Euro 2012: Spotlight on England
- 30 May 2012 17:00
- Posted by Nicola McCarthy
It's been all change in the England camp in recent months.
Not only does the team have a new head coach in Roy Hodgson, but also a newly appointed captain in Liverpool's Steven Gerrard. The usual questions remain though, can England really challenge on the international stage?
The spotlight will most certainly be on the Three Lions performance at this tournament.
Having flopped at the 2010 World Cup, and failed to qualify for the Euros last time around, England will need a big performance to win back the fans and keep their critics at bay.
There are a few younger faces in the squad, which may freshen things up, but most of the 23 named were among those who travelled to South Africa two years ago.
The appointment of Hodgson has sparked much conversation, many wondering if he is the right man for the job. He’s not the kind of manager to spring too many surprises, but we can expect the team to be organised, performing to the best of their ability, but will that be good enough? Time will tell...
City connection: Joe Hart, James Milner, Joleon Lescott
You don’t have to look too far into the squad to find the City links. In fact, it starts right at the back with our very own Joe Hart - who’s sure to be Hodgson’s number one choice.
After Joe’s top class performances for City last season, many feel that if England are to progress in the tournament, his contribution will be vital.
After injury ruled him out of the last World Cup, Joleon Lescott will be keen to impress at this summer’s tournament. He’s been a regular member of the squad during qualification and will be hoping to win a starting place in the opening game against France.
Also named in the 23-man squad is James Milner, who faces stiff competition for a place in central midfield. World Cup 2010 was his first major tournament with the senior squad, and he recently admitted that lacklustre campaign has proved to be a great motivator for the Euros.
There was disappointment for City’s Gareth Barry, who after being named in the original squad, has been forced to withdraw after he sustained an injury to his abdomen during a friendly with Norway.
The boss : Roy Hodgson
He may not have been the fans’ first choice, but the former Fulham, Liverpool and West Brom manager already has one win under his belt, after England beat Norway 1-0 in a Euro 2012 warm-up.
Although he's made a positive start, Hodgson knows he has his work cut out for him if he is to prove that he is the man to lead England out of international wilderness.
One to watch : Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Starting just six Premier League games for Arsenal last season, the 18-year-old’s inclusion in the squad may have come as a shock to some – especially given Hodgson’s conservative approach - but, his ability and flair are clear for all to see and the former Southampton winger claims he’s been encouraged by the boss to express himself, if and when he gets his chance.
Key man: Steven Gerrard
After being overlooked as skipper by caretaker manager Stuart Pearce, the 32-year-old thought the captaincy had passed him by. However, his chance to lead England permanently has finally come - long overdue some may say.
For Hodgson, Gerrard is likely to be a central figure - not just captain, but installed in the heart of midfield. His experience, both at club and international level, along with his commitment to the England cause will be pivotal in driving the team forward.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Robert Green (West Ham), Jack Butland (Birmingham City).
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), John Terry (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton).
Midfielders: Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Manchester United).
Forwards: Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United).
Odds via Paddy Power: 12/1
Come along and enjoy Euro 2012 at City Square, the only outdoor venue in Manchester showing the England matches. We are kicking off with England’s opening match against France on June 11, with City Square open from 2:30pm.
There will be free giveaways from the CityStore and EA, parking is free and The Summerbee Bar, Blue Moon Café and Star Bar will all be open.
Tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £3 for kids and are available now from the box office - advance purchase only.