Roy Hodgson announced a very predictable and unimaginative England squad yesterday, here is who he should have picked…
Saido Berahino for Ross Barkley
Berahino was called up to the previous squad by Hodgson after a superb start to the season. His goals since have fired West Brom to safety and an FA Cup quarter final since so surely the versatile forward was more deserving of a call-up than Barkley, who has been in poor form this season at struggling Everton.
Stewart Downing for Theo Walcott
This may seem a strange one on paper but fact is Walcott has barely started a game since he returned from a long-term knee injury. To throw him straight back into the mix sends out the wrong message. Form should matter and due to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s untimely hamstring injury, West Ham’s Stewart Downing was more deserving of a recall despite going off the boil in the last couple of months.
To call-up three left-backs and not give Bertrand a chance is scandalous. He should have been ahead of both Shaw, due to a string of injuries, and Kieran Gibbs, who is out of form. Bertrand has been a key part of Southampton’s excellent defensive record and provides a fruitful outlet going forwards too. Poor decision, Roy.
Ashley Young for Andros Townsend
Young has been a revelation this season. He was fully deserving of a recall after nailing down a starting berth at Manchester United. He has arguably been their most consistent performer this season and for Townsend to be included instead of him is utterly baffling. The Tottenham winger’s end product has been poor and he lacks any sort of consistency.
John Stones for Kyle Walker
Walker was exposed last weekend against Manchester United. Young and Daley Blind tormented him down that side and similarly to Walcott, he has failed to find his best form since returning from injury. He has plenty of pace but does not seem to have much of a football brain. John Stones may not be in the best form himself but at least he has bags of potential and the experience of being in another England squad would have done him the world of good.