It’s that time of year when football fans in 16 different countries around the continent are speculating about who will make their nation’s European Championships squad.
For supporters of England – and punters everywhere – predicting their line-up is a particularly tricky business given that nobody yet knows the identity of the man who will be picking the players.
For example, if Stuart Pearce is allowed to lead England to Euro 2012, that would surely increase the likelihood of Daniel Sturridge boarding the plane to Poland and Ukraine.
Sturridge made his professional debut under Pearce at Manchester City before England’s current caretaker boss handed the player his Under-21 debut for his country and his full senior international debut.
Sturridge is available at 4/5 (1.8) with Sportingbet to be named in the England squad for the European Championships and, considering his impessive campaign so far, that price could look very tempting at the end of the season.
Among the other odds-on candidates available at reasonable prices, Phil Jones stands out as an 8/15 (1.53) pick with Sportingbet.
The Manchester United man can operate at right-back, centre-back or in a defensive midfield role and that sort of versatility could be key with limited spots available in the squad.
Jones’ United team-mate, Danny Welbeck, would also appear a safe bet to make the squad, regardless of who the coach will be.
Welbeck has emerged as Sir Alex Ferguson’s first-choice partner for Wayne Rooney ahead of erstwhile bright young thing Javier Hernandez.
And yet, the 21-year-old is likely to be cast instead in the role of Rooney’s replacement for the opening two games of the tournament while England’s talisman serves his suspension.
Welbeck is a 4/9 (1.44) shot with Sportingbet to make the squad.
Rooney’s suspension may lead to England opting to select as many as five strikers in their squad and, with Darren Bent struggling to be fit by the end of the season, there are few obvious candidates.
The common consensus is that a target-man is needed. The source of disagreement is who that man should be.
If Harry Redknapp is appointed England boss, do not be surprised to see Peter Crouch in the squad. Redknapp has bought the player twice - but sold him three times! Crouch is 6/4 (2.5) with Sportingbet to make the squad.
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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on Twitter