Right, just to distract myself a bit from Saturday, with Roy Hodgson announcing his England squad yesterday for the 2012 European Championship, I thought I’d take a look at the Chelsea contingent and what their inclusion in the squad might mean.
The obvious talking point initially was the selection of John Terry – clearly at the expense of Rio Ferdinand. Whatever may be going on privately, according to Guardian.co.uk Roy says this is a footballing decision so clearly he believes JT is the better option on those grounds. Yes, Rio has had a good season but aside from possibly 2 games, so has John Terry, what’s more JT has performed consistently – without being plagued by injuries – for years. He’s also more likely to withstand the tournament than Rio and for anyone who wants to argue that, Fergie said himself he didn’t think Rio could cope with a game every few days across the Euros.
Of course, with John Terry though, it’s always about more than just the football, it’s about presence. Whether for Chelsea or England, armband or not, he’s a leader on the pitch – I know there’s plenty out there who’d dispute that but that’s more to do with his personality than his character, and for me, that doesn’t warrant an England manager cutting his nose off to spite his face. So, what we can expect from JT in this tournament, is what we can expect from him in every tournament, he’ll give absolutely everything he’s got and he’ll be pushing everyone around him to give exactly the same.
Of course, another reason John Terry may have been the preferred centre-back could have been to do with the inclusion of Gary Cahill. They’ve started to develop a good understanding at Chelsea and the much more mobile Cahill’s style suits John Terry’s game. If we ever needed evidence of what this partnership is capable of, we don’t need to look any further than the first leg against Barcelona in this season’s Champions League and as long as Terry doesn’t rough anyone up, we should have a formidable pairing for England.
England’s defence being dominated by Chelsea, of course, it stands to reason Ashley Cole has been selected to take up his left-back position. That one was a no-brainer anyway. He consistently performs for his country, and his recent form against the ‘best team in the world’ could easily see him walk into Barcelona’s back four, nevermind England’s.
Probably the bigger surprise for me was Frank Lampard. Not because there’s anything wrong with having him in the England side because there’s not. For all the slating he takes – and if I’m honest, he isn’t the same Frank Lampard for England as he is for Chelsea (largely due to what he has to play with) – he’s always as committed as they come. Who else would take the sort of barracking he does and still feel proud every time he pulls on the shirt to represent them? No, the surprise for me was him being picked when Steven Gerrard is captain. I mean, what’s the point? It’s not as if we haven’t seen what happens when they share a pitch and since Gerrard is captain, you’d assume he’ll be getting a game, so it’ll be interesting to see Roy’s plans for Frank in the set-up really.
Finally, the ‘standby’ Daniel Sturridge. It’s a shame really because he showed so much promise earlier in the season but has been a source of frustration of late – something Hodgson obviously paid attention to before shoving him in the queue marked ‘back-up’. I guess we’ll wait and see what happens, maybe Carroll will come a cropper with a hairdryer and he’ll sneak in?
Whatever happens, the Chelsea contingent – and England – will have my support even if they have no-one else’s.