or Maicon to name a few. He also has the ability to score from outside the box and that’s a plus point.

Phil Jones

The fact that I am a Manchester United fan, I am very happy for him. He played really well for United in the first half of the season but was troubled a lot by injuries in the second half. He is not on the plane because he had a good season by his own standards but because he is very versatile and can play in three different positions – right-back, centre-back and centre-midfield. Some part of me always knew he would be in the squad because of his versatility.

John Terry

I thought both Rio Ferdinand and John Terry would be going to the Euros but when Ferdinand was not going to be selected Terry had to be selected. Lets be honest, Terry is the best English defender at the moment and he has to be in the squad for a major tournament like this. As Hodgson said he has performed for Chelsea even with all those off-field issues and I can’t see why he won’t perform well for England. He is a true leader and a rock in the defense.

Gary Cahill

Cahill-Terry partnership has been one of the best defence partnerships for England in the last one year or so. Cahill has had a good season with both Bolton & Chelsea and I expect him to play a huge role in the Champions league final on Saturday. He will start alongside JT for England and will surely form a formidable partnership in the center of the defence.

Joleon Lescott

He has had a very good season for Manchester City but hasn’t got the credit he deserves. He is a decent player but I don’t see him starting for England ahead of John Terry or Gary Cahill. He is a very good cover for the Chelsea duo though.

Ashley Cole

England’s number one left-back for years and it’s no surprise he is in the squad. Has performed consistently for Chelsea in the Premier League season after season and deserves his place in the team.

Leighton Baines

I am glad he is finally going to a major tournament. He missed out on the World Cup in South Africa because of home-sickness but now he is fine. He has let no one down this season and performed brilliant for Everton. A brilliant backup option for Ashley Cole.

Midfielders

Steven Gerrard

Even though he plays for Liverpool, I love watching him play. He has been England’s best player for some years now and I am glad that he has finally been named the captain. He completely deserves it and should have been named way back when John Terry was stripped off the captaincy for the first time. He is a must in the England team because he is the heart of the midfield and an inspiration to all the players on the pitch. If he performs England have a chance.

Scott Parker

If he is 100% fit, he is a huge asset to the team. He has got all the deserved praise he should get in the last 2-3 seasons and I happy for him. He is a kind of a player each team needs, a player who could hold the midfield together and a great tackler of the ball. England are very lucky to have a player like him.

Frank Lampard

At the start of the season I doubted if Lampard would be in the England squad for the Euros but he has proved me wrong with his performances for Chelsea. He is a big-game player and possesses a great ability of scoring goals. England need such midfielders who can go forward and score some important goals when needed. The only thing to be seen is whether he and Gerrard can play together. There are many questions about that to be answered.

Gareth Barry

It amuses me how come he is in the squad ahead of Michael Carrick. Barry was poor against Germany in the World Cup and was completely outclassed by the German midfield but his performances in the last 10 games or so for City have been outstanding and also is an England regular for long time now. Maybe that’s the reason why he is in the squad but for me it would have been Carrick ahead of Barry.

James Milner

If you want a player who will give you 100% in each match then he is the player you are looking for. He hasn’t played a lot for City in the last few weeks and has been used mostly as substitute but he has performed whenever he has been given a chance. He is a reliable player and you know he will always give his best on the field. Add to that he is versatile, can play in center of the midfield or on the wings or even as a right back if needed.

Theo Walcott

He has been way too inconsistent this season for Arsenal. One day he will give you a 9/10 performance and next day he will give you a 5 or maybe a 6/10 performance, but he has a lot of pace in him and on his day he could also end up scoring a hat-trick. For me, he is England’s best right winger at the moment ahead of Aaron Lennon or Adam Johnson.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Whenever he has played he has impressed me. He is quick and possesses a lot of talent in him to be a star of England and Arsenal in the future. I don’t think he will start any of the games because it would really surprise me if he does but I expect him to have some impact on the game by coming on from the bench.

Stewart Downing

I must say I am very very surprised he is on that plane to Poland-Ukraine. He has been a complete waste of money for Liverpool this season. He hasn’t managed to score a goal or even create a goal in his 36 appearances in the Premier League for the Reds. I would have gone for either Adam Johnson or Daniel Sturridge ahead of Stewart Downing, any day.

Ashley Young

He has had a decent first season for Manchester United but has performed well whenever he has player for the Three Lions. His ability to deliver dangerous freekicks and crosses will be important in a tight game and could also create a difference.

Forwards

Wayne Rooney

He will be the first name on any teamsheet. He has to go even if he is suspended for the first two games. He just had a great season with Manchester United and he being suspended for the first two games will keep him fresh for the final group game against Ukraine. If he can continue his club form for his country then England are in with a huge chance.

Danny Welbeck

He has performed brilliantly for Manchester United under a lot of pressure this season and completely deserves a place in the squad. He has very good movement and also at the same time is quick. He has a very good understanding with Wayne Rooney and if Roy Hodgson decides to play with two upfront when Rooney returns, then these two can trouble the opposition defence.

Andy Carroll

If the choice was between Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll then even I would have gone with Carroll. He adds something different than the other three strikers. He has a great ability to hold the ball in the opposition’s half and his physical presence will be felt in the both the boxes. He has shown some glimpses of his form in the last 5-6 matches for Liverpool and he is way aggressive than Peter Crouch.

Jermain Defoe

I am glad that Defoe is also on the plane. He is a true poacher, a natural goalscorer and England don’t have many striker like him in their national pool. The other one which I can remember is Darren Bent but he is out injured. If he gets a chance to score then you can be sure he will score like he did in the last group game of the World Cup.