Euro 2012: England Should Have Left More of the Veterans at Home
Roy Hodgson was exactly right when he made the decision to leave Rio Ferdinand at home this summer, but he should have followed suit with more of the ageing stars of this squad.
The general consensus of this summer's endeavours was that the quarterfinal stage would be a great achievement, where more than likely Spain or Italy would progress at England's expense.
Overall, the main benefit that can be achieved during Euro 2012 is a solid foundation from which to build in the future, with Brazil 2014 and beyond the targets for success.
If that is to happen, though, several members of the current squad will have to fall by the wayside to make way for younger, hungrier talent.
Captain Steven Gerrard is 32 years old. With his influence at Liverpool starting to be questioned in recent times, who you would view as being the future?
Micah Richards surely has to get his call up soon, while Chris Smalling has enjoyed a successful season at Manchester United and could've gained valuable experience.
Will John Terry (31), Joleon Lescott (29) and Phil Jagielka (29) be on the plane in two years time?
While surely Daniel Sturridge would have been a far more logical inclusion than Jermain Defoe?
Of course, the intentions were there, but Gary Cahill, Jack Wilshere and Kyle Walker were already ruled out.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a slight statement of intent, while the call up of Martin Kelly was spot on.
One observation from the opener against France is that Hodgson has a game plan—one that was executed to near perfection last week.
He is, however, going to have to go through this teaching process twice because many of the current players will not be around much longer.
By establishing a core of younger stars already, the rewards could have been reaped much quicker.
We have all seen how positive the impact of such a strategy can be. Germany, for instance, have impressed since their explosion on to the scene in South Africa two years ago and continue to do so.
Their young side have been playing together for years and it shows. They seem to know what one another are thinking on the pitch.
There are a smattering of older stars in the squad, but it mainly consists of players aged 24 and below.
It's going to be scary when they hit their peak.
This is a concept England can look to and hope to achieve success from. The players are there—they just need to be unleashed and given a chance.
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