After another quarter-final exit at a major tournament, England, under the supervision of Roy Hodgson, begin their 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign next week.
Hodgson’s men travel to Moldova next Friday (September 7th) before hosting fellow Euro 2012 Group D opponents Ukraine four days later.
Will Ridgard overlooks the situation and gives his view on the expected squad for the double-header and what changes from the European Championship’s squad Hodgson is expected to make.
Hodgson is expected to pick Joe Hart, John Ruddy and Jack Butland as his goalkeepers. All three are their clubs respective number ones and I don’t think anyone can argue of their inclusions, particularly Hart, who has emerged as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
It has been quite a hectic yet enjoyable couple of months for 19-year-old Birmingham keeper Butland. His only experience in professional football before June was in League 2, where he spent two equally impressive loan spells at Cheltenham Town.
His performances didn’t go unnoticed though and soon enough found himself a surprise addition to Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad; where he replaced the injured Ruddy. Just a month later, Butland represented Team GB in the Olympics, drawing so much recognition and praise that new Birmingham manager Lee Clark decided to name the youngster as his number one for the forthcoming season.
Add to this his debut for the Three Lions in a friendly against Italy in August, where Ruddy also made his debut, and you can see just how far he has come in such a short space of time.
All the talk has been about whether the controversial John Terry should be included in the squad. Surrounded by racism allegations and under severe scrutiny, many have pondered whether Terry should ever play England ever again.
However, this much debated debacle looks like it will unfold in a new chapter as the twice-appointed England captain is a major doubt for the qualifiers with a neck injury.
Despite this, Hodgson has stuck by Terry and openly admitted he would be selecting him days before the Chelsea skipper got injured. Hodgson has obviously overlooked the situation regarding Anton Ferdinand, seen that he was cleared of racially abuse and if he can select one of his best defenders, he will.
If he remains unfit, maybe this will be a good break for the Chelsea defender, it will give him a much needed break from the limelight and allow him to concentrate on his club career for now.
Besides, Phil Jagielka is a more than able deputy and has been very unfortunate not to represent the Three Lions on a more regular occurrence over the years. I can’t see many changes being made by Hodgson in the defensive department considering they were England’s star performers in Poland and Ukraine. Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, Joleon Lescott and Leighton Baines will all receive call-ups while Kyle Walker and Gary Cahill, who had to withdraw from the initial Euro squad through injury, should also be welcomed back to the fold.
Phil Jones and Micah Richards are unavailable through injury so this opens the door for Tottenham’s Steven Caulker or maybe Liverpool’s Martin Kelly to gain some more experience on the international scene if Terry isn’t included.