England Euro 2012: Gareth Barry out with Injury, What It Means for England
The title-winning Manchester City midfielder came on at halftime in place of captain Steven Gerrard in the first match under Roy Hodgson, but he lasted less than half an hour after needing to be substituted himself due to injury.
While midfielder Jordan Henderson was on the stand-by list, Hodgson has instead chosen to fill the void left by Barry with Everton defender Phil Jagielka.
John Ruddy, England's third-choice goalkeeper, was also forced to withdraw last week after breaking his finger.
Here are four things that Barry's withdrawal and Jagielka's inclusion means for England.
One Less Body in Central Midfield
In Scott Parker, Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard, Roy Hodgson essentially selected four central midfielders—but played it safe with versatility, as he also selected Phil Jones and James Milner, both of whom can also play in that role.
While Barry is naturally a "second" central midfielder—usually playing alongside a more physical ball-winning defensive midfielder—he was seen more or less as a holding player, the only one in the squad aside from Parker.
With his absence, England have one less body to naturally fill that role, with Gerrard and Lampard both preferring to be able to get forward and support the attack—though, of course, both are experienced enough to support Parker defensively.
Despite His Poor Performance vs. Norway, England Could Miss His Ball Retention
Under Roy Hodgson, England are highly unlikely to play a high-tempo, ball retention-based attacking game—and when did they ever hold onto the ball well at the international level anyway?
With Gareth Barry missing, they will certainly miss out now on his ability to orchestrate the game from the centre of the park.
With around an 85 percent pass completion rate in the Premier League this season, Barry is neither the best nor the flashiest—but he keeps things relatively simple, keeps the ball moving and provides his more-attacking teammates with the option to move in front of him and pass the ball back.
Barry had a poor 25 minutes against Belgium, but—especially with no Michael Carrick or Tom Huddlestone in the squad—England may well miss his skill set anyway.
Phil Jagielka Gives More Depth in Defence and Cover for Scott Parker
With Gareth Barry out, most might have expected Roy Hodgson to call up the stand-by midfielder Jordan Henderson, but instead, Everton defender Phil Jagielka has gotten the call.
With only three natural central defenders in the initial squad—Joleon Lescott, John Terry and Gary Cahill—Hodgson has opted for a little more caution in this department, with the lack of a natural second holding midfielder available to call up for England.
Henderson is a fine box-to-box midfielder, but he lacks defensive awareness at the top level to really offer England an option in this role ahead of Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard, who he is arguably a more similar player to in style, if not level of talent.
Jagielka will offer cover in a defensive midfield role, able as he is to sit in front of a defence and screen it.
This will offer Hodgson the chance to rest/rotate Scott Parker if needed, or even to play both Parker and Jagielka if he feels England need an extra-solid and defensive-first approach to a game.
End of the International Road for Gareth Barry?
After 53 caps and three goals for his country, is Gareth Barry's career effectively over at the international level?
While he could certainly still feature post-Euro 2012 in forthcoming friendlies and World Cup qualifiers, is he realistically going to be in contention for a spot at the next World Cup in 2014, when Barry will be 33 years old?
Jack Rodwell and Jordan Henderson have both featured for England this season and will by then surely be established members of the squad, while the likes of Tom Cleverley and Jack Wilshere would likely be part of this squad were it not for a season of injury woe.
This unfortunate injury could well mark the end of Barry's influence in midfield, and with the aforementioned names coming through, don't be surprised to see some or all of Frank Lampard (34), Steven Gerrard (32 on May 30th) and Scott Parker (31) follow suit after the end of Euro 2012.
Roy Hodgson is in charge of ushering in a new age of England talent, especially in midfield—and Barry has just become the first unwitting casualty.