Interesting names left out of U21 squad by Stuart Pearce.
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[picappgallerysingle id=”9650392″]England U21 manager Stuart Pearce has named a 20 man squad for the match against Germany, which is listed below:
Goalkeepers: Frank Fielding (Blackburn), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Martin Kelly (Liverpool), Michael Mancienne (Chelsea), Micah Richards (Man City), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Ben Mee (ManCity)
Midfielders: Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa), Tom Cleverley (Man Utd), Jack Cork (Chelsea), Henri Lansbury (Arsenal), Josh McEachran (Chelsea), Fabrice Muamba (Bolton), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Danny Rose (Tottenham)
Forwards: Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Scott Sinclair (Swansea), Danny Welbeck (Man Utd)
There are few surprises to be found in the goalkeeper selection, but one name in particular stands out as missing from the list of defenders: Phil Jones.
Still, just 18, the Blackburn player has proved himself a capable performer in both central defence and as a holding midfielder – and has kept the likes of Didier Drogba quiet in his eighteen Premier League appearances.
Though England are currently well equipped at centre back, and Rovers boss Sam Allardyce believes that will eventually become Jones’ permanent position, there is certainly a void in defensive midfield that Jones could well fill – especially with poor Owen Hargreaves having suffered another setback.
Elsewhere in defence, there have been rumours of Newcastle United right back Danny Simpson receiving a first call up. The former Manchester United trainee has looked in fine form since returning from injury – largely on the virtue of not being James Perch – but has provided both a reliability in the tackle and an attacking outlet on the right.
He was particularly impressive against Arsenal. Newcastle played extremely narrow at the Emirates Stadium, which perfectly countered the Gunners’ penchant to play through the middle. However, Simpson was always available out wide, and stretched the play exceptionally well.
With Micah Richards in the U21 squad, Wes Brown having retired from international football, and Gary Neville having almost retired from football full stop, there is certainly a place available in the senior England squad at right back. Simpson seemingly has a better sense of position than Glen Johnson – who is still recovering from injury – and could be handed his first cap against France.
Kieran Gibbs is also omitted from the U21s, and is expected to return to the Arsenal squad this weekend, so could be included by Fabio Capello if he is deemed fit enough. He certainly impressed on his debut against Hungary, and looks set to be the long term replacement for Ashley Cole at left back so long as he can avoid injury.
In midfield, Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson and Arsenal teenager Jack Wilshere are likely to be called up. Both have enjoyed excellent starts to the season, having been given more first team action than most people expected. Though not eligible for the U21s at 24, Matt Jarvis has been mooted to be called up too – and his performances on Wolves’ left wing have been excellent this campaign – but Aston Villa’s Marc Albrighton will have to wait for his chance.
However, with Frank Lampard likely to make his return, the likeliest option is that both will merely get on the pitch in the second half.
Up front, England are in a bit of a selection crisis.
Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Darren Bent and Bobby Zamora are injured. Emile Heskey has retired from international football. Kevin Davies is hardly a long term solution, while Carlton Cole has struggled for form this season. Though his international goalscoring record is undoubtedly impressive, I am not convinced that Peter Crouch should be anything other than an impact substitute for England if all players are fit.
This means Newcastle’s Andy Carroll will surely be selected, with Theo Walcott’s calm finishing this season possibly earning himself a place up front alongside him. The lack of fit English strikers means that the likes of Jay Bothroyd of Cardiff and Birmingham’s Cameron Jerome have been considered, but though Daniel Sturridge has been left out of the U21 squad, he is unlikely to be brought into the senior side due to a lack of game time at Chelsea.
Fabio Capello is gradually bringing younger players into the England team to kick start the next era, after the ‘golden generation’ did not live up to their unfortunately over-hyped moniker. The Italian has the right idea in prioritising results in competitive matches, and experimenting in friendlies.
Let’s hope some of these players take their chances on their debuts.