by Jake Garner
With the start of England’s qualifying campaign, Roy Hodgson has named a new look England squad. There’s a lot of youth and inexperience in the team, with 10 of the 22 players having less than 10 caps. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. After this summer’s World Cup, everyone is looking for the squad to develop and other than the usual strikers, there is plenty of room for change. Here are three names that can become part of evolution if they show what they can do.
Southampton’s marquee signing has got off to a good start in the Premier League, with two encouraging displays. Against West Brom he rushed off his line and spread his body to block a shot from their 10m record signing Brown Ideye in stoppage time to earn Ronald Koeman his first point. After four years at Celtic, where he gained precious Champions League experience and put in outstanding performances against Barcelona of all teams to earn himself the nickname The Great Wall in Spain, he’s come to England to prove himself against top teams every week. Another motivation was the chance to work with England’s goalkeeping coach David Watson who also coaches at Southampton. Impressing this man week in, week out, gives him a huge advantage over Joe Hart. All Forster needs to do now is show up in an England shirt.
Many fans consider Rose to be mediocre and don’t think he will ever be a top player. But his previous managers and current, would disagree. While at Sunderland, Martin O’Neill praised his development and at Watford, their previous manager Brendan Rodgers described the winger turned full back as, “Highly talented”, and said he possessed, “Real intelligence with the ball”. Current Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino obviously rates Rose as well, handing him a five year contract this summer and giving him the nod over new signing Ben Davies in their two Premier League games so far. With Luke Shaw injured, Danny Rose has been brought into the squad to have a chance at staking a claim for left back. There’s one friendly and then the qualifier against Switzerland. With two matches and only Baines to compete with, Rose should be given a chance should he impress during training.
He’s probably the biggest surprise and the least renowned in the squad called up for these Septembers matches. But I do believe he’s in Hodgson’s plans. Why else would he refer to him as the ‘Ginger Pirlo’ in his last press conference? Statements like that build a certain amount of expectation around an individual so you would think Roy holds that expectation himself. However, he might not be in the team purely because of his ability. As the Ginger Pirlo he brings a skill set that no others players currently possess. Only Gerrard, who has now retired, was capable of playing in that roll. And as he was the favoured central midfielder alongside Henderson, it only makes sense to replace him with a player who can bring the same dynamic to the team. Further argument to Jack Colback’s cause is that he and Henderson came through Sunderland’s youth team together. If they can reignite that partnership next month, Jack Colback could well be on his way to France.
All in all, the squad has an exciting balance of youth mixed with experience. 13 players are under 25 and the other 9 are over 25. Other notable names are John Stones, Callum Chambers and Fabian Delph. I didn’t include them in the list because of their promising and proven ability within the Premier League. Hopefully the knowledge that as a young player you will be given the chance, and as an elder player you have someone waiting to replace you if you don’t perform, will keep this team firing on all cylinders and on course to qualify for the European Championship in 2016.