Roy Hodgson unveils his Euro 2012 squad tomorrow, and official data released today by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that Norwich City stars, John Ruddy and Grant Holt plus Swansea striker Danny Graham should ALL be boarding the plane to the Ukraine.
The research has been conducted to celebrate the release of EA SPORTS’ Euro 2012, out now on PlayStation 3 and Xbox, via download only. Euro 2012 is the official video game of the tournament, allowing fans to pick their starting eleven, and lead them to Euros glory.
The 23-man squad has been chosen using the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index (PPI), the only official player-rating index of the Barclays Premier League. The index measures a player’s all round contribution to the success of his team. Those scores over the course of the season have been used to identify the 23 players who should be representing England this summer.
Dr Ian McHale, Senior Lecturer in Statistics at Salford University, and the data crunchers behind the PPI, said: “The selection of the England squad for the Euros will divide opinion up and down the land, whether at work, on your games console or in the corridors of The FA.”
“There’s some shock inclusions in the EA SPORTS Euro 2012 squad but the math doesn’t lie. The PPI provides objective ratings for players’ performances in a match and over a season.”
The Full Squad:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Man City), Ben Foster (West Brom), John Ruddy (Norwich)
Defenders: Danny Simpson (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Spurs), Leighton Baines (Everton), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Joleon Lescott (Man City), John Terry (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Shawcross (Stoke)
Midfielders: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Matt Jarvis (Wolves), Matthew Etherington (Stoke), Ashley Young (Man Utd), Danny Murphy (Fulham), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Gareth Barry (Man City), Michael Carrick (Man Utd)
Strikers: Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Danny Wellbeck (Man Utd), Grant Holt (Norwich), Danny Graham (Swansea)
Norwich fans have been chanting ‘Ruddy for England’ at John Ruddy all season, and hopefully Roy Hodgson has heard them, as the stopper has made the second highest number of saves in the league this season with 216. That’s behind just one other keeper, Wolves’ Wayne Hennessey who made 223 saves. Ruddy has conceded just 65 goals, meaning for every goal he concedes he makes 3.3 saves. A rate comparable with established number one Joe Hart, who has made 143 saves this season, conceding 29 goals at a rate of 4.93 saves per goal.
Ben Foster’s chances of boarding the plane will have received a massive boost from the news that his West Brom manager Roy Hodgson will be managing England. Foster has made 200 saves this season, conceding 49 goals at a rate of 4.08 saves per goal.
Danny Simpson is another inclusion that may raise eyebrows, but he is the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s highest ranking English full back, securing his place in our 23 man team. Simpson’s won an impressive 79% of tackles this season and made 43 clearances including several match saving goal line clearances that could make all the difference in Poland and the Ukraine.
Simpson is joined by PFA Young Player of the Year Kyle Walker and Ashley Cole, both of whom are firm favourites, while the often over looked Leighton Baines is also in the squad. Baines has had another phenomenal season for Everton, winning 72% of tackles, delivering 96 crosses, more than any other full back in the Barclays Premier League.
The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index favours experience over youth in the centre back position, with John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Joleon Lescott all chosen. The most surprising choice at centre back is Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross, who is preferred to Chelsea’s Gary Cahill and Manchester United’s Phil Jones. Shawcross has made 323 defensive duties across clearances, interceptions, blocks and tackles this season compared to Cahill’s 266 and Jones’ 102.
Matt Jarvis and Matthew Etherington are the surprise choices on the wing, coming in 2nd and 11th respectively for crosses delivered this season (1st and 5th among English players), while Etherington is the 4th highest Englishman in the league for assists with 8 this season.
Compare that to more established choices Theo Walcott and Ashley Young, who have delivered 59 and 81 crosses respectively with 11 assists each this season.
In the middle of the park Danny Murphy earns a surprise call up in place of Scott Parker. Hodgson is a fan of Murphy’s from their time at Fulham, and the stats show why. Murphy has won 76% of tackles this season, and completed 215 defensive duties, compared to Parker’s 73% and 192. Murphy has also contributed 7 assists.
The age old England problem of whether Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard can play together has also been solved by the Index, with Lampard included and Gerrard left behind. Lampard has had a sensational season for Chelsea, scoring 11 goals from 55 shots with 73% on target and exactly 1 in 5 chances converted to goals. Meanwhile Gerrard has five goals from 30 shots at goal giving him an inferior hit rate to Lampard of one goal from every six shots.
Manchester based duo Michael Carrick and Gareth Barry are also included, after completing 1026 passes and 917 passes respectively in the opponent’s half. Both are also famously hard workers, covering 207 miles and 173.5 miles respectively this season.
Norwich striker Grant Holt is the third of the three Norwich players that should be joining the England squad, and the second highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League after Wayne Rooney with 15 goals from 69 shots on goal. 61% of his shots have been on target and he’s needed just 4.6 shots per goal scored, showing a lethal chance conversion rate that’s a must for tournament play.
Danny Graham is also chosen above more high profile strike options, having hit 12 goals in 36 appearances for Swansea this season. Graham has needed just 5.75 shots per goal, making him and Holt the perfect impact strikers for the Euros.
Compare those to the stats of England regulars Wayne Rooney and Danny Wellbeck, and you can see why Holt and Graham should be awarded a seat on the plane. Rooney has 27 goals from 141 shots, with 66% on target and 5.22 shots per goal, while Wellbeck has 9 goals from 73 shots with 73% on target and 8.11 shots per goal.
Choose your England squad and lead your country to glory in EA SPORTS UEFA EURO 2012, available to download now on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Visit www.EA.com/UK/Football/euro12 for more information.