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Possible England Euro 2012 squad: Who will make Hodgson's cut?

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With just over one month to go before England kick-off their Euro 2012 campaign against France, we finally have a new manager at the helm.

The fresh approach might be beneficial to England's cause. Roy Hodgson will start with a clean slate - and that means his Euro 2012 squad could see a greater focus on in-form players.

That also means the likes of Peter Crouch and Grant Holt could come into consideration.

Let's attempt to put ourselves in Hodgson's head and see who is in there. The chances are that there will be a lot more than 23 players in his mind. 

GOALKEEPERS

This is probably Hodgson's easiest job. Manchester City's Joe Hart is the nailed on number one for England.

The selection for back-up keepers presents something of a conundrum though. Bursaspor's former West Brom keeper Scott Carson is widely regarded as the number two, but it won't come as a surprise if current Baggies keeper Ben Foster makes the squad, given that he is Hodgson's current number one at the Hawthorns.

Rob Green and David Stockdale are possible contenders, but could miss out to Carson and Foster.

So, our guess for Hodgson's three keepers is Hart, Carson and Foster.

DEFENDERS

Two men stand out from the crowd as dead certs - Chelsea's John Terry and Ashley Cole, while Gary Cahill should be fit enough for Chelsea's Champions League final date in Munich on May 19.

While experience favours Rio Ferdinand, the fact that the Manchester United defender is not the best of friends with Terry won't be lost on Hodgson. It's quite the quandary for the new England boss but with Terry and Cahill two of the in-form central defenders of the moment, there's no guarantee Hodgson would find a place for Ferdinand anyway. Everton's Phil Jagielka is a contender for a supporting role as cover for Terry and Cahill.

Joleon Lescott seems an obvious choice given his ability as a centre back and full back, while Leighton Baines and Stephen Warnock are in contention as back-up for the left back spot. 

Glen Johnson and Micah Richards are contenders for the right back spot but, on current form, Kyle Walker could end up getting the nod. Richards' versatility should appeal to Hodgson.

So, it could be Terry, Cahill and Lescott as the centre backs in the squad, Cole and Baines as left backs and Richards and Walker for the right back spots, with Ferdinand and Johnson missing out.

Chris Smalling, Michael Dawson, Kieran Gibbs, Phil Jones and Ledley King could also be in Hodgson's mind as possibles.

MIDFIELDERS

It won't come as much of a surprise if Scott Parker, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are the first three midfielders in Hodgson's squad, while Gareth Barry is also one of the strongest contenders for a place.

Jack Wilshere is ruled out, but Adam Johnson, Stewart Downing and Aaron Lennon are in contention as wide options, while James Milner, Tom Cleverley, Jordan Henderson and Jack Rodwell could be in Hodgson's thoughts.

Milner's experience could give him the edge over the likes of Cleverley and Henderson.

So that's the eight midfielders sorted then: Parker, Lampard, Gerrard, Barry, Johnson, Downing, Lennon and Milner.

FORWARDS

In the not too distant past, England seemed to have too many in-form strikers to choose from, but that doesn't appear to be a problem for Hodgson. 

He does, however, have plenty of attacking options. 

At his first press conference, England's new manager appeared to confirm that Wayne Rooney will be in his squad, despite his absence for the first two games.

Rooney's Manchester United team-mate Ashley Young is expected to be in the 23 that Hodgson takes to Poland and Ukraine, but who else will make it? 

Theo Walcott and Darren Bent have experience and talent, and there have been calls for Grant Holt and Peter Crouch to be included.

Andy Carroll, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe are contenders. But if form is the deciding factor, Welbeck and Sturridge could get the nod.

So, how about three United strikers on the plane in Rooney, Young and Welbeck, with Chelsea striker Sturridge and Walcott providing other options with Rooney missing for the first two games?

ENGLAND'S POSSIBLE 23-MAN SQUAD

And there you have it, this might not end up being the same 23 that Hodgson goes for, but it might not be too far away:

GOALKEEPERS:

Joe Hart, Scott Carson, Ben Foster.

DEFENDERS:

John Terry, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, Joleon Lescott, Leighton Baines, Micah Richards, Kyle Walker.

MIDFIELDERS:

Scott Parker, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry, Adam Johnson, Stewart Downing, Aaron Lennon, James Milner.

FORWARDS:

Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge, Theo Walcott.

GAMES COMING UP

England's first outing under new manager Roy Hodgson is a friendly against Norway in Oslo on Saturday, May 26, with the first home friendly against Belgium at Wembley on Saturday, June 2.

On Monday, June 11, England take on France in Donetsk, Ukraine in their opening Euro 2012 group game, with Sweden their second group stage opponents in Kiev on Friday, June 15. They complete their Group D fixtures against joint hosts Ukraine in Donetsk on Thursday, June 19.

By Mark Roach 

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