Carroll, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones & the England players looking to force their way into Hodgson's plans

With starting places up for grabs for Euro 2012, we look at five players who may be able to make their way into the first-team picture under the new Three Lions boss
By Matt Scott

Roy Hodgson may have picked his 23-man England squad to travel to Euro 2012, but there are several areas of the team yet to be decided.

Places are up for grabs in the Three Lions' XI with the tournament in Ukraine and Poland now around the corner and just two warm-up friendly matches to go.
looks at five players with a point to prove and the ability to force their way into Hodgson's thoughts for the opening game against France.


Derided for much of the campaign at Liverpool, Carroll found form at just the right time to propel the Reds to an FA Cup final and himself into the national squad for the European Championships.

The former Newcastle man's strengths are not subtle but they are mightily effective, as John Terry found out when the big striker was introduced in the Wembley showpiece between Liverpool and Chelsea. If England want to play with one man up front to act as a pivot for the likes of Theo Walcott, Steven Gerrard and, eventually, Wayne Rooney to work off, Carroll is likely to be the best bet.

The big Tynesider also showcased his ability to find the net himself with strikes in the FA Cup semi-final and final, as well as a confidence-boosting late winner at Blackburn Rovers in April.

With options thin on the ground in attacking areas, Euro 2012 could be the perfect platform for Carroll to demonstrate his truly destructive abilities.


Micah Richards' exclusion from the squad left many scratching their heads, but Hodgson claims not to need the Manchester City man if he has Jones in his ranks.

Versatility is the Manchester United man's key strength. Naturally a central defender, he can move to right-back to cover first-choice Glen Johnson if needed and could even do a job in midfield, combining his strength in the tackle with a marauding tendency that can prove dangerous in attack.

With Johnson missing training on Thursday, Jones may get his chance at right-back in pre-tournament friendlies against Norway and Belgium. Good performances in either could see him nail down a starting spot for Euro 2012 and beyond.

A box-to-box midfield slot may also open up with the Three Lions needing someone to shuttle the ball between destroyer, Scott Parker, and the attacking threats further up-field.


In an age of globally televised football there are not many surprises to be sprung at international football anymore, but not many will know the full strengths of Oxlade-Chamberlain, including Hodgson himself.

Many have drawn comparisons between Chamberlain and Arsenal team-mate Walcott's inclusion at the 2006 World Cup but a more accurate reflection is found in Rooney's place at Euro 2004. While Walcott was unknown, Rooney, and now Oxlade-Chamberlain, had thrilled at the highest domestic level already.

A place on the flanks is likely for the former Southampton man, but as he showed against AC Milan, Oxlade-Chamberlain is just as proficient in the centre where his surging pace and intelligent passing can be used to slice through teams attempting to pack the midfield.

With sides knowing little about him, and little in the way of how to stop him, Oxlade-Chamberlain could be England's joker in the pack as they seek results later in the tournament.


A favourite of Fabio Capello, Barry is now less assured of his place in the side under the new manager thanks to Parker's emergence.

The Tottenham man has shaken off an Achilles injury and will most likely be deployed as England's holding midfielder, if Hodgson decides to play a second, the cool head, excellent positioning and efficient possession retention of Barry will be appealing.

Hodgson may be wary to come across too defensive with neither Barry or Parker offering much in attacking impetus, if Barry can become a touch more expansive in the pre-Euro 2012 warm-ups, he may find himself slotting nicely back into the Three Lions' engine room.

While he may not be the most enthralling option, Barry can provide the experience and crucial calm needed to execute a game-plan and progress when the chips are down in tournament football.


Arguably the finest English centre-back in the Premier League last season, Lescott formed a watertight partnership with Vincent Kompany at Manchester City and, alongside former Everton partner Phil Jagielka, shut out Spain as England beat the world champions at Wembley.

Former Three Lions skipper John Terry's inclusion hints that he will be installed as first-choice central defender with one of Lescott or Gary Cahill set to partner him.

Cahill has done well with Terry for England previously and the two are now club-mates at Chelsea who have just enjoyed a tremendous end to the season - but may be too similar at international level.

Lescott's added pace and ball-playing ability may see him sneak a spot ahead of the former Bolton man, with England requiring a solid partnership if they are to stop the goals going in at the wrong end in Poland and Ukraine.

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