The final 23 man England squad for the summer's 2012 European Championship has been announced and new boss Roy Hodgson has set himself up nicely for some sharp questions, comments and even bits of praise.
The positive, as declared by popular opinion, is the inclusion of Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The 18 year old winger has never represented his country at the senior level and his call-up was a surprise. However, given the speed with which he has established himself in the Gunners' first team and the maturity he has displayed at all times, this might be an inspired selection.
The biggest omission is undoubtedly Manchester United centre back Rio Ferdinand. Interestingly, Hodgson has opted for Ferdinand's former partner in defence, Chelsea's John Terry, despite the Blues' captain being accused of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, who is the United player's younger brother.
Other surprising omissions include United midfielder Michael Carrick and Manchester City right back Micah Richards. Veteran Red Devils' midfielder Paul Scholes, who was coaxed out of retirement by Sir Alex Ferguson to help ease the team's midfield crisis at the time, was also not selected despite making himself available.
Apart from the big name drops, IBTimes UK presents five other players who were not selected (either for injuries or other unknown reasons) but could have made a difference...
Kyle Walker (Tottenham)
The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Young Player of the Year, Kyle Walker could have used the summer's tournament to state his case as one of the best full backs in Europe. Unfortunately, the Tottenham Hotspur star picked up an injury in the club's last league game of the season and despite manager Harry Redknapp's insistence he would recover in time, Hodgson has decided to overlook the 21 year old. If it turns out Walker could indeed have recovered in time, the new England boss might rue his decision, as Walker is more than a match for any of the players chosen in his position.
Phil Jagielka (Everton)
Jagielka is fearless both on the ground and in the air and has the ability to read the game well and not panic when the ball is at his feet. The versatile Everton captain can also be effectively deployed as a holding midfielder. The 29-year-old was excellent for the Merseyside club this season, making 30 appearances and netting twice.
Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea)
Daniel Sturridge has been one of the brightest points of Chelsea's season. He finished the league as the club's joint top scorer, alongside veteran midfielder Frank Lampard, with 11 goals. It would have been interesting to see if Andy Carroll and Sturridge could have created a viable partnership - particularly with England needing a goal threat during Wayne Rooney's suspension.
Grant Holt (Norwich)
Grant Holt has enjoyed an impressive debut season in the Premier League, netting 15 times for newly promoted Norwich City and playing a key role in ensuring the club's top flight survival. His physical prowess, reasonable speed and decent shooting ability could have made him an interesting (and unknown to the opposition) wild card to come off the bench, should Hodgson need late goals. While his lack of international experience must count against him, it is disappointing the 31 year old is not even on standby.
Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere could be the player Hodgson will most miss in Poland and Ukraine. The youngster has already established himself as a key man in Arsene Wenger's side and even earned the praise of former England boss Fabio Capello, who identified him as central to the country's 2012 European Championship ambitions. Hodgson would certainly have picked Wilshere had it not been for the worries of an ankle injury he suffered a year ago and the fact that he has still to regain full fitness after the incident. There were suggestions he could be selected despite the injury but Wenger moved quickly to quash any such claims, maintaining the player would only go if he were fully fit.
Final England Squad
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Man City), Robert Green (West Ham), John Ruddy (Norwich)
Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Man Utd), John Terry (Chelsea), Joleon Lescott (Man City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Leighton Baines (Everton)
Midfielders: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain(Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Man City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Ashley Young (Man Utd), James Milner (Man City)
Forwards: Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Danny Welbeck (Man Utd), Andrew Carroll (Liverpool)
Standby: Jack Butland (Birmingham), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Johnson (Man City), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea)