Much anticipation today as Roy Hodgson announced the 23 names that are to grace the Polish/Ukranian turf this summer. I'm surprised to see negative feedback about his selections - especially as the criticism is based around a lack of surprises. To me, "surprises" in this context tend to mean that a player who should be there on merit , in fact, misses out - so I am more than happy for the squad to be surprise free.
And I feel it is a strong squad. Keeper wise looks fine. I hope Ruddy acts as first back-up to Hart; as I don't rate Green...but generally we only need the one keeper, barring disaster (n.b. first kiss-of-death soundly delivered).
The defence was always going to be about Terry & Ferdinand. Personally I'd have preferred Hodgson to take neither. I think Ferdinand is now a bit past it; and the risk with picking Terry is that were we to do the unthinkable and win, and then find that Terry is subsequently charged with racial abuse/aggravation, then we'll look like chumps. That said though, the chances of both those things happening is probably so unlikely that Hodgson chose to take the gamble. On footballing merit alone, its probably worth taking him - lets just hope there's no politics or trouser-based escapades from him that ruin the dressing room spirit.
In midfield I think we have a really strong unit. Between Lamps, Gerrard, Barry and Parker we've got the middle pretty solid; and I really rate the ability of Young, Downing, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain to make the necessary impact. All are dangerous, if occasionally patchy...but that's what substitutes are for, so we can switch them around as necessary.
Likewise up front, I like the variety we have. Welbeck is the generalist, Rooney can be suspended and then get suspended, Defoe can poach goals and Caroll can look big and clumsy - exactly the variation to scare teams and keep the tabloids full.
I'm glad also that Hodgson named just the 23 players, rather than a bloated squad that later gets trimmed. Unlike any other national team squads, this list should be free from the usual wilting that occurs.
So - a thumbs up from me. Hodgson has been pretty decisive, has avoided doing anything stupid, and is taking 23 player - none of whom can be considered a gamble; England is in safe hands!