England have given midfield pair Jack Colback and Fabian Delph their first call ups to the national side in the first squad after the World Cup. Given the retirements of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, Roy Hodgson will be experimenting with different combinations in the middle of the park. Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere will be favourites to become key players in the England side, but there is now an opportunity for some of the other English midfielders playing regularly in the top flight. Colback and Delph have got their chance, but the likes of Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore and Tom Cleverley to get back into the fold.
Many were shocked that these two received the call ahead of Huddlestone, but it may be an indication of the style of play that Hodgson is trying to promote as England. Both of these are energetic, hard working midfielders, who will cover lots of ground and can press high up the pitch. They also have good passing ranges, which gives Hodgson the option to play them deep. They offer slightly different options as Delph is more attacking and can make bursts forward to support the attackers, while Colback offers a deeper option, who will keep possession ticking over.
Jack Colback’s call up has been a bit of a shock and the nickname ‘Ginger Pirlo’ is a huge exaggeration on his ability, but he has the potential to be a very good player for England, especially alongside Jordan Henderson as the two will have a connection due to developing together at Sunderland. Alan Pardew has linked Colback’s England call up to the way he has dealt with the pressure of moving across the North East to join Newcastle. He has started the season well, with a 90.1% pass success rate, showing his ability retaining possession, and his performance against Manchester City shows that he can compete well against the best players in the world.
Meanwhile Fabian Delph had an excellent campaign last season, becoming one of the key men in the Aston Villa team, scoring three goals and assisting twice, while his pass completion rate was 83.6%, showing his class with the ball. He was the driving force in several of the good performances produced by Villa. He also showed his penchant for long range shots, scoring a fabulous goal away against Southampton to give Villa the win. He could go on to become a really good player for his country, but he will never become one of the key players.
Both of these call ups are well deserved as both have been consistent performers in the Premier League over the last few seasons. Plus they have character and that was something lacking from the England squad in the summer. Although it will be very tough for them to even come close to replacing Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, they represent a change in style, with a more hard working side beginning to take shape. They may not be the most talented players, but they will work hard and make it difficult for the opposition to control possession, as both like to hunt down the ball.