The Roy Hodgson era as England manager has not exactly gotten of to the smoothest of stats. From his late appointment, to the abbreviated training camp ahead of the Norway game, Hodgson seems to be playing catch-up.
And his job has not been made an easier with the news that Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry has been ruled out the Euros due to a torn stomach muscle picked up in Saturday’s friendly.
Barry’s injury is a big blow to Hodgson, as his other defensive midfielder player, Scott Parker has been battling an achilles problem for over a month, and he looked well short of match fitness against Norway.
“I’m very disappointed to lose Gareth,” said Hodgson. “Not only was he a member of my original 23-man squad but he has featured prominently in the England team over the last few years. I know how much he wanted to be part of the tournament but I’m sure he will still have a part to play with England after the Euros. I wish him a speedy recovery.”
England have other injuries besides Parker and Barry, as Glen Johnson (infected toe) and Daniel Welbeck (ankle) are struggling to be fit for this weekend’s match against Belgium.
Interestingly, it appears that Hodgson will replace Barry in his final 23-man squad with Everton’s Phil Jagielka. The Everton centre-half, who has played at right-back at times, impressed while earning his 11th capin the 1-0 win in Oslo on Saturday.
I expect then that Hodgson will push Phil Jones into central midfield to replace Barry, and Jones could well start against France, alongside Frank Lampard, in a two-man central midfield pairing in front of England’s back-four.