After unveiling perhaps the most balanced and fairly selected England squad in years, Roy Hodgson also revealed that Steven Gerrard will lead the Three Lions in this summer’s Euro 2012 tournament – an appointment that was considered only logical by many before it was even confirmed.
Hodgson, who has worked with Gerrard before in the capacity of the Liverpool manager, selected John Terry in his 23-man squad earlier this afternoon but had no hesitation in choosing the man who received the armband that once used to belong to the Chelsea captain.
“In my opinion, he is the man who merits this award or distinction. I know him, of course, as a player. I know him as a person. I know how committed he is to the England cause,” Hodgson told Sky Sports News.
The former West Bromwich Albion boss added: “He was delighted last night when I told him of my decision. I will be counting on him to help me as much as he possibly can to build the type of team unity and the type of environment that I think is going to be very necessary for us to thrive in an important tournament.”
While Gerrard’s selection as captain is far from controversial, Hodgson’s preference of Terry over Manchester United veteran Rio Ferdinand is poised to spark debate across English football.
Terry is currently facing allegations of racism against Rio’s brother Anton and Hodgson’s conversation with the two experienced center-halves led to the conclusion that they cannot co-exist.
Yesterday evening, the manager was widely tipped to drop Terry in favor of Ferdinand but ultimately proceeded with the exact opposite, presumably due to fitness concerns surrounding the United defender.
Hodgson also called up Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – a bold decision but one that has not yet been criticized much due to the winger’s four goals for England U-21 in only eight appearances.
Ben Foster, the only player to have openly turned down an invitation to travel to Poland and Ukraine as a part of England’s Euro 2012 squad, backed his former club boss to guide the under-achieving team in the right direction.
“You can only make wholesale changes if you are organised and Roy is always organised. England will benefit from that greatly, as everybody in the team knows their job,” Foster praised the man who led a successful revival of the Baggies.
The 29-year old, who turned down Hodgson’s plea to come out of international retirement due to family reasons, added: “Your role is black and white and you know exactly what you need to do.
“At every moment in every game, every player knows what they should or should not be doing depending on what has happened somewhere else on the pitch.”
England open their Euro 2012 campaign against France on June 11 in Donetsk. While Gerrard is certainly excited to lead the national team this summer, he got some disappointing news on the club front as Liverpool parted company with legendary manager Kenny Dalglish today.