by Thomas Rooney

Roy Hodgson named his England squad for the games against San Marino and Montenegro this week and the main talking point was the return of Rio Ferdinand.

Quite simply, it is correct that the Manchester United man is back in the mix. He is one of the best defenders this country has produced in recent years and without John Terry, adds much needed experience.

Hodgson’s reservations in the past on Ferdinand have been fitness based and given his injury record, this is justified. However, the 34-year-old has had an solid run of games and been very good for the Red Devils.

If it is in the best interests to pick players on form, then Ferdinand deserves his call. Hodgson quite rightly said that the former West Ham man would be considered for the 2014 World Cup if playing regularly and well.

So that’s the Ferdinand issue discussed – he deserves to be back in.

What of Joleon Lescott’s omission? Well, Hodgson said that he isn’t involved due to a lack of games. The defender has made 12 appearances in 2013.

Chris Smalling has been given the nod though and he has made just ten appearances for Manchester United in 2013. If you were Lescott, would you be slightly aggrieved?

The England boss is of course well within his rights to select whoever he pleases, but it seems strange to publicly mention Lescott’s lack of games when there is a player, in his position, that has played less.

Ashley Young and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both involved too and they haven’t been playing too much for their clubs in recent weeks. They are two exciting talents though and the future of this England team.

Perhaps it is all about balance for Hodgson when it comes to selection. He wants experience in his ranks – and isn’t worried about age – as well as some exciting young talent.

There is also an emphasis on form players which is good to see. He doesn’t pick players for their name, as the Ferdinand situation over the last year or so has showed.

Overall, England have a decent squad at their disposal with more than enough talent to pick up six points in the next two qualification matches.

What are your thoughts?


Written by Thomas Rooney from