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Biased England squad selection banishes Sunderland man’s hopes

| 20.03.2014

Adam Johnson has a bee in his bonnet over the last England squad announced by Roy Hodgson, and it seems he has a point.

Having claimed the Player of the Month award for January and scoring seven times in nine games it was nationally expected that the Sunderland wide man would be among the unnecessarily large party to face Denmark at Wembley. He wasn’t.

Johnson, for one, was bemused and now reckons England squads are picked by club instead of form: “If you look at the last squad it was almost all top eight bar Caulker, who wasn’t meant to be in it but for Jagielka’s injury. I think that says a lot about the selection,” he said.

In essence, Johnson is right. In England’s last four major tournament squads there’s only been three outfield players selected from sides to finish outside the top eight.

Hodgson didn’t pick a single player from outside the league’s top eight when he took The Three Lions to Poland and Ukraine for Euro 2012.

That leaves Johnson, who won all of his 12 caps while rarely featuring for Manchester City, a bet to avoid at 8/1 in our special market on who’ll make the plane to Brazil.

The same can be said for Tom Huddlestone, a 16/1 chance, who has been Hull’s shining light in the top flight this season but last received a national call up when warming Tottenham’s bench.

Instead the likes of Tom Cleverley, who has been the source of much derision for football fans this season, is a far more sensible option at 7/4 by virtue of the fact he plays for Manchester United.

Similarly, Andros Townsend, at 2/5, represents a far sounder investment to travel to Rio, despite his form tailing off criminally since wowing the nation at Wembley during qualification.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.