Although I can understand why Roy Hodgson has called up the experienced players for the World Cup Qualifiers, I do feel sorry for some of the players in the Premier League who had a good season last year and have started this season of well too.
Players like Nathan Dyer spring to mind. He had a great season last year, and if he was playing for one of the bigger sides he would surely have gotten a call up. And as for this season he has started off with a bang. So it surprises me a little that Hodgson, although leaving out Young, has kept Walcott in the squad and even Adam Johnson. I like Johnson a lot and have always been impressed with him when he plays, whether that was for City or England. I was also surprised that Lennon hasn’t been called up, as he has had a good start with Tottenham and has looked bright. In a game against Moldova someone with his pace and fast feet would cause them problems and create chances for the striker, whoever they would be.
That brings me to my next point and that is of the strikers picked. I was impressed with Andy Carroll when he has played for England, his potential is still there for people to see, but when he isn’t being played should he be picked over the likes of Darren Bent? Bent hasn’t been called up, but Daniel Sturridge, who looks like he will struggle to find playing time at Chelsea at the moment, has been called up. Defoe for me was a shoe-in and I would be astonished if he doesn’t start for England in both games. Last season England’s best goal scorer in the Premiership was Wayne Rooney and second was Grant Holt with 15 and then Danny Graham with 12. Even though they managed to grab the goals, they didn’t receive any call ups. I would hope that if one of them is able to do the same or better this season then they would at least get a call up to see how they would fit into the squad.
It just seems a shame that players don’t get picked for England, it seems, unless they are playing for a big club. I can’t help but think that this plays a part in the English players’ minds when it comes to transfers. As well as winning trophies and the bigger wages do too, but with Scott Sinclair seemingly on his was to Manchester City, where I cant imagine he will play more than what Adam Johnson did, if he puts in a few good performances and off the same calibre as he did at Swansea, will we see a England call up? If that did happen and Dyer, who looks to be in line for more games than Sinclair, didn’t get a call up, surely it would play on his mind to make a move to a bigger club, play less earn more and get called up to the national side. I know it would cross my mind.
I know it has been like this for a long time, but surely it has to stop at some point. Players can only improve with more game time. It shouldn’t matter at where they are playing as long as they are playing in one of the top leagues in the world where they are going to be facing the likes of Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea. If they perform well against those clubs, then they could perform at a higher level.
At the Euro’s Downing was taken instead of the likes of Dyer or Sinclair, and I don’t blame Hodgson as he didn’t have that much time to pick and choose his squad, but he had been managing all that season and must have seen that those players deserved a chance. If you looked at the stats and picked a team on merit then I don’t see why Matt Jarvis was not also called up. He may have picked up a cap, but coming on for 20 minutes doesn’t really give you a chance to show what you can do at the top level. Jarvis’ qualities are clear to be seen. He likes to run at players and can cross a ball. If you are not looking for someone to cross the ball, then fine. But when you pick Downing to supply Carroll over Jarvis, I just don’t think that is right.
And that seems to be the problem, getting the right people to do the right job. When people talk about England needing a player in midfield that can keep the ball they talked about Carrick ignoring what Leon Britton was doing at Swansea. If Britton moved to a top 6 club and did exactly the same job he would be called up. Has Cleverley at United really done more than Britton to deserve a call up? Lescott has become an England regular since his move to City. He may have been called up before, but he was not a starter. He was in a team that played against the same players as Jagielka, but the team he played for finished higher and won trophies, but does that mean he performed better than Jagielka? Has Cole out performed Baines all season? Has Terry really done better than Cahill? Why call up Ryan Bertrand but not Dyer? Has he really done that much better than the Swansea player? There have been a lot of players that I haven’t mentioned and that is not because I don’t think they deserve a change at international level, but merely because I didn’t get round to them. Steven Taylor at Newcastle is one of them.
There has to come a time when things start to change. I was glad that Hodgson gave the chances to Butland, Caulker and Livermore against Italy but I want to see more of that against Moldova and especially when they face San Marino. England will face tougher opposition when they face Montenegro, Ukraine and Poland but with 4 games against San Marino and Moldova surely they are excellent chances for the untested but capable players from the smaller clubs to show the England manager what they can do at the international level