Rating Roy's boys

Merse runs the rule over England's 23-man squad

Last Updated: 17/05/12 8:31am

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Roy Hodgson has named the 23 men that will carry England's hopes at Euro 2012 - but has he got it right?

That's the question we posed to Sky Sports expert and former England international Paul Merson after the squad was announced.

Merse has run the rule over all of the players and given his verdicts on whether or not they deserve to go to Poland and the Ukraine this summer.

You can check out his thoughts below and share your own views in the comments box at the bottom of the page...


The best goalkeeper in the world in my opinion. I think that says it all. He's come a long way since he went out on loan a few years ago.

He's done well this season. People might say he's playing in the Championship, but he's playing for a high-pressure team in West Ham. I'd have no worries about him at all if he's called upon.

Paul Robinson and Ben Foster have retired, so we don't have a lot of goalkeepers. I'm pleased for the lad. I had him on loan at Walsall when he was a young kid and it shows what you can achieve if you work hard and have some belief. He's a good goalkeeper.


We're blessed with right-backs in England, but I think Micah Richards is very unlucky to be left out. I say that because he can play centre-half as well, whereas Johnson can only play right-back. When you go to competitions I say you should take someone who can play both positions.

I think he's going because he can play in three positions - right-back, centre-half and as a holding midfield player. I don't think he's great and I don't think he's really done anything at Man United this season if I'm being honest, but I always thought he'd be a cert because he can play in so many positions.

I didn't see both John Terry and Rio Ferdinand missing out, one of them was always going to go, and as soon as we heard Rio wasn't going I knew Terry was a cert. I know he let Chelsea down against Barcelona, but it's very rare he lets the team down. He lets himself down sometimes, but not the team.

He's a decent player and I think he's done well this season. To be honest I think he was more appreciated when he wasn't in the City team; he was an unsung hero and people didn't realise it until he got injured. I'm not sure if he'll start though.

Gary Cahill is quite quick, whereas Lescott and Terry are not blessed with major pace, so I think he'll play because of that. It's a big jump for him at international football - and in my opinion Rio Ferdinand should have gone. If I was a centre-forward for a top European team I'd rather see Cahill or Lescott on the team sheet than Ferdinand.

One of the best left-backs in world football. An obvious choice.

He hasn't let anybody down this season and I think he's been outstanding for Everton. He deserves to go the Euros. People talk about Kieran Gibbs, but I would take Baines all day long.


We still talk about the hat-trick he scored in Croatia! He hasn't played much towards the end of the season, but he's got plenty of pace and people would be asking questions if they didn't take him. He didn't go to the World Cup and I think that omission has improved him.

He's very lucky to be there, if I'm being honest. He plays for one of the top teams in the country and while they haven't done as well as they should have this year he still didn't score a Premier League goal. I don't care who you are, that's some going for an attacking player in an attacking football team. But there is a case because he's got a left foot and can give the team balance. You don't want to be playing right wingers on the left at international level.

My question is why didn't he play much for Arsenal this season? I like him and I think he's a very, very good player, but he's one player who might have missed out so we could take an extra forward. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan, but if he's not playing for Arsenal is he going to play for England? We've not a strong enough squad to take people on the trip for experience. If he isn't going to play, he shouldn't go.

For me he's the best player in England and it's right that he's captain. He should have been captain right back when John Terry got the armband because he's the best player. He's a must in the England team still and we haven't got any central midfielders better than him. He's world class.

In the last eight or nine games of Man City's season he's been absolutely outstanding and if you sat down with Roberto Mancini he would probably say the same. He's an unsung hero, he doesn't get a lot of mentions but if you ask the players he's probably one of the first names on the Man City team sheet.

He's a big-game player who scores goals. This is going to be a very tight tournament - there are no free games where you beat a team 4-0 like you get in the World Cup - and Frank Lampard will score goals for you if he gets a chance. That could be crucial.

He's another must for Roy Hodgson, as long as he's 100 per cent fit. I've always thought he was a top-drawer player, even when he was at Charlton many years ago, and I'm pleased he's getting recognised at international level. I'm a big fan.

He's a player who can put the ball on a sixpence from a free-kick or a cross and that's important in a tight tournament. He has been patchy for Man United this year, but he should have played in the derby at the Etihad Stadium. Things might have been different if he had.

I think he's quite lucky to get in. he can play in central midfield and on the wing, but we've got lots of wingers anyway and I'm not sure we needed another. He's versatile and he's been around for a while, but I think he's lucky to get in.


Of course he has to go, especially when you look at the other forwards. He carries that fear factor and he'll be fresh after missing the first two games. When he returns to the team against Ukraine, they'll be very worried about him.

He's got good movement and he has played under high pressure at Man United all season, but I think it shows we're not blessed with centre-forwards bar Rooney. No disrespect, but I don't think France will be scared of him - or any of the others.

I'm a bit surprised. He did well in the last month, but the pressure was off him because Liverpool weren't going anywhere. He was a bit timid in the first eight months, but recently he's been physical and hard to play against - but you can't do that at international level. Defenders will fall over to win free-kicks and frustrate him. Also, England aren't going to get a lot of chances at Euro 2012 and he needs a lot of chances to score a goal, which is the main problem.

I'm a massive fan of Jermain Defoe because he's a natural goalscorer. We've only got two natural goalscorers in England and I'm glad he's going because the other one - Darren Bent - isn't. We aren't going to get loads of chances and if he gets a chance he will score a goal.

We're very light on forwards and I think Darren Bent was very unlucky. England have two friendly games and I don't see why he couldn't have played in those. If he can prove he's fit then you know what you're going to get from him. You can put him on the bench and he can come on and get you back in a game. We've got a load of wingers, but not enough forwards.

I think Rio Ferdinand should have gone. He's world-class and on his day I don't see too many better centre-halves in world football than Rio. If he went to the Euros and we got three good games out of him I think that's enough. Phil Jagielka is also a bit unlucky because he's a very good centre-half and he can play in central midfield as well.

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