by THE FLAT BACK FOUR TEAM
This evening has provided England fans with the first opportunity to examine Sam Allardyce as England manager, with the 61-year old announcing his first Three Lions squad that will face Slovakia next Sunday (September 4th).
The eye-catcher if you will, is the first international call up for Michail Antonio.
At 26, this could be more than just a one-time call up like we have seen in the past. However, the West Ham winger will need to prove he can make the jump to International football when his opportunity arises.
Another call up which could be a crowd pleaser up and down the country is that of Luke Shaw. It is the first time since his leg break last year that the left back has been involved in the national team. The 21-year old has been ever present in Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side this season.
Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere are the biggest names to be excluded from Allardyce’s squad, Jermain Defoe is also missing from the final 23, despite his excellent goalscoring figures for Sunderland.
Here is what our writers have had to say:
Macaulay Daley: “Big Sam has played it very safe, and I personally can’t pick too many major holes in his squad as a whole. The inclusion of Michail Antonio is fully justified, he’s been a terrific player for West Ham over the last year and deserves his first call-up at any England level. I am slightly surprised by the decision not to include Jermain Defoe, a player that Allardyce had at Sunderland last season. He might be getting on a little bit now, but he’s finding the net as regularly as he has done throughout the entirety of his career and can count himself very unlucky that he’s not in the plans of his former manager.”
Jack Prentice: “Overall it’s a squad picked on merit rather than reputation. Not that anything else was to be expected from Sam Allardyce a man who laughs in the face of previous reputations. He looks like he will pick players that prove themselves in the here and now, which many of the fans have wanted to see for a while. I’m a fan of the decision to include Michail Antonio, who as a winger, has looked very dangerous for West Ham despite their indifferent start to the season. Luke Shaw also deserves a chance following a solid return from that horrendous broken leg 11 months ago. Bigger tests will await Big Sam even if Slovakia proved the scourge of Roy Hodgson.”
Liam Richner: “Including Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge for me doesn’t show enough belief from Big Sam. Unlike the Tottenham and Liverpool strikers, Jermain Defoe has been scoring goals and looking dangerous going forward, so his exclusion shocks me. I also think Scott Dann can count himself unlucky. He is one of the country’s top centre backs and is a threat from set pieces which may appeal to the way Allardyce sets his team up. We will have to wait and see if this squad, most of which went to the Euros this summer, can step up to the plate after that humiliating defeat to Iceland.”
England Squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley).
Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Michail Antonio (West Ham United), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).
Strikers: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).