England's Euro 2012 Squad: Complete Guide to All 23 Players
So the England squad for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine has been announced.
As expected, there have been some shock inclusions and glaring omissions. Who is to say yet whether Roy Hodgson has already sealed his own fate with the un-abating England fans?
Herein lies a rundown of the 23-man squad that will carry the weight of England's 1966 World Cup triumph on their shoulders.
Joe Hart is the best goalkeeper England have produced in years.
The Manchester City stopper is decisive, young, athletic and has been practically error-free all season.
England fans can be assured that goalkeeping worries are a thing of the past—as long as Hart stays injury and suspension-free.
England fans will point to Robert Green's howler against the United States in the 2010 World Cup as a reason for him not to be included.
Frankly, Green is unlikely to play unless something happens to Joe Hart.
John Ruddy's solid performances for Norwich this season have led to him being called up for England.
Likely the third choice goalkeeper in the squad, Ruddy needs to be prepared for the intense pressure that comes with playing for England.
Being lobbed from close to the half-way line by Luis Suarez was one of the lowest points in his season to go alongside the fact he only kept two clean sheets.
Leighton Baines will be hoping he can force himself into a starting position at left-back for England.
The Everton defender has been a little shy with his assists this season—two compared to last season's 11—but his displays have been much more consistent.
Glen Johnson was always going to be the first choice for the right-back role, but he will have to be careful he doesn't leave the defense exposed with his marauding runs down the wing.
Johnson has been relatively indifferent for most of the season with Liverpool—neither terrible nor sparkling.
Phil Jones has become one of Manchester United's brightest stars after forcing his way into Alex Ferguson's starting line-up.
The defender—who can also operate in defensive midfield—has the passion and drive required to succeed at the international level.
Hodgson may have to make room for him.
With the lingering Anton Ferdinand race case still unresolved, John Terry has been selected over Rio Ferdinand for England.
The former captain—twice stripped of the role—looked terribly outclassed by Luis Suarez a few weeks ago in what was hopefully just end-of-season blues.
Devoid of pace, Terry will rely on his experience and positioning to guide him through the tournament.
Joleon Lescott is fresh off the back of a Premier League-winning season with Manchester City.
The central defender is a solid player, but the pressure he felt in his final league match against Queens Park Rangers revealed some cracks in his steely demeanour.
Hopefully the pressure of playing for England won't constitute the same type of performance.
Gary Cahill was touch and go for a final 23 squad call-up.
The Chelsea defender has struggled with a hamstring injury since April and is yet to be tested in a match situation.
If he plays and pulls up against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final, it could spell trouble for Roy Hodgson.
This is a bit of a fitness gamble.
Ashley Cole hasn't had the best season for Chelsea, but he has been England's first choice left-back for many a year now.
Cole will be hoping the pressure from Leighton Baines won't see him edged onto the bench for this tournament.
There was no doubting he would be included in the final squad.
Theo Walcott will be tasked with providing some pace on the right wing for England.
A tumultuous season with Arsenal saw the Gunners clinch third place in the league and claim Champions League football for next season.
Walcott—often renounced due to indifferent form—will be looking to silence some critics who feel he's never reached his potential.
Stewart Downing might consider himself fortunate to have made the 23-man cut for England after a debut Liverpool season that brought no goals and no assists.
In fact, some have joked that his first assist may be in getting Kenny Dalglish the sack.
On his day Downing can be an incisive attacking winger with a good left footed cross.
There hasn't been many of those days recently.
Perhaps a shock inclusion, but certain to be a popular choice for England is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The young attacking midfielder has largely been an impact player for Arsene Wenger this season, perhaps Roy Hodgson sees him doing the same for England.
Liverpool's Captain Fantastic has likely benefited from being rested by Kenny Dalglish over the final few weeks of the Premier League season.
Gerrard has shown glimpses of his former self since his return from injury—such as his hat-trick against Everton—but has often been more trying than delivering.
Capable of brilliance, Gerrard will start if fit—particularly as he has now been made captain of England by Hodgson.
Gareth Barry seems to have converted his game into a well-rounded defensive midfield utility man.
His role allows more attack-minded players to get forward whilst he holds the fort.
A good player who will find it difficult to get a place when vying with Gerrard, Lampard and Parker.
Speaking of Lampard...
Almost written off as past-it by Andreas Villas-Boas early in the season, Lampard got his head down and proved he still has what it takes at the top level.
Lampard can get goals and will be part of the midfield juggling act that Roy Hodgson has given himself.
Scott Parker was made interim captain under interim manager Stuart Pearce, but has seemingly lost that right under Roy Hodgson.
That might spell sideline action for the Tottenham midfielder, who will be fighting Gareth Barry for defensive midfield duties.
Ashley Young provides width for the England team, and is interchangeable on either flank.
Young has performed well for Manchester United this season and is deserving of his place in the side.
Playing for Aston Villa always kept him on the periphery of the England squad.
James Milner has featured 25 times in the league for Manchester City according to the statistics, but you can't say that they were telling performances.
Milner is a workhorse and will run till he drops; however he may be lacking match sharpness due to his bit-part appearances for his club over the last few months.
Despite having to miss the first two games of the Championship due to suspension, there was never any real belief that Wayne Rooney was going to be omitted from the 23-man squad.
Rooney has struck 27 league goals this season—a feat perhaps masked by Robin Van Persie's amazing record.
England fans will be expecting Rooney to produce more than he did in the 2010 World Cup.
Not everyone's cup of tea, Danny Welbeck is a welcome inclusion in my book.
Take him away and who do you replace him with? England are lacking some real goalscorers these days and Welbeck will relish the opportunity to shine.
He might not start many games but he is capable of grabbing a goal here and there.
Ask Liverpool fans whether Carroll should be in the England squad and they'll tell you yes. Ask them that question six months ago and they would likely have laughed in your face.
The April and May were Carroll's best months since donning the red of Liverpool, and he can hopefully carry his recent good form to Poland and Ukraine.
Carroll possesses an aerial threat that is undeniable. He is a different type of player and a necessary inclusion.
Jermain Defoe has been Tottenham and England's nearly man for years now.
Unfortunately for him, that might not ever change unless he switches clubs.
Defoe is quick, sharp and possesses a powerful shot—but is that enough to give him a starting berth?
Perhaps he might begin the first two games whilst Rooney is suspended, but then he'll likely become an impact player.
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