Once again, another England squad announcement sparks controversy as fledgling duo Ross Barkley and Andros Townsend get the nod from Roy Hodgson for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Moldova and Ukraine.
Everton’s teenage star Barkley is rated at 3/1 to make the final squad for Brazil 2014 – should the Three Lions book a ticket, of course – on the back of his inclusion in the squad for the latest crop of qualifying matches, with Tottenham wide man Townsend available at 5/1 to achieve the same feat.
A win over Moldova in the first of their upcoming international double-header is all but assured, yet neither of the potential debutants are fancied to start the match. Barkley is at 5/1 to be singing the national anthem on the pitch, with Townsend longer at 7/1.
Despite being attributed a beefier price, it is fair to argue that Townsend is the more deserving of the pair to come in for international recognition.
His early-season form at Spurs has been good, while he was consistently impressive for QPR towards the end of the previous campaign.
Barkley, on the other hand, has only performed brilliantly in one game for Everton after spending the majority of 2011/12 on loan in the Championship. He’s started both of the Toffees’ games under Roberto Martinez and proved very influential at Norwich, where he scored a spectacular goal, yet it’s difficult to argue how one stellar showing warrants the step up to international level.
There are a few players who can feel a little irked at not being included in Hodgson’s latest squad, namely Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor.
The pacey forward enjoyed a great second half of the previous season, alike Townsend, and has started this one in the same vein, causing the Arsenal and Chelsea backlines all kinds of problems in the Villans’ opening two ties.
While he doesn’t operate in anything like the position Barkley does, there’s no doubt that Agbonlahor is more deserving of a place in the England ranks than the Everton youngster based on current form and there’s sure to be a few other players sampling the same frustrations.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date