Euro 2012: Hodgson finalizes England squad
Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson has included Danny Welbeck and Glen Johnson in England’s final Euro 2012 squad despite the injury concerns surrounding the duo.
Welbeck picked up an ankle injury in the Manchester derby on 30 April 2012 following a speculative challenge from City midfielder Nigel de Jong.
The Dutch defensive midfielder has become notorious for his reckless play on the pitch. In 2010, the former Ajax star broke the legs of Stuart Holden and Hatem Ben Arfa.
Throw in the Dutchman’s karate kick on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final and you’ve summed up De Jong’s game in a nutshell.
Welbeck enjoyed his best season in professional football for the Red Devils in 2011-12, bagging nine goals and four assists in 30 English Premier League appearances.
Furthermore, the 22-year-old Manchester-born striker tallied two goals in two UEFA Champions League games for United, while also netting two goals in the European Under-21 Championship.
Now then, onto Glen Johnson. The Liverpool right back has been bothered by an infected toe in recent days.
However, the toe injury won’t keep the Englishman out of this summer’s European Championships, which is definitely good news for England’s supporters.
Johnson registered one goal and three assists in 35 appearances for club and country in 2011-12, and is 66/1 to be the Three Lions’ top marksman at Euro 2012.
England’s 23-man Euro 2012 Squad:
Joe Hart, Robert Green, Jack Butland
Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Leighton Baines, Phil Jones, Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka
Steven Gerrard, Theo Walcott, Frank Lampard, Ashley Young, James Milner, Scott Parker, Stewart Downing, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Andy Carroll, Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Danny Welbeck
Euro 2012 Betting Odds: England
England are 1/2 to qualify from Group D and advance to the knockout stages of this summer’s competition.
In turn, the Three Lions are 17/10 to win Group D outright, with France given the same odds to top the group.
All things considered, I fancy Les Bleus to top Group D, with England advancing to the knockout stages after a second-place finish.
Not only are the French two-time European champions, but they have Karim Benzema, who missed the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, back in their side.
In addition, France have winger Franck Ribery at their disposal. The Bayern Munich play-maker is arguably the best player in Group D, and just recently ended his international goal drought against Iceland. That may just prove to be a lethal combination.
“It [scoring against Iceland] has done a lot of good for me and my loved ones,” said Ribery.
“It was becoming a weight on my shoulders and people were asking questions. At the same time, I am not a goalscorer, I like to make runs and good passes.
“But it did not surprise me because what I did [against Iceland], I had done for a whole year with Bayern and I just couldn’t understand why I failed to replicate this form with France.”
Which team will finish atop Group D in Euro 2012?