England manager Roy Hodgson seems to trust misfiring Liverpool striker Andy Carroll and has given the former Newcastle man the number nine shirt for the summer's European Championships, suggesting Carroll will lead the national team's attack against France and Sweden, in place of the suspended Wayne Rooney.
There were not too many takers for Carroll being so favoured, given his poor season at the club level and the fact that other forwards, including Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge and Stoke City's Peter Crouch were in better form. However, the 23 year old seems to have done enough to catch the former West Brom boss' eyes, particularly during the recent friendly against Norway.
Carroll, who only managed to net four Premier League goals this season, said he could not wait to prove himself in Ukraine and Poland this June.
"I was delighted to be in the squad. Now I've got a chance to show what I'm about. The fee didn't bother me, I always believed in myself," The Sun quoted Carroll as saying.
"... things weren't going for me and I didn't play as many games as I hoped for Liverpool. But finally I did get a run in the side towards the end of the season. I did well, got my confidence up and now I'm here," ESPN Star quoted the 23 year old as saying.
"I feel fitter now than I did at the beginning of the season or even halfway through the season. I just needed that run of games," The Telegraph quoted Carroll as saying, and adding, I'm feeling good and I'm feeling fresh. I feel fitter now than I did at the beginning of the season or halfway through."
Meanwhile, Hodgson has been forced to call up Everton defender Phil Jagielka after it was confirmed Manchester City's Gareth Barry would not be available for the tournament. Barry picked up an injury in the game against Norway.
"I am very disappointed to lose Gareth, not only was he a member of my original 23-man squad but he has featured prominently in the England team over the last few years," said Hodgson, according to a Guardian report., adding, "I know how much he wanted to be part of the tournament but I'm sure he will still have a part to play with England after the Euros. I wish him a speedy recovery."
Norwich City's John Ruddy, who was Hodgson's third choice goalkeeper, will also be missing, following a broken finger. He will be replaced by Birmingham City's 19 year old Jack Butland. Hodgson has, however, selected Spurs' Scott Parker, Manchester United's Danny Welbeck and Liverpool's Glen Johnson despite the trio suffering from injuries.
Here is the entire England squad for the 2012 Euros.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Robert Green (West Ham United), Jack Butland (Birmingham City).
Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool) Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, John Terry (all Chelsea), Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka (both Everton), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (both Arsenal), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard, Stuart Downing (both Liverpool), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Scott Parker (Tottenham Hotspur), James Milner (Manchester City).
Forwards: Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck (both Manchester United), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur).