One major positive we can always find in major tournaments is the unity the country shows; except this year, despite the negative and important outcome, we seem somewhat optimistic.
Roy Hodgson's choice regarding the England team was always going to split us as a nation in half, leave a lot of discussion and questions answered if it didn't work; which it didn't. Roy decided to take Sterling and Barkley, and rightly so; the world cup debutants were picked not just for their promising age, but the two have become Premier League stars in the 2013/14 campaign and were picked for their ability and professionalism. The decision took no one by shock. The Everton and Liverpool players were positive and looked bright when they featured; but the experience of featuring will prove pivotal in Russia 2018, I am sure.
The decision regarding Rickie Lambert's call-up pleased many, including myself; the Saints forward has become a Premier League striker to be feared; but not for long. At 32 Rickie Lambert's performances were worthy of the call-up, without a doubt, but Rickie doesn't posses bags of experience to guide youngsters, and he was hardly used during the important games versus Italy and Uruguay.
So despite his quality season, he was almost worthless. In such a tough group, which so many of us feared the already decided outcome I wish Roy took a more youthful squad who stand a greater chance in four years time. Rickie, for example, hardly featured in the tournaments opening games and he won't play in Russia; yes his talents are unquestionable, and his season made him totally acceptable for a call-up, but why not Andy Carroll or Wickham who will be of age and time for Russia could of used Rio as the perfect assistance for future tournaments.
Lampard was also given the nod by Roy, but didn't feature. Whilst his experience and 105 caps would of played a positive aspect on Barkley, Sterling and Shaw it could of been utilised so much better on Flannagan, Wickham, Stones, Redmond, Ward-Prowse and Berahino; just a few names who's potential will more than likely take them to Russia, if they continue positively, but the experience of a World Cup could have been so important on these youngsters.
I'm sure the country would of taken pride in taking a younger squad; at least then we can take a positive in the experience gained. The group was always a big ask, for the squad we took or could of taken.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU