Gary Cahill has been forced to withdraw from the England Squad for Euro 2012 with a fractured jaw suffered against Belgium on Saturday. His replacement is Liverpool’s one cap right back Martin Kelly. He becomes the sixth Liverpool player in the 23-man squad.
To include so many Liverpool players seems baffling given how abysmal the Anfield club were this season. Perhaps Roy Hodgson’s mind is slipping and he is forgetting that he is no longer Liverpool manager as that seems the only explanation for packing the England Squad with so many below par Premier League footballers from Liverpool.
There is no questioning the inclusion of Steven Gerrard in the England Squad. While the Liverpool skipper has never performed as well for England as he has for his club, there was never any doubt over his selection. However it is very difficult to make a case as to why any of the other six Liverpool players are in the squad.
Glen Johnson: Johnson seems to be the first choice England right back although it is difficult to understand why. His main strength is often said to be attacking but on so many occasions is forays forward end with him bundling into the opposition and conceding possession. His major weakness is in defence where he wanders around like a child who has lost its parent. His place may have been under greater threat had Tottenham’s Kyle Walker not missed out through injury, but Johnson’s selection ahead of Manchester City’s Micah Richards is at best bemusing.
Stewart Downing: So often the subject of derision from all supporters even his own and it is not hard to understand why. Downing has always been around England squads largely thanks to his former Middlesbrough manager Steve McLaren being around the set-up for far too long. He has however never showed an ounce of quality and has been dismal since joining Liverpool last summer, not contributing a goal or an assist to repay his hefty price tag. His inclusion is thoroughly laughable, especially ahead of the likes of Adam Johnson.
Jordan Henderson: Henderson, like Downing, joined Liverpool last summer for a large fee and has been a massive disappointment. He has looked like a rabbit in the headlights who has lost all sense of how to play football for large chunks of the season. The fact he remained in Liverpool’s first team all season was mystifying enough but the decision to name him as Frank Lampard’s replacement for England at Euro 2012 really was a staggering choice.
Andy Carroll: What can you say about the inclusion of Andy Carroll? The £35 million pound flop has had possibly three ok games this season all at the back end of the campaign. That would seem to have been enough to earn him a place in the squad. Carroll who possesses all the skill and grace of a donkey on rollerblades has edged out the consistent international performer Peter Crouch as England’s target man. His inclusion also sees the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Grant Holt, both of whom scored far more goals than the Liverpool striker this season, miss out on the tournament. Carroll, a greasy haired version of Emile Heskey, has been chosen by Hodgson to the derision of the nation and needs to start to show some form pretty quick.
Martin Kelly: The latest Liverpool addition to the squad in place of Gary Cahill. Kelly has been picked ahead of Micah Richards and Rio Ferdinand despite only playing 18 games in total this season, only 10 in the Premier League. Hodgson said Ferdinand was left out for not having played enough for England in the last year, which makes the inclusion of the untested and inexperienced Kelly seem inexplicable.
It would have been entirely possible that the only Liverpool representative in the England squad was Steven Gerrard and nobody would have argued. Liverpool had a pitiful league campaign and many of those in this England squad are largely responsible for the abject performances we saw during the last campaign. It would seem that such flops are good enough to represent their country this summer, which is a sad, sad state of affairs.