With Saturday’s Champions League final creeps closer on the horizon and Euro 2012 looming in the not so distant future, Roy Hodgson announced his first (and possibly last) squad for the early summer tournament.  Hodgson’s Euro 2012 England Squad is as follows:

Joe Hart (Manchester City), Rob Green (West Ham), John Ruddy (Norwich City), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), John Terry (Chelsea), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Leighton Baines (Everton), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Ashley Young (Manchester United), James Milner (Manchester City), Jermaine Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United), Andy Carroll (Liverpool)

Standbys: Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea)

Steven Gerrard was announced captain of the squad, in a somewhat shocking move that means Scott Parker’s reign as England Captain is limited to a single match.  John Terry was passed over for the role due to the controversy surrounding him (alleged racism, dreadful form, suspension for Champions League final).  Former England Captain Rio Ferdinand was completely left out of Hodgson’s plans, with Hodgson remarking that all decisions were made for “footballing reasons.”

Curiously not included in the squad or standbys are Micah Richards and Michael Carrick, both coming off of solid seasons with their clubs.  PFA Young Player of the Year, Kyle Walker, will miss the Euros due to his toe injury, while Goal of the Season candidate Peter Crouch will also miss out.  Grant Holt is also absent from the England squad, despite scoring the second most Premier League goals by an English striker. 

The squad is also equally balanced between top clubs with 4 players each coming from Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United, a keen diplomatic move by Hodgson possibly intended to prevent any existing camp from dominating the dressing room.  This is the only reasonable explanation I could come up with to explain Stewart Downing’s inclusion in the squad.  After finishing the season with zero goals and zero assists, and a season full of missed opportunities, Downing’s inclusion over Aaron Lennon, Adam Johnson, and Daniel Sturridge has many scratching their heads in confusion.

The squad chosen by Hodgson can provide England with a useful starting XI at a number of formations.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could give the England squad a creative, attacking option coming off the bench.  The Manchester United strike duo of Welbeck and Rooney could make an appearance as well. It will be interesting to see if and how the squad changes before the beginning of the tournament.  It is also nice to see the (largely symbolic) inclusion of John Ruddy as the third keeper, but the soon to be married squad member will have to reorganize his honeymoon in order to travel with the squad.  

This is the squad faced with the impossible task of not disappointing the British public.