Roy Hodgson announced his 26 man squad for this summer's European Championships in France on Monday.
The squad will be trimmed to 23 on May 31, but there were some highly dubious selections made by the 68-year-old, particular his inclusion of midfielders Fabian Delph and Jack Wilshere, along with 18-year-old striker Marcus Rashford.
The goalkeepers and defenders largely selected themselves and despite only taking three centre backs, there were no surprise inclusions at the back.
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His midfielders of choice did, however, throw up a few mild surprises with in-form Newcastle United winger Andros Townsend making the cut after being left out of the last few England squads.
Jack Wilshere was also included despite only playing two games all season following a ten month injury layoff. The Arsenal midfielder has started only once this campaign and has made the cut purely on reputation and Hodgson's deluded affection for him.
The England manager was at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday to observe Wilshere, and as long as he was fit, he was never going to miss out on selection.
The 24-year-old is obviously a talented player. but he is coming off a serious injury and has not earned his place on the plane to France in any way or form. Six career league goals and more than two full seasons missed with injuries since his debut in 2008 should not inspire the kind of confidence Hodgson seems to have in him and he should not be in this squad, its as simple as that.
For a man who is meant to be a creative influence, one statistic sheds a huge amount of light on his drastically underwhelming production. In the first 16 games of Cesc Fabregas' return to the Premier League in the 2014/15 season, he totalled 12 assists; that equates to the total number of assists the much heralded Wilshere has had in his entire career.
Wilshere has done nothing to deserve his place in this squad especially in the deeper lying role that he will be deployed in where a number of players are much more deserving of a chance, namely West Ham United skipper Mark Noble, who has been consistently outstanding all season long.
Noble is overlooked time after time by Hodgson and should count himself unlucky as a lot of other managers who select on form, rather than on their own personal deluded favouritism, would not hesitate to select such a reliable, hard-working player who's own quality on the ball is hugely underrated.
For those who will protest wildly at the thought of Noble in an England shirt, the 29-year-old netted seven goals and provided four assists this season in the Premier League, all whilst playing a deeper midfield role. When compared to the central players in the Euro squad, in key statistics, Noble is arguably the best across the board.
Only Ross Barkley (eight) has scored more than Noble's seven goals, he has the highest pass percentage at 86% along with Eric Dier and Fabian Delph, though he played 20 more games than Delph and made over 1000 more passes, whilst only nine players in the league made more successful passes than the Hammers captain.
Noble had 83 interceptions this season, which is more than any of England's midfield players and only Barkley, James Milner and Danny Drinkwater boast more assists than him, and as two of those men play much more attacking roles, that is hardly surprising.
Of course, nobody is suggesting Noble should undoubtedly be England's starting midfield general, but he certainly deserves a shot to prove himself to the doubters. Eric Dier is the best holding midfield player in the squad and it would be a shame to see him miss out on a starting gig in favour of Wilshere.
Fabian Delph is another man who's place could arguably have gone to Noble after an underwhelming season with Manchester City, where he has struggled to see first team action and has also missed chunks of the season with injuries.
Just eight league games started all season and two goals does not warrant selection in this squad and Hodgson would have been better served going with West Ham's talismanic captain or another central defender in his place.
The selection of Marcus Rashford as the fifth striker in the squad is hugely puzzling to say the least. The teenager burst onto the scene this year, scoring seven goals in 16 appearances in all competitions, to help a Manchester United side struggling for goals.
However, good his performances have been, Rashford is just too raw and may find himself out of his depth this summer if he even gets a chance to play. The puzzling element of this selection is not so much his lack of quality or production as a player, but more the fact that he is so similar in playing style to the other forwards in the squad.
Rashford doesn't offer anything that Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy do not already have covered. He is quick, energetic and has excellent feet whilst being a calm finisher from inside the 18 yard box, as are Sturridge and Vardy who are both superior players to the young United man.
Surely if Hodgson wanted a fifth striker he should have looked to diversify his options up top by selecting Andy Carroll as an impact player? Neither Rashford or Carroll would be likely to start a game but coming off the bench there is no doubt which player would instil more fear in opponents and have the bigger impact.
Carroll would allow England to change their game plan if they are required to do so by stoic defences and few central defenders in Europe have the ability to deal with his physicality and aerial ability. Rashford is certainly one for the future but here and now there are better alternatives to help England's cause this summer and Hodgson has missed a trick here.
Whilst Delph and Rashford may well find themselves surplus to requirement when the squad is whittled down to 23 at the end of the month, Wilshere is almost certain to be in the starting XI in France if he remains fit, and that is travesty to some.
He is not such an influential player that he demands inclusion at his earliest availability, and, despite his talent he just does not produce results on the pitch on a consistent enough basis to warrant the kind of blind faith Hodgson shows him.
Was Roy Hodgson wrong to name Jack Wilshere, Fabian Delph and Marcus Rashford in his squad? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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