A starting 11 of World Cup-eligible English players who were not selected by Roy Hodgson for Brazil 2014
We all have different ideas of who Roy should have brought to Brazil and who he should have left behind. To see if there are any glaring omissions, we looked at the Beat Your Manager! player data of 11 English players (John Ruddy, Kyle Walker, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry, Adam Johnson, Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young, Andy Carroll and Connor Wickham) over the 2013/4 season, who were at one stage or another, considered for an England berth.
Beat Your Manager! Fantasy Football is a new fantasy football game that is similar to the console game “Football Manager”, but applied to live football; you manage your favourite Club in real-time, picking the lineup, bench, formations for upcoming matches and making substitutions during the live match. The game ran for its first full year over the 2013/4 English Premier League season and over 15,000 managers played the game, contributing the data we present here. When fans play the game, we can get a picture of the popularity of different players, by looking at how frequently they are selected for the lineup.
John Ruddy was selected for 91% of Norwich City fan lineups, making him the clear Canaries fan favourite. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to be considered for either of England’s goalkeeping spots for Brazil.
The most popular Premier League defender not going to Brazil is Kyle Walker, who recorded a 91% average popularity rate with Spurs fans. Chelsea’s John Terry (79%) and Ashley Cole (65%) are second and third in line, but these respectable ratings weren’t enough to make Hodgson’s squad for Brazil. Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott just squeezed into the back four with a middling 48% endorsement ringing in his ears..
Another popular Premier League midfielder who didn’t make the cut for England is Gareth Barry, who recorded a 90% average popularity rate with Everton fans. Sunderland’s Adam Johnson was reasonably close with 79%, while Manchester United’s midfielders Tom Cleverley (45%) and Ashley Young (16%) lagged substantially behind. It would probably be easy to find a United fan who didn’t agree with Young’s exclusion, but hard for an Everton fan to understand Barry’s.
The most popular Premier League forward rejected by Roy is Andy Carroll, who averaged 87% with West Ham fans. Sunderland fans may not understand why Connor Wickham was touted around as likely to face Italy, given that he was only selected for 36% of lineups last season.