With the squad to play the next two World Cup Qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro released on Thursday, football discussions have been dominated by the unlikely return of Rio Ferdinand and other experienced players to the side.
Of course the obvious place to start with this new England outfit is at the heart of defence, and the inclusion of 34-year-old Rio Ferdinand. Rio returns after a lengthy absence, off the back of the racism row between fellow national team-mates Ashley Cole and John Terry. And so now we can safely say that the result of this whole racism issue, from a purely footballing point of view, is that as a nation we have missed the services of a great centre-back in Ferdinand and have lost a captain in Terry.
Of course Terry deserves whatever comes his way, but he has managed to let the whole country down in his actions, by these effects on the national side. Although the absences have provided Gary Cahill and Joleon Lescott with some much needed first-team action, there is no doubt that, all-in-all the fallout has been devastating for the back four.
Another aspect of the selection to mention is the ages of the players. The average age stands at 27, admittedly roughly the perfect age for a team on the brink of entering a major competition, however with the World Cup still over a year away, this is the time to be blooding young Englishmen, not continuing with the unsuccessful players of the European Championships.
Even more worrying, is that many of the players who will be in the prime of their careers by the time of the World Cup (under the age of 30) will be significantly inexperienced in comparison to the old guard of England and the majority of other leading national sides. We can see the evidence for this as, of the 26 men in the squad, 16 will fall under the qualification of under the age of 30 by the World Cup, but they only have 21 caps between them on average, and this is boosted greatly by Wayne Rooney.
In comparison, those who will be over 30 by the World Cup have 46 caps on average. Of course it can be expected for older players to have played more, but the fact remains that the junior players have not been given a chance ahead of the old guard who will not be there, or at least at their best, to help England in Brazil next summer.
It is now the time to see the likes of Baines consistently play ahead of Cole.
Wilshere, Cleverley and Chamberlain should be granted central roles over Lampard, Parker, Gerrard and Carrick.
Finally Welbeck or Sturridge to partner Rooney instead of Defoe. And finally, above all, to pick two centre-backs that will be under the age of 30 next year and let them become accustomed to playing every game together.
There are those that say that this could be an incredibly risky tactic to take into games that go towards qualification, but we must look at the success stories of the likes of Spain, Argentina and possibly Belgium. Although the latter have had nearly no major success in recent years, and even failed to qualify for the Euros, they look to have one of the strongest national sides for the world cup, with 13 of their players having over 20 caps. Furthermore, these caps are evenly distributed, unlike those of England, and the players have developed alongside each other.
However Hodgson decides to set up his side, it could well be perceived that a good idea would be to begin to throw in young players to gain experience for the World Cup in Brazil before its too late.
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