by Tom Exelby

From nowhere drama! This column has been going for 11 weeks now. About 5 of those I have had something relevant to say about who is in and who is out of the England squad; the other 5 I have shamelessly filled in space with obvious statements and recycled points I have made in previous weeks. This week however I’ve got loads to write about. So read on kids, it’s worth it.

First of all. . . . . Hodgson, I won’t dwell on his suitability as it is a subject which has been debated to death in the last few days (and this week I don’t need filler) but my own opinion hasn’t changed since I wrote in depth about this. Hodgson, although a great candidate, will be handicapped by the spectre of Redknapp just as he was by the spectre of Dalglish at Anfield. The clamour for Redknapp which included journalists, fans and players will forever undermine Hodgson’s reign and at the first hint of trouble the daggers will be out for poor old Woy.

And how will he deal with Steven Gerrard – a man without doubt of immense importance to England but also a man who let him down during his spell at Liverpool. Stevie G is the embodiment of the club – perhaps even more so than Dalglish – and could have easily rallied the Kop behind Hodgson and quelled the call for his Anfield reign to end prematurely. It is unlikely that Hodgson will seek revenge, as to do so would cut off his proverbial nose. However it does provide a delicious subplot particularly as England’s last two managers announced their arrivals by dropping a huge name. Beckham and Owen were dropped by McClaren and Cappello respectively.

The week’s second huge talking point was Manchester Citys triumph over their city rivals. From an England point of view this must be seen as a triumph: players like Joleon Lescott, Joe Hart and Gareth Barry have joined the ranks of England stars to have stared true pressure in the face and overcome it. And if they can avoid a slip up against the fantastic Alan Pardew and his free flowing Newcastle side then the title will surely be theirs. The derby also highlighted the ineffectiveness of Wayne Rooney when he is deployed as a solo striker. England’s talisman has been superb since regularly being paired with Danny Wellbeck and the latters’ absence in the derby highlighted his worth to Rooney.

Hate figure John Terry returned to action at the weekend with a brilliant performance against QPR. He may be developing into the nation’s favourite villain but there is still no doubting his talent. Surely he deserves (in a professional capacity) to not only travel to the Euros but also to partner Lescott at the heart of England’s defence? Handing him the captaincy will be seen by many as a step too far and so the man for that job must be Hart. With Rooney suspended, Terry out of the question and Hodgson and Gerrard’s relationship questionable, the City goalkeeper is the obvious choice.