England's main men

Joe Hart

Joe Hart

First published in International

New England boss Roy Hodgson would doubtless say all 23 members of his squad for this summer's European Championships are important.

However, to adapt a George Orwell phrase, some are more important than others.

Here, the Daily Echo looks at the men Hodgson will have to rely on if England are to make any significant progress.

JOE HART (Manchester City) No player is indispensable? Yeah, right. This season, Hart has continued to progress, is now a Premier League title winner and David James believes he is better than Spain number one Iker Casillas. Robert Green is none of these things, nor Scott Carson, David Stockdale, Frankie Fielding or any other keeper who has been measured against Hart since the last World Cup. He must stay fit.

ASHLEY COLE (Chelsea) England do not have many truly world-class players, but Cole is one. National team Lions player of the year in 2010, Cole has been a high-class left-back for the best part of a decade. This term, due to Chelsea's difficulties, his defensive qualities have been in evidence more often. Leighton Baines is good - but not that good.

WAYNE ROONEY (Manchester United) Rooney will be missing for the first two group games, a legacy of that stupid red card in Montenegro. And the chances are, England will need a result in their final match against co-hosts Ukraine in Donetsk. Rooney owes them one. He is also due a big tournament after failing to make any impact since Euro 2004.

STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool) The complaint has often been levelled against Gerrard that he cares far more for his club than his country. However, as his career ticks on, the Premier League seems more elusive than ever. What could be better therefore than to guide England through with one of those swashbuckling performances he is so famous for at Liverpool?

THEO WALCOTT (Arsenal. Age 23. Caps 22.) Taken to the World Cup despite never playing a Premier League game in 2006 and never even made the squad four years later, Walcott continues to promise so much but delivers fleetingly. The former Saints starlet cored a hat-trick in Croatia but nothing since that heady night in September 2008. Has the capability to open up any defence and England could do with him at his best.

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