By Chris Wright
Roy Hodgson has announced his England squad for the upcoming friendly against Republic of Ireland and the Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia and the headline news is that both QPR striker Charlie Austin and Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy have both received their first ever senior international call-ups, as well as Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton.
The England squad in full…
Goalkeepers: Rob Green (Queens Park Rangers), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Ryan Mason (Tottenham), James Milner (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Forwards: Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Jamie Vardy (Leicester) Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
Austin is the second-highest English goal-scorer in the Premier League this season so his inclusion is perfectly justifiable and perhaps even a little overdue – but Vardy? Really?
Don’t get us wrong, we’re as enthused for him as the next man – to say his rise has been meteoric is an understatement; he was playing non-league football three seasons ago – but he’s scored four goals in 2,178 minutes of Premier League football this season, barely making any waves in the long fallow months between his brilliant performance against Manchester United in September and his decent run of form throughout April that saw him nominated for Player of the Month.
Oh well, why not give him a chance? He certainly deserves more of a stab at it than Andros sodding Townsend.
That said, Roy’s reasoning is hardly reassuring…
Roy: I saw Jamie Vardy at Fleetwood and players like him who like running in behind defenders are good for coaches. He's had a good season
— England (@england) May 21, 2015
Are we picking England players on the strength of their performances for Fleetwood Town now? Christ, how the mighty(ish) have fallen.