Roy Hodgson announced his 23-man England roster for Euro 12 and, of course, there has already been criticism. When pressed on why he selected 18-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, his justification was a bit curious. From Fox:
"He's a very, very exciting player," Hodgson said.
"He's given one or two performances which have made quite an impression upon me, not least when Arsenal played Milan at the Emirates Stadium. I was there and saw how well he dealt with (Andrea) Pirlo and (Massimo) Ambrosini at the centre of midfield."
The problem? Andrea Pirlo plays for Juventus and Ambrosini wasn't even available to play that day.
Given that, here are Hodgson's justifications for the rest of his squad inclusions...
Joe Hart (Man City) -- I've never seen anyone stop shots from Pele like Joe Hart can. As Tina Turner once said, he's "simply the best." And how many footballers have a Tina Turner song about them?
Rob Green (West Ham) -- He made big saves against the U.S. in the last World Cup. He's got hands like a bear trap.
John Ruddy (Norwich) -- I have this joke where I walk up behind him at training and say "Ruddy good." Gets a laugh every time.
Leighton Baines (Everton) -- I once saw him take an important gold ring through Mordor. Left quite an impression on me.
Gary Cahill (Chelsea) -- I was there when he scored a tidy goal for Everton against Fulham. Plus he speaks Australian.
Ashley Cole (Chelsea) -- Told him that I like a few of his wife's tunes. He got a little teary, which shows heart.
Glen Johnson (Liverpool) -- I remember watching his launches into space. Very exciting astronaut.
Phil Jones (Man Utd) -- No other defender has handled LeBron James like he did in game 7 of the NBA playoffs.
Joleon Lescott (Man City) -- Threw a dart.
John Terry (Chelsea) -- Leave John Terry at home when I'm taking a squad full of footballers out of the country for a few weeks? I'm not stupid.
Gareth Barry (Man City) -- I said his name, fell asleep and when I woke up he was on the squad sheet. Odd.
Stewart Downing (Liverpool) -- Actually, I didn't get to see much of him this season. But for all the money Liverpool spent on him, he had to score or set up at least one goal this season, right?
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) -- He had his daughters ask me if he could be captain. How can someone say no to that?
Frank Lampard (Chelsea) -- Since we're playing the Olympics in London, I knew I had to take Frank.
James Milner (Man City) -- I have great affection for Mario Balotelli, but I couldn't select him, so I thought, "How about someone who knows him?"
Scott Parker (Tottenham) -- He laughs the loudest when I say "Ruddy good." Well, I haven't actually done it yet, but I imagine he would laugh the loudest.
Theo Walcott (Arsenal) -- I was sitting ringside when he beat the tar out of Lennox Lewis at the O2 Arena.
Ashley Young (Man United) -- Why not?
Andy Carroll (Liverpool) -- He single-handedly won the FA Cup for Liverpool. Kenny Dalglish owes him a lot.
Wayne Rooney (Man United) -- We're going to rely on him for our first two group matches. Wayne's the one player I definitely couldn't do without for even a minute.
Danny Welbeck (Man United) -- Already had eight goals in October, let's hope that form carries into November.
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) -- He was brilliant on loan from City this season. He had a wonderful growth spurt and went from 5'7" to 6'3" in the offseason that really helped him.