State of the nation: Sportsmail runs the rule over England's Euros squad
21:30 GMT, 3 June 2012
The friendlies are over and Euro 2012 kicks off on Friday, but England have suffered another injury blow in Gary Cahill. Matt Barlow runs the rule over the form and fitness of Roy Hodgson’s depleted squad.
One area where England are in better shape than two years ago. Accomplished and commanding and this oozes through the team. Made a series of solid saves against Belgium with little fuss, notably late on, and will be reassured by Roy Hodgson’s plans to protect his keeper with a two-tier defensive unit of eight.
Stopper: Joe Hart (right) is England's firm first-choice in goal
Won his first cap for two years in Norway and has shown admirable courage and mental strength to beat the demons of Rustenburg. He does not transmit the same aura as Hart but is focused and capable and deserves credit for surviving the storm.
History suggests he is unlikely to be used but he is tipped as an exceptional talent by those in the know, including England’s new goalkeeping coach Dave Watson, who has seen him develop at Birmingham.
After time out with an infected toe, it was a little disconcerting to see him wince when he toe-ended a clearance over his own goal on Saturday but good to have him back. He has matured as a full back and in this formation could prove one of our best attacking options.
In for Gary Cahill, who was forced out on Sunday. He is big, strong and athletic with a good attitude but is only 22 and lacks game-time at top level. Most defenders tend to improve with experience but he has played only two minutes for England, as a sub in Norway, and just 24 times in the Premier League.
Call up: Martin Kelly is now the sixth Liverpool player in the squad
Cover for right-back, centre half and midfield. He is energetic, willing and wonderfully talented if still raw at 20 years old, and his form faded after a brilliant start at Manchester United. Defends whole-heartedly but lacks Johnson’s poise on the ball as a right back and could be most useful in this tournament in midfield, where the squad looks thin.
Came off with a ‘tight hamstring’ on Saturday and his body may be creaking after an intense end to the season. It wouldn’t be JT, however, if he wasn’t playing on through the pain. Offers valuable experience in central defence (where it matters), leads and organises those around him, despite losing the armband.
On the evidence of the warm-up games, injuries have saved Hodgson the embarrassment of leaving Jagielka behind. He reads the game and is mobile enough to cope with some of the nimble strikers he will meet in the Euros. He is brave, honest and comfortable in possession and comes from a club side which defends in a Hodgson-like way.
Shaping up as the new Terry Butcher with blood stains and exaggerated head bandage on Saturday and is starting to play with similar authority in an England shirt. Splendid understanding with Jagielka and you can make a case for pairing them in central defence with Cahill out.
Bloodied up: Joleon Lescott is likely to start for England
Keeping Baines at bay after recapturing top form during Chelsea’s end-of-season flourish. Can he produce his best in every game at 31, however, when he suffers from ankle problems which limit his training activity for two days after a game Hodgson will hope so, because 94 caps of know-how is vital with no Rio Ferdinand, Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard.
A capable deputy and starting to pressurise Cole at left back having settled into international football. His delivery from the left is a strong offensive weapon and he is under-rated as a defender. David Moyes would not tolerate a full back who cannot defend. Also capable of scoring from set-pieces.
Appeared more comfortable with his duties at Wembley on Saturday (when he had a hand in the goal) than in Norway. Struck a better balance with Parker and sought fewer long Hollywood passes. England need their captain to contribute as an attacking force if they are to truly prosper in Eastern Europe.
A useful 90 minutes against Belgium but still not at his best and an international tournament novice, despite his 31 years. Parker was booked and must take care as opponents will target his appetite for a tackle to try and win free-kicks and get him in trouble, especially if they detect he is not at his sharpest after the recent achilles injury.
Hustle and bustle: Scott Parker needs to be careful with his tackles
Concerns about his inexperience in such a vital position and whether his natural strengths – energy and quality delivery from wide areas – are truly maximised in a deep-sitting role in midfield. Improved as the season progressed at Liverpool, has done little wrong in two friendlies and is obvious replacement should (God forbid) England lose Gerrard.
No surprises where he is concerned. He supplies reliable toil, endurance and helpful versatility which enable Hodgson to take (gentle) tactical risks elsewhere. Looks sure to start on one of the flanks and may be needed in the centre at some point. Only man to play in every minute of the two friendlies.
Totally erratic but England crave his flash of spontaneity in such a stylised, heavily-drilled system. Beautifully-balanced, with a change of pace and smart. It’s tempting to envisage the teenager flourishing on this stage like Paul Gascoigne at Italia 90 or Michael Owen in France 98.
Erratic: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is inconsistent but could provide much needed fizz
Has become far more influential for Arsenal this season, in terms of goals and assists, but appears to be earmarked as a late-game substitute for England. His greatest asset is terrific pace, of course, and he can be dangerous when thrown on against a tiring team, when the game is pulled out of shape.
Unused against Belgium but his performance against Norway confirmed that he can be trusted to work a flank and provide balance and a steady service. It would be great to see him being bolder, showing greater desire to influence the key aspects of the game. It’s hard to escape the fact he has not scored a Premier League goal for more than a year.
Did not supply much fantasy in the No 10 role but it’s hard to argue with his goal threat. Scored one and made the other in England’s two warm-up friendlies. That’s four goals for the season and six assists since the World Cup, more than any other England player.
Fit after an ankle injury and his exquisite finish against Belgium – his first England goal in his fifth appearance – will inspire belief at this level. Quick and offers a more refined option to Carroll and his intelligence encourages the link-up with the second striker.
Option: Has Danny Welbeck chipped himself into contention
Looked a little bulky after his break with an extra shirt on — but there’s a fortnight before he can play. Rooney (left) will relish the No 10 role in Hodgson’s England team and hopefully has a clearer mind than two years ago, when he went to South Africa burdened with unrealistic comparisons to Lionel Messi and off-field distractions.
In his best form for nearly two years and should be brimming with confidence. His performance in Oslo was honest and encouraging, rather than a compelling case to start up front, but does not look out of place and will be an important weapon in the Euros. There is not a defender at the tournament who will fancy marking him.
Excellent cameo against Belgium. He looked sharp, fresh and determined to seize his chance. He will make things happen, even coming off the bench, if England can get him on the ball near the goal. Hit the post and smashed another chance into the side- netting. Has a genuine goal instinct.
Effortlessly into the job on all levels despite the time constraints. England are heading to the Euros with a clear plan of how to approach the task. It will be safety first, founded on solid defensive organisation.
There are plenty of creative weapons although they look set to be used sparingly and success may ultimately boil down to how cleverly Hodgson uses them. There is the pace of Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain, the aerial power of Carroll, the vision of Young and Welbeck and the goal threat of Defoe.
Then there’s Rooney, who will add a touch of steely class when he returns against Ukraine. Let’s hope England are still in the tournament.