An insult to West Ham United

Mark Noble

West Ham Mark Noble's absence from the England squad was bad enough, until Roy Hodgson made it even worse last night.

England secured a 1-1 draw away to Italy last night, but it was almost despite the bizarre team selection of manager Roy Hodgson.

The Three Lions boss selected a diamond formation in midfielder, with Arsenal's Theo Walcott ineffective at the tip of it through the centre.

His choice of holding midfielder was just as bad, picking Manchester United centre-back Phil Jones to play the role.

It is a position in which Jones has played in the past, even under Fabio Capello for England, but it is not one he has been playing recently for Manchester United.

His limitations were badly exposed by the technically gifted Italians and he was withdrawn for Michael Carrick, only then did England improve.

Perhaps if only England had a player specialised in the position other than Carrick who Roy Hodgson could have started?

In fact they do, but he was at home in east London, preparing for West Ham United's next Premier League match.

Mark Noble's continued absence from the England squad remains a bemusement to many, who have seen him become one of the Premier League's most consistent performers in recent seasons.

Leaving him out of the squad was one thing, but picking Phil Jones out of position in his place was an insult to him and West Ham.

If Noble needed any more motivation to prove Hodgson wrong this was it. The England boss deemed Ryan Mason not ready for a starting spot, while Fabian Delph also had a poor game.

Hodgson's selection shows that he is unsettled on his best player for the position, and there is still a chance for Noble to force his way into the team if the England boss can get past his blind spot when it comes to the 27-year-old.

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