Three Lions Who Deserved An England Call Up



International football is set to take centre stage for the second time already in 2014/2015 as managers prepare their team for another round of Euro 2016 qualifiers and friendlies. England are set to face Group E opponent Slovenia at Wembley on November 15th before facing Scotland two days later, with Roy Hodgson naming a 26-man squad which has already raised question marks. The realisation that England are not a major force on the international stage continues to ring prominently, with the current squad being miles behind the likes of Germany, Spain and Argentina in terms of quality and style of football. Although the likes of Calum Chambers, Luke Shaw and Ross Barkely potentially represent a positive future for the national team, there are three players who should feel disappointed at being left out over others who barely merit their call-up. England are strong favourites to maintain their 100% record in the European Qualifiers against Slovenia, but could be severely tested by a resurgent Scotland side who have shown considerable promise under Gordon Strachan.

Harry Kane

Any striker who manages to score nine goals in as many games for their domestic club should really be considered for a national team call-up. The England Under 21 star Harry Kane has made it impossible for Mauricio Pochettino to leave him on the bench as he started his first Premier League game of the season against Stoke this Sunday after stellar performances in the Europa League and Capital One Cup. The 21-year-old may not be the stylish player on the eye, but he has shown a wonderful knack for getting in the right positions and scoring from anywhere in and around the 18 yard box, Comparisons with Alan Shearer may be a bit premature, but Kane would have been an ideal pick in Hodgson’s squad as a striker in a rich vein of form that could offer something. However, Hodgson has once again selected 32-year-old Rickie Lambert who has not only barely featured for Liverpool following his summer move from Southampton, but also demonstrated in their marathon Capital One Cup victory on penalties against Middlesbrough that he looks a complete shadow of the player who has performed so well over the past two seasons.

Curtis Davies

Failing to defend properly at international level is a recipe for disaster, with any individual error, lack of shape or quality at the back instantly pounced upon and punished by conceding goals. John Terry and Ashley Cole’s retirement from international football has left England seriously short of top quality defenders – something which the Three Lions may get away with in a relatively easy European Qualifying group, but, as proven at the World Cup in Brazil, will get found out when they face top quality opposition. Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka have established a solid partnership at the heart of the defence, but there was more than enough of a shout for Hull City centre-back Curtis Davies to be included in the squad. The 29-year-old has been in excellent form for Steve Bruce’s side this season, showing leadership and commanding qualities that England currently lack. Giving him a chance against Scotland would be the very least Davies deserves, yet Hodgson opted for Chris Smalling who has looked far from assured for Manchester United this season. The 24-year-old compounded his early season struggles by stupidly getting sent off in the Manchester derby for two bookable offences – the first for senselessly trying to block Joe Hart’s attempted kick out from his hands – and putting his team-mates under serious pressure in a game they went on to lose. Louis Van Gaal made the point of saying that his team must not go down to ten men during the pre-match build-up, yet Smalling’s misdemeanours did not perturb Hodgson from making him a surprise inclusion ahead of the likes of Davies and Ryan Shawcross.

Charlie Austin

The strongest criticism of Hodgson’s squad selection was caused by the inclusion of Theo Walcott, who has played just ten minutes of football since returning from a ten month injury lay-off. It seems amazing that a player who has only just returned from a serious injury should just walk straight back into the England team, while players like Charlie Austin continue to miss out. While Queens Park Rangers may be struggling in the Premier League, their leading marksman has been in excellent form, with five goals in nine games, including a brace against Aston Villa, a goal at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea and a strike against champions Man City, illustrating just how deadly he is in front of goal. It would be a fairy tale story for the 25-year-old to earn his first England cap following a meteoric rise from non-league football, but a call-up would be fully merited.


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