At 1 P.M. yesterday, Roy Hodgson named his 23 man squad for Euro 2012. By half one, ‘Roy Hodgson’ was a trending topic on Twitter. As soon as half past two, England ‘supporters’ had ruled England out of winning a game.
Under Fabio Capello’s charge, the Italian said in a post-match interview after playing Ghana (I think) that he knew his side wouldn’t win, purely down to the way they had trained. Capello noted that the pressure of playing in front of a sceptical Wembley crowd was drowning his players in expectation.
Capello’s judgement of his players at World Cup 2010 in South Africa was that they had folded under the pressure. How could a team which had majestically swept all before them in qualifying, suddenly play so limply against Algeria, Slovenia and U.S.A? There were more reasons to why that England failed so spectacularly, but pressure and unwarranted expectations had stifled any innovation from England’s players. After playing out a 0-0 draw with Algeria, England fans booed their team at the full-time whistle as if it would somehow help the team to know they’d played poorly.
For me, a supporter stands behind his team for the duration of their time in the stadium as their team plays. To boo your own team as they play is not being a supporter, you can take that away from the stadium and complain in the pub, or to your wife as she nonchalantly agrees with your troubles.
Personally, I have never booed inside a stadium against my own team and never will, nor do I get on the backs of individual players. ‘Support’ can be defined as, ‘to hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking or slipping’ and; ‘to keep from weakening or failing; strengthen’. That last word, ‘strenghten’ is very apt in what it concerns to be a supporter. To be a supporter, you need to strengthen the belief of your own players by providing unequivocal support for all the time you spend in the stadium. If you’re unhappy about the way things are going, by all means do it, but you keep it away from the ground.
To write off your own team before a ball has even been kicked is the equivalent of that. Only one team can claim glory at Euro 2012, so you’d have pretty good odds of being correct if your team ultimately fail to lift the Henri Delauney trophy this summer and yes, you’d enjoy the lofty position of being able to say, ‘I told you so’.
On my part, I’d rather be the person sat there distraught at any defeat, knowing I believed 100% until the final whistle was blown. I don’t want to be sceptic, but the believer, to be anything else than the believer is to be a defeatist and that, ultimately, is not the essence of a supporter.
I should really talk about Hodgon’s squad selection now, and, for the most part, I can’t pick fault with it, maybe bar the inclusion of Stewart Downing and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (more of which I’ll get to later). Anyway, below is the squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, John Ruddy, Robert Green. Defenders: Leighton Baines, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, Glen Johnson, Phil Jones, Joleon Lescott, John Terry. Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Stewart Downing, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Ashley Young. Forwards: Andy Carroll, Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck.
For those wanting youth to be injected into the England squad, they were duly provided it in Joe Hart, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones, Theo Walcott, Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck. From the World Cup 2010 campaign, a total of twelve players including Stephen Warnock, Emile Heskey and Peter Crouch have lead a mass exodus of the England players who so desperately flopped against the majestic opposition of Algeria and Slovenia. Those wanting change for this tournament were again provided it, with eleven players selected about to potentially play their first tournament football for England.
In defence, Roy Hodgson said he picked John Terry for footballing reasons and with regards to his trial, Terry is innocent until proved otherwise, which is the correct decision in my opinion. Terry has been superior to Rio Ferdinand this season and at that, Ferdinand has barely played for England in the past years, so quite rightly, how could Hodgson justify Ferdinand’s inclusion if he hasn’t played for England? Joleon Lescott will act as Terry’s partner in defence, with Cahill and Jones providing the back-up to that duo.
Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, it must be noted, cannot play together in the current system of 4-2-3-1 is the formation simply cannot accomodate it. With Gerrard being made captain, I expect the Liverpool captain to sit deep with Scott Parker and Lampard will play his part from the bench, providing experience when the situation suits. If England are losing to France 1-0 with half an hour to go, who better to bring on than a man whose seen it all before? I have no problems with their selection, just as long as they aren’t picked together.
Theo Walcott and Ashley Young will provide the width. In all competitions for Arsenal, Walcott has scored nine goals and provided ten assists, pretty good going for a 23 year old winger, am I correct? Of course I am. Young has scored seven goals and provided eleven assists this season in all competitions for Manchester United, despite starting just twenty-seven matches in all competitions for United. As far as wingers go, both Walcott and Young have had prolific seasons and I’d have nobody else over that duo.
Wayne Rooney will act as the third man in that threesome with Walcott and Young (shudders). Now you’ve picked your mind out of the dirt, Rooney will provide the creation needed to provide for a centre forward, likely to be one of Jermain Defoe or Danny Welbeck. For the duration of Rooney’s two match suspension, Frank Lampard will probably act as a midfield/forward.
Now, on to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Firstly, I must say I’m chuffed to bits for Chamberlain as an Arsenal fan, I really am very proud of him. With that said, I do question his inclusion. I recognise Chamberlain to be very, very talented, but the guy hasn’t even started ten league matches for Arsenal this season, he’s started six, with the bulk of Chamberlain’s appearances coming from the bench.
If Chamberlain had some inclusion with the full national team in qualifying and in friendlies, then I’m fully supportive of Chamberlain’s call-up, but he simply hasn’t had the involvement prior to Euro 2012. Could Chamberlain’s spot have been used for a player who has perhaps done more for England in qualifying, such as Adam Johnson of Manchester City? Hodgson says that he couldn’t justify picking Ferdinand, a player who had no part in getting England to Euro 2012, but has no qualms in selecting Chamberlain, who has never played for the full national team before.
Believe me, I hope I’m proved wrong on Chamberlain and that he plays, performing miracles along the way. I just don’t think he’s played enough matches this season for Arsenal to justify his inclusion.
Right, that’s me done for today.