Alan Shearer had to retire from International duty to preserve his knee and prolong his Newcastle career. If he had not, then he would not be Newcastle’s all-time record goal scorer. Shearer required those extra, vital years of play to break Jackie Milburn’s long standing record. From Michael Owen to Tim Krul and Rob Eliot, Newcastle have suffered from players getting injured whilst ‘serving their country’ on international duty. For that reason, I’m fairly pleased that Andros Townsend and Paul Dummett are merely watching the EUROs on telly like the rest of us as opposed to playing in them.
For the men themselves I’m disappointed, because both of them should have made their respective squads and deserve to be there representing their club and countries. Of course Townsend’s future at Newcastle is uncertain, popular with fans following his form and commitment in the final weeks, Townsend will have plenty of suitors. He has a relegation transfer release clause too, allowing him to talk to clubs should they meet the agreed fee. But should he stay, he will no doubt physically benefit from a June holiday rather than training and playing for England.
The decision to leave him behind though could cost Roy Hodgson and England very dear indeed. Roy’s selection of just three centre halves and five strikers is quite baffling and, unfortunately for him, a complete give away of how he intends to play at the finals. His lack of width in the squad clearly outlines Hodgson’s plan to play one of two possible formations. Either two up top with a diamond midfield or a 4-3-3 with a narrow top three consisting of players who usually play centrally.
Both systems rely totally and unreservedly on the attacking width being provided by the full backs. This leaves the defence painfully vulnerable and exposed…just ask Roberto Martinez. It’s the system he tried so desperately to implement at Everton which saw them plummet down the table and cost him his employment.
Townsend also would have provided a goal threat in what is otherwise a shot-shy forward line. With the exception of Barkley and Alli, England’s midfielders are not keen on letting rip from outside the area. Townsend, as we have seen, can be deadly when cutting inside and striking at goal. England also lack a set-piece taker, a role Townsend could easily have took up. Are England seriously going to let Harry Kane take free-kicks from wide of the area, as he did against Portugal?
Several players of the England squad will see no game time whatsoever. So to take players like Wiltshire, Henderson and Sturridge, who have seen so little game time of late, in place of Townsend, who finished the season in fine form, is very strange, and could be fatal.