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Aleks Klosok has published 68 articles

Euro 2012: England's Known Unknowns

With England’s preliminary Euro 2012 squad set to be announced next Wednesday, Aleks Klosok runs the rule over 10 players with an outside chance of booking their seats on the plane to Poland and Ukraine
Aleks Klosok on Thursday 10th May 2012
Photograph: Evie Deavall

As the clock ticks down to the start of Euro 2012 and another England managerial era begins so too do the selection guessing games. Will Roy Hodgson’s mantra be out with the old and in with the new? Form over reputation? Or substance over style?

 

Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion)

Despite announcing his international retirement last May, the 29-year-old has played an integral role in ensuring that the West Midlands club sits comfortably in mid-table. Overlooked for England’s 2010 FIFA World Cup squad, his agility, command of the box and experience would make him a more than adequate back up to England No.1 Joe Hart.

 

Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)

This year’s PFA Young Player of the Year has benefited hugely from a sustained and successful spell in the first team under the guidance of Harry Redknapp. Defensively assured, the 21-year-old excels when in a forward position. He provides much needed width with his pace and directness and has a lethal right-footed shot in his locker.

 

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)

A tough tackling, no nonsense central defender known for his physicality and commitment, the ex-Manchester United player has been a pivotal figure for Tony Pulis’s team during the club’s four seasons in the Barclays Premier League. His growing maturity and leadership on the field was rewarded with the 24-year-old taking over the club captaincy last season.

 

Phil Jagielka (Everton)

Since his move from Sheffield United in 2007, the central defender has been a mainstay in the Everton backline alongside Sylvain Distin. With doubts cast over the futures of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, he’ll be hoping to rekindle his successful relationship with Joleon Lescott whom he partnered in defence in his debut season at Goodison Park.

 

Leon Britton (Swansea City)

An extremely tidy, reliable and skilful midfielder, up till January of this year he had a remarkable pass completion rate of 93.3% in the Barclays Premier League – better than any other midfielder in world football. The diminutive 29-year-old has linked up well with striker Danny Graham and has offered a creative outlet for the Welsh side.

 

Michael Carrick (Manchester United) 

Overshadowed in the media by fellow midfielders Paul Scholes and Antonio Valencia, the steady and assured Carrick has been an unsung hero for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side this season. Despite being overlooked by previous England managers, the 29-year-old should come under consideration to play alongside either Gareth Barry or Scott Parker in the holding midfield role.

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)

The winger-cum-attacking midfielder has risen to prominence this season with a series of impressive cameo appearances that have earned him plaudits from fans and pundits alike. The 18-year-old possesses blistering pace, physical tenacity and has an eye for goal. His fearlessness on the big stage and the “Unknown Quantity” tag could be the perfect tonic for England.

 

Scott Sinclair (Swansea City)

Energetic, tricky and direct, the 23-year-old is enjoying the best form of his life at the Liberty Stadium. The winger has represented the National Team from U17 upwards and his ability to cut infield thus drawing defenders out from their normal positions and freeing up more space for other players gives his game an added dimension.

 

Grant Holt (Norwich City)

The Canaries' talisman has performed well above expectation this season. Far from being a simple target man, the 31-year-old’s bulky physique, constant movement and aerial threat make him difficult to defend against. He’s the second top scoring Englishman in the Barclays Premier League this season and his lack of international football should not count against him.

 

Andy Carroll (Liverpool)

It has taken a little longer than expected but the Gateshead-born striker has been unplayable of late. His strengths lie in his ability to hold the ball up and bring others into the game as well as his heading talent. Whilst the long ball game is predictable, there’s no doubt that the 23-year-old is a game changer.

Twitter: @aleksklosok

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