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By George Hopkin on 16.5.2023

‘You’ve Made the Grade’: The 23 Players to Lead England into Euro 2012

Earlier today, the new England manager Roy Hodgson selected his 23-man squad to take to Ukraine and Poland for the 2012 European Championships.

The squad features some familiar names such as Chelsea captain John Terry, and his club teammates Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, and Manchester United top goalscorer Wayne Rooney – despite him having to miss the first two games of the upcoming tournament due to a standing international ban.

Hodgson has also announced that talismanic Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard will captain the side.

The ex-West Brom and Fulham tactician, on Gerrard’s appointment, said: ‘He merits this award, or this distinction.

‘He was delighted and I will be counting on him to help me to build the type of team unity and environment to help us thrive in an important tournament.’


Hodgson and Gerrard previously worked together at Liverpool FC in the 2010/11 season. Photograph: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

One of the other main characteristics of this new squad – apart from its core of experience – is its willingness to show exciting young and fresh talent.

Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy is one of three goalkeepers to be travelling with England over the summer – a completely new name in the fold. Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – who at 18 years of age is the youngest member of the squad – is another outside candidate who sees a call-up for his breakthrough performances in a Gunners shirt this season.

Manchester City title-winning champions goalkeeper Joe Hart and stalwart defender Joleon Lescott also are expectedly called up. The two players have had stand-out seasons in the Premier League this year, culminating in their club’s title win on Sunday against QPR at the Etihad Stadium.

The Citizens likewise see defensive midfielder Gareth Barry and utility player James Milner in the squad, giving them a strong representation with four players.


Joe Hart’s phenomenal season in Manchester City colours makes him the favourite to be England’s number one goalkeeper. Photograph: Getty Images.

The group even features a Championship division footballer, with West Ham United shot-stopper and previous cap-winner Rob Green being chosen by Hodgson to complement the England ranks.

Tottenham Hotspur forward Jermain Defoe makes the team with midfield general Scott Parker – the last man to be the official England captain – joining him on the list of the 23 players. PFA Young Player of the Season Kyle Walker seems to have missed out through an injury obtained in Spurs’ last game of the league season against Fulham.

The squad is strengthened with defenders of the likes of Chelsea’s Gary Cahill, Everton’s Leighton Baines, and Liverpool’s Glen Johnson – with Manchester United’s young blocker Phil Jones making the cut too.

The midfield sees wingers such as Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, Manchester United’s Ashley Young, and Liverpool’s Stuart Downing picked. These are players that are not unfamiliar names when it comes to the international stage, and will be determined to push for a name on Roy Hodgson’s first competitive team-sheet.

Young strikers Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck, of Liverpool and Manchester United respectively, will also be delighted to find themselves on the way to Ukraine and Poland. Both will be eager to make an impression on their new coach and compete for starting places in the team.

The most notable players to be neglected are veteran internationals Rio Ferdinand and Peter Crouch. Micah Richards, Michael Carrick, and Aaron Lennon are names that are likewise missed out on the list.


Hodgson will be looking to confound his critics and lead England through a successful Euro 2012 campaign. Photograph: Pool/Getty Images

On assembling the team, the England boss confessed that ‘it hasn’t been an easy squad to put together and has taken a lot of thought and occupied a lot of my thinking time.

‘But I am very pleased with the result’, the manager said. ‘It is a well-balanced squad and takes into account that a lot of players in the squad have helped England qualify for this tournament and deserve a chance in it.

‘I have also added one or two players who are new and may turn out to be very important players going forward.’

The squad’s first opportunity to work together will come in the lead-up to the friendly that England will be playing against Norway, in Oslo, on Saturday the 26th of May.

England will then face Belgium in a warm-up game at Wembley Stadium on the 2nd of June before they head off to start intense preparation for the upcoming tournament.

Hodgson and the new squad’s first match competitive game will be in Donetsk, Ukraine against historic rivals France on Monday the 11th of June.

The Full Squad:

GK – Hart, Green, Ruddy
DF – Baines, Cole, Johnson, Jones, Cahill, Lescott, Terry
MF –Downing, Walcott, Young, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Parker, Milner
ST – Carroll, Rooney, Welbeck, Defoe

Reserves: Jack Butland, Phil Jagielka, Jordan Henderson, Adam Johnson, Daniel Sturridge.

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