The England squad picked based on statistics

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What does West Ham United captain Mark Noble have to do to get in the England squad, eh?

Scoring more than seven goals in three seasons would help. But some midfielders do not provide the team with goals, that's not their job.

It's not someone like Luka Modric's main role, but he does so much more. Both he and Noble may not get many direct assists, but they have often invariably provided the assist to the assist for the goal, which is just as important. And most teams would have Modric in their team. So why won't Roy Hodgson have Noble in his England side?


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It became clear this time last year that Noble - who was arguably in the form of his life at that point - was never going to be called up for his country when yet again he was not given the call by Hodgson.

Even though he deserves to be in the squad, when thoughts of who would be picked last Thursday, Noble did not even enter my head, such is the clarity that the England manager displays in not liking West Ham's skipper.

It's quality, not quantity, of course, but how can Dele Alli make the cut after just four Premier League starts, and Noble can't after impressing for most of his 236 appearances in England's top division? England have a problem keeping possession, and that is Noble's forte. So it's a no-brainer. 

It is instances like this that make me think that Hodgson and future England managers should change their approach when selecting their players.

According to the statistics from the EA Sports Player Performance Index, only Joe Hart, Jack Butland, Chris Smalling, Ross Barkley, James Milner, Jonjo Shelvey, Raheem Sterling, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy from the group set to face Estonia and Lithuania in the final games for the Euro 2016 qualifiers, would get into the squad solely based on those stats. 

Below is the team if it was on those merits:

Goalkeepers: Alex McCarthy, Joe Hart, Jack Butland

Defenders: Eric Dier, Scott Dann, Aaron Cresswell, Joel Ward, Craig Dawson, Kyle Walker, Simon Francis, Chris Smalling

Midfielders: Ross Barkley, Mark Noble, Nathan Redmond, James Milner, Jonjo Shelvey, Gareth Barry, Marc Albrighton, Daniel Drinkwater

Forwards: Jamie Vardy, Raheem Sterling, Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane

That's it, no room for Phil Jones who, bafflingly, was picked again. Hodgson left out injury-prone Daniel Sturridge in fear that the forward could succumb to yet another injury, so why not Jones, who is one of many of the 'Sicknote' brigade? Sturridge's exclusion was on the advice of Brendan Rodgers, but surely Manchester United would have been concerned enough to apply the same action to Jones.

I was going to say that the next time the England side meets up for the friendly games against Spain and France that Hodgson should follow these stats and pick whoever is in form. But he could have done this for the matches this coming week seeing as they have already qualified, although admittedly, it would be great for them to finish the group with a 100 per cent record.

It's the defence that looks the least recognisable when we apply the EA Sports performance levels to England selection. The personnel that have contributed to England's impressive Euro 2016 qualifying campaign have done well and have maybe built up good relationships and understandings with one another, including Gary Cahill, but he is woeful at the present time.

And who's to say that the new crop (the likes of Eric Dier, Scott Dann, Craig Dawson and Aaron Cresswell) wouldn't build up as good if not better partnerships. 

Dann has been one of the top performing defenders all season and should have been selected for the last England squad a month ago based on the stats. He is definitely more worthy of a call-up than Phil Jones, who even when he has played, has not impressed.

He comes back for a few minutes and Hodgson's picking him again. This is not Lionel Messi we're talking about - who is going to win you games on his own. Or in Jones' case, save games on his own.

If that is not favouritism then I don't know what is. Mark Noble knows what it is, and it's not for him. 

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Premier League
England Football
Phil Jones
Scott Dann
Mark Noble

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