Three new faces in the England team but do they deserve it?

September 11, 2012 in International

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Yesterday, Roy Hodgson announced that Raheem Sterling (17), Adam Lallana (24) and Jake Livermore (22) had been added to the England squad to face Ukraine today. Yes, it is good that three young players have been added to the squad, but it does raise questions about whether they deserve their places or not.

There is no doubt that Sterling has a lot of potential. He has looked good for Liverpool in the opening few matches; lightning fast, good on the ball, solid work rate. But is he really a better option than Scott Sinclair or Nathan Dyer? Both are players who have more experience, and are the same type of player as Sterling. Sinclair, notably, represented Team GB in the Olympics and scored a goal in the process, while Dyer impressed for Swansea last season and has made a great start this season under new manager Michael Laudrup. I am all for giving young players a try, don’t get me wrong, but I really don’t feel that Sterling deserves his call up - three good games shouldn’t warrant an England squad place. Where is Adam Johnson in this squad? He is the best option we currently have on the wing and is certainly better than James Milner, who Hodgson seems to love. Sterling should be nowhere near the England team.

The same can be said for Adam Lallana. I have seen him play - he is decent. He cuts inside, he can cross, he can shoot. He has helped Southampton gain promotion from League One back to the Premier League. But he only has three Premier League starts to his name, and he hasn’t really done anything in those three games. You might as well give a game to West Ham’s Mark Noble or Reading’s Danny Guthrie, as the latter has scored this season.

Then we come to Jake Livermore. Oh dear. I know Tottenham fans who don’t rate him. He has made little impact on the Spurs team, making most of his appearances from the bench, and yet, he is in the squad again. I know we have injuries in midfield, but is he really our best back-up player? What does that say about our midfield in the future? You know things are bad when Michael Carrick is touted by the media as England’s game changer. He is 31 and can pass the ball sideways. He is Gareth Barry Mark II - remember when he was lauded as England’s hero? Same with Owen Hargreaves. It really shows just how lacking in the middle we really are. Tom Cleverley is a new face who is also being talked up in the papers. One good game against what is effectively a League Two team in Moldova, and suddenly, he is a key player. He is another who is vastly overrated. Send him to Sunderland for a season and I bet he struggles. It is all well and good when you are surrounded by world class players, but play with the likes of John O’Shea, and let’s see just how well he does.

It is interesting to see just how quickly players are forgotten about when they are missing for a few games. Ashley Young was dire in the European Championship, but is still one of our best players, be it out wide or as the central attacking midfielder. His absence, though, meant that he has basically been completely forgotten about while Cleverley takes the plaudits.

Far too many undeserving players get called up to the squad and then fall off the radar. While I don’t think this will happen to Sterling, I don’t think we will be seeing much more of Lallana and Livermore in international football. I hope they prove me wrong, but I doubt they will.