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The Best English XI Not on the Plane

Tony LucadamoContributor IIIOctober 17, 2016

The Best English XI Not on the Plane

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    What follows is England's best XI who did not quite make the cut for Roy Hodgson's 23-man roster.

    Note that retirements and injuries are taken into account.

    Thus, the likes of Gary Cahill, Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard and a few others that may come to mind are excluded.

    What do you think of this club? Would they have a chance against the present Three Lions starting line?

    You be the judge! 

GK: Scott Carson (Bursapor)

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    Honorable Mention: Alex Smithies (Huddersfield)

    This is without a doubt England's weakest area in terms of depth. The pool thins out pretty quickly after Joe Hart.

    Both Ben Foster and Paul Robinson are retired.

    Paul Ruddy withdrew due to injury.

    Thus, I turned to Bursapor's first choice goalkeeper. He is likely the largest weakness in the side.

RB: Micah Richards (Manchester City)

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    The regular Manchester City starter is apparently 'gutted' after missing out on a selection.

    As well he should be. I am as surprised as anyone that Richards gets the summer off.

    He is a physical enforcer on the pitch with tremendous athletic ability. On his best days he is about as good as it gets.

CB: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)

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    Honorable Mention: Scott Dann (Blackburn)

    Following the exit of Fabio Capello, Hodgson had a golden opportunity to put his stamp on English football.

    By picking Chelsea's John Terry and dropping Ferdinand he missed that chance.

    Instead, he waded deeper into the murky waters which drowned his predecessor.

    National teams do not have the benefit of playing together as regularly as clubs. They spend a short amount of time together yet are expected to gel almost immediately for the big tournaments.

    Thus, things like atmosphere, positivity and unity are often every bit as important as quality.

    Further, with Terry the excuse that he is on the team for 'footballing reasons' is even more flimsy given past infractions.

    This is a player who has had the Captain's armband removed not once but twice for bad behavior.

    At some point England should send a message and move on. No one is bigger than the badge and class does matter.

CB: Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)

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    Honorable Mention: Chris Smalling (Manchester United)

    The job done by the defense at Stoke City this season is vastly underrated.

    Ryan Shawcross sits at the heart of it and deserves his call-up sometime in the near future.  

LB: Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal)

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    Honorable Mention: Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea)

    With the transfer of Gael Clichy to Eastlands, Gibbs finally became a regular starter at Arsenal.

    The 22-year-old appears the third choice left back behind Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines.

    Given the relative age of both, the young Gunner should get his chance to feature regularly in a few years.

CM: Michael Carrick (Manchester United)

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    Honorable Mention: Leon Britton (Swansea City)

    Carrick is a consistent holding midfielder with good composure on the ball. He often lacks the creative spark and scoring ability needed to change a game however.

    Despite a few weaknesses, I was a bit surprised that he missed out in favor of Liverpool's Jordan Henderson.

CM: Paul Scholes (Manchester United)

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    Scholes is the third and final Red Devil to receive a starting place.

    He proved for Sir Alex Ferguson this season that he still has a bit of gas left in the tank.

    Scholes has had an astounding twilight to his career at Old Trafford.

RM: Aaron Lennon (Tottenham)

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    Honorable Mention: Matt Jarvis (Wolves)

    England's right flank boasts impressive depth.

    Lennon would start for numerous national teams. However, with Walcott's recent form and the rise of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lennon just missed out.

    He can be inconsistent. However, there is no denying his ability to change a game with his pace.

LM: Adam Johnson (Manchester City)

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    Honorable Mention: Scott Sinclair (Swansea City), Victor Moses (Wigan Athletic)

    Johnson has outstanding pace and ability. However, he is out favor at Manchester City.

    The Mirror claims that a poor attitude and lack of defensive ability are to blame for his lack of minutes.

    Whatever the reason, he would need to time to shake off the rust.

    At a position like the wing where subs must make an immediate impact that is a major drawback.

    Should he find regular minutes elsewhere he may feature more heavily in Hodgson's plans.

ST: Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea)

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    Honorable Mention: Darren Bent (Aston Villa), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa)

    It will be interesting to see how the next manager at Stamford Bridge utilizes this mercurial talent.

    He has outstanding ability, pace and positioning.

    However, he tends to get frustrated while deployed out wide for Chelsea. Sturridge is also criticized for getting a bit selfish in the final third.

    At 22, he has time to grow and alleviate those concerns.

ST: Grant Holt (Norwich City)

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    Honorable Mention: Peter Crouch (Stoke City)

    Form is essential going into international tournaments.

    At newly promoted Norwich City, Holt scored 17 goals. That is second among all Englishman behind only Wayne Rooney.

    Not bad for a guy over thirty.

Conclusion

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    There you have it. That's my XI. I doubt they would win, but I bet they could give Hodgson's men a game.

    What do you think? Let me know your picks!

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