England: Rodwell and McCarthy indicate lean times

22May 2013



Ahead of England's upcoming friendly double-header with Ireland and Brazil, Christian Crowther discusses the merits or otherwise of the Three Lions squad...


Jack Rodwell has shown promise throughout his fledgling career, attracting many admirers while at Everton. In fact, the disposed champions of England, Manchester City, were so taken with the then 21-year-old midfielder that they spent £15 million of their finest sterling on him last summer.


Rodwell is a good player, but one who has already been badly afflicted with recurring injury problems at a tender age, restricting him to a meagre 15 appearances at the Etihad Stadium this season.


Now, after a further two-month period on the sidelines, he reminded everyone he is actually still playing by bagging a Premier League brace in the dead rubber against Norwich and has amazingly walked straight into the England squad.


Rodwell's inclusion does ring a few alarm bells about the current state of the England national team as the Man City man is not a direct replacement for anyone, he now just makes up the last member of a 23-man party.


The official line is that he's been brought along by Roy Hodgson to cover potential injury problems for Tom Cleverley of Manchester United, one of only six officially recognised midfielders. Such a statement exposes the obvious deficiencies in midfield, something replicated in defence as well.


Cleverley is not even a regular starter for the champions, neither is Alex Oxlade Chamberlain at Arsenal, leaving only Michael Carrick and James Milner as regular Premier League starters, with evergreen Frank Lampard making up the numbers. Admittedly, Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshere are injured but this is not a midfield brimming with world class talent.


The forwards situation is a deal rosier, with many good and contrasting options from Andy Carroll through to Wayne Rooney and the likes of Daniel Sturridge for a pacier choice. Similarly, the full-back berths are well covered at present with four really strong options from top clubs in Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines, Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker.


However, in central defence and in the goalkeeping position there is another dearth. Due to John Terry and Rio Ferdinand's latest states of international dormancy, Joleon Lescott, a bit-part player at City, becomes the most experienced of the four players who could operate in a partnership on 26 caps.


Phil Jones' utility is applaudable, though he seldom starts games for the champions at centre-back, leaving Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill.


On a parallel with the Rodwell call-up, it's surprising to see Reading keeper Alex McCarthy get a call-up after such a short time in the spotlight at the Madejski. With the Royals heading to the Championship, it begs the question whether there are enough good English keepers emerging at the top level?


Despite lying second to Montenegro in Group H, Hodgson's side are still the 1.6 favourites to win it.



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Keywords: England, Rodwell, McCarthy

Source: Betfair

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