Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. Whenever you are reading this post, welcome. It is currently 10:25 on Monday 16 May 2016 and the England squad for EURO 2016 is due to be announced at 11:00.
I am sat here with a cup of tea and a pain au chocolat, getting myself in the mood for France 2016 early, whilst taking in a documentary on the Premier League Champions, Leicester City. It still doesn’t feel real.
Anyway, onto business. In 31 minutes now, Roy Hodgson will take to the press room at Wembley to announce his squad for the upcoming European Championships in France and what better way to mark the occasion with my first blog post for Severn Sport in a couple of months.
Catching up on the news this morning and my heart absolutely sinks to the bottom of my stomach. Andros Townsend has been slashed into 1/3 with some bookies and Coral have even suspended betting on him to make the squad. Why, Roy? Why?
This just highlights to me that Hodgson is clueless. What exactly does Townsend contribute to any team? Every time I’ve seen him play for Newcastle this season he has been non existent. He is the same for England – what I would call a ‘highlights player’.
Except the thing about that is, he very rarely has any highlights worth noting. Townsend is a Championship standard footballer who should be nowhere near the squad, but alas he will probably go to the EUROS. God help us…
Anticipation is building now as we are into the final 25 minutes before the squad announcement. This is possibly one of my favourite days to be an England fan. So many different possibilities but ultimately we all know what will happen.
We will hype ourselves up to no end before the tournament. Shouts of “it’s coming home!” will be heard in the streets prior to every game. Is it though?
Is this finally the year that football comes home? Not if Andros Townsend is in the squad, that’s for sure.
Less than 20 minutes to go and there are some rumours floating around that Luke Shaw is being placed on the standby list for the 23-man squad.
Please, for the love of the Queen Mother, don’t take Shaw. That would almost be as bad as taking Townsend. There is just no need to rush him back into the England setup after just coming back off injury.
Less than five minutes to go now and I am like a kid at Christmas. Come on, Roy, do the right thing and leave Townsend at home and take Jermaine Defoe. Don’t waste a place on an average Championship level player, instead use it on a proven goalscorer at both domestic and international level.
Please don’t be true. ‘Confirmed’ reports that Townsend has made it. Please, please, please. I will give anything for that to be a lie.
Nope. I can’t do it anymore. This must be a nightmare. Andros Townsend is in the squad. Let me just take a moment to take that in and I shall continue. Meanwhile, here is the squad.
Okay, so I’ve had a moment to think about it and it isn’t that bad on the face of things. It is pretty much as I expected it to be but the only surprises in there are Marcus Rashford and Fabian Delph.
What exactly has Delph done this season for Man City? I’ll tell you what: nothing.
Rashford is definitely a difficult one though. He has bags of potential but do you take him just for the experience and bring him on when we’re 7-0 up against Wales in the group stage, or leave him at home? If it’s the latter, then what’s the point of naming him in the first place.
That makes me think that no matter what, Rashford will make the final 23.
Looking at it again for the fourth time, this squad has so much potential. The youngsters in this team have bags of ability already it’s frightening.
What do we do now though? Give them their wings, take the pressure off and see where it takes us? Or pile the expectation onto their young shoulders and expect them to go all the way?
Having looked at it once more, there are only three centre backs in the squad – four if you count Eric Dier as a utility player. There will be plenty of people who will knock John Stones who has been hyped up for years now and hasn’t really performed this season.
But let’s stop knocking the kid. He’s got it all. He’s got the defensive ability, he’s a ball-playing centre back (something we haven’t had with England since Rio Ferdinand) and will be a top England player.
My final thoughts then are this:
Point 1 – The team basically picks itself.
Clyne, Smalling, Cahill, Rose,
Dier, Wilshere, Alli,
Point 2 – How on Earth has Delph made the provisional squad?
Point 3 – How on Earth has Townsend made the provisional squad?
Point 4 – Stop knocking Jack Wilshere. His England form is superb. If he’s fit he’ll go, if not, he won’t. It’s the provisional 26-man squad, not the final 23.
Point 5 – This is the most excited I’ve been for an international tournament for a long time. Football’s coming home, lads!
Kelsey De Maria
What are your thoughts on the England squad? Let us know below or tweet us @SevernSport.