Southgate: Squad Selection
I woke up to an awful email yesterday! It was the injury headache list and there was a lot of players on this list.... OK here goes! Daniel Sturridge is out for 4 months with a chest injury, Leighton Baines is out for 4 months with an ankle injury, Vice Captain Jordan Henderson is out for 2 months with a damaged heel, Danny Welbeck is out for 4 months with a damaged knee cartlidge, Phil Jones is out for 2 months with a blood clot, Fabian Delph is out for 2 months with a pulled hamstring, Fraser Forster is out for 5 months with knee ligament issues, Ben Foster is out for 6 months due to cruciate ligaments injury and Ryan Bertrand is out for 2 months due to a damaged knee cap and Ross Barkley also out for 1 month after recovering from knee issues.
Henderson and Jones are both long term injuries
So as you can see I was hindered even before I started so although it may seem like I was picking with one hand tied behind my back but in reality it made my job easier as there was only two players in that list that I would have picked anyway and that was Henderson and Forster, who I see as my number 1 goalkeeper anyway.
So I got up and got dressed (I had to look smart as this was my moment to put my stamp on this country), I asked my wife Allison how I looked and she said that for once I looked good except my hair as usual was a mess. It was something that I got ripped for during my time at Aston Villa (well until I missed THAT penalty!) I got into the car that the F.A sent me (yes a taxi but this time they were good enough to pay the taxi fare!) I took the 25 minute drive to consider what to say when I got to the F.A and decided to just announce the squad and the reason why each player was in the squad, little did the media know that I was also dropping Joe Hart as my number 1 goalkeeper!
I arrived at headquarters and hastily walked into the conference room, sat down and felt a bit nervous, this wasn't the under 21 team announcement but the English A squad (or what I considered to be the A squad haha)
I was introduced to the media, god there was a lot of people there, usually in the Under 21 squad announcement there would be limited media but anyway I thought here goes.
Thanks everyone for attending today for the squad announcement for the European Championship Qualifying matches against San Marino and Slovenia, I will announce the Keepers first and briefly explain why they have been picked and then the same for the defenders, then the midfielders and then the strikers also.
So the three keepers I have picked are as follows: Joe Hart Man City, Alex McCarthy Crystal Palace and Jack Butland Stoke City.
Hart and Butland look to be contending for Number 1
I have picked Hart because he is always consistent and every side needs that experienced player to fall back on. McCarthy has been picked because I feel that he deserved his call up and recent performances have indicated that he is ready for a squad call up. Jack Butland however is a different class all together! I think this guy has all the attributes to lead England at some point in his career.
Next up then are the defenders, Joe Gomez and Nathanial Clyne from Liverpool, Aaron Cresswell from West Ham, Scott Dann from Crystal Palace, John Stones from Everton, Chris Smalling from Man Utd, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker from Tottenham and these were picked for different reasons.
Tottenham duo Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are called up
Take Stones, Smalling and Walker for example, they have been the best three defenders in the Premier League so far this season and Walker is my captain. Scott Dann has been a consistent performer and in my view should have had a call up at some point last season. Danny Rose and Joe Gomez for me are the two most deserving call ups because there effort and work rate is something I am especially looking for. Nathanial Clyne has his critics but I believe he offers something different to Kyle Walker and has the speed to unlock a defence and also knows how to cross a ball.
The midfielders I have named are as follows; Dele Alli, Ryan Mason and Eric Dier all Tottenham, Jordan Ibe and Adam Lallana from Liverpool, Danny Drinkwater from Leicester, Mark Noble from West Ham, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal and Raheem Stirling from Man City.
Lallana and Ibe(either side of Coutinho) called up to England Squad
For me this is the strongest midfield selection that I wanted to name. Jordan Ibe, Dele Alli and Danny Drinkwater are all relatively inexperienced but have performed so well that I COULDN'T ignore them and I believe they all have a shot at making the starting line up for both the qualifiers. Eric Dier and Ryan Mason have started the season off so strongly and deserve spots in the squad but media have slated Mason but I am telling you now he will be in future squads too! Mark Noble for me is one of the most reliable players in the Premier League over the last 5 or 6 seasons and I am a sucker for a Mr. Reliable and I feel that Noble is the guy. Raheem Stirling's selection speaks for itself and after the start he has had for Man City I expect him to be pushing for a start.
Finally I have named just three strikers and I have dropped Rooney completely, I have named Jamie Vardy from Leicester, Harry Kane from Tottenham and Andre Grey from Burnley.
Andre Grey is called up for the first time by Southgate
For me this was the hardest area to name strikers because there are so many injure but yet I still had so many options available to me. Vardy for me is a real stand out player and will feature for me heavily aslong as he keeps up the amazing form he has shown for Leicester, Harry Kane has unbelievable potential and if you give him the ball in the right place he WILL score you goals. Now you might slate me for naming a Championship striker in the squad in Andre Grey but if a player is in form why can he not step up, David Nugent did it before and scored at international level so I will just say that Grey WILL start both matches aslong as he stays injury free and you guys must remember that he moved to Burnley for over £6m!
That is the squad I have named and although it is a youthful squad I feel it is best equipped to get through both matches.