Thursday, 10 January 2008

England 32 man squad

The 32 man training squad has been announced and there are a few surprising names left out and few inclusion as well. Josh Lewsey out and Andy Farrell out (not sure if this is a surprise). Hodgson in , Balsaw in, Tindall and Noon in???

So why put some of our promising talent put in the Saxons instead. All I can think is that 32 man squad will only actually become 15 starting and 7 subs, leaving 10 of those players with out a game completely. For a number of those players, a game in the Saxons wouldn't prove anything about their performance or ability. We all know what Charile Hodgson can do, we all know how Mark Cuteo can play. However, for players like Lamb, Varndell, Hipkiss and O Smith a game in the Saxons is a chance too shine. It's a chance to gain experience of the England setup, the preparation and the match day. Aston could put the likes of these players in the 32 man squad, but are they actually going to get any reasonable game time. Possibly not. Being named in the 32 man squad is all about perceived status and not necessarily player development etc.

The other big point was that Vainikolo was named in the starting squad. Again as before I doubt he needs the experience of the Saxons and playing in international games he has that from his league days. As a winger as well I would have said it was the easiest position to switch from League to Union. I remember Jason Robinson receiving similar press saying it was unfair on others etc etc. I think Jason proved everyone wrong. He still took a couple of years to fully adapt, but the best place for him to do this was in the England squad. I think the same will be the said for Vainikolo. I don't believe this was the same for Farrell however, as he switched codes too late and the positions he played in didn't allow for such an easy transition, therefore he need the game time to build up his experience.

The truth will come out once the starting 15 and the bench is picked. At that point we will see Ashton's real strategy and can see if he is moving the game forward or doing an Andy Robinson.

The point the really stuck my was the amount of talent coming through the England squad. The Saxons team is very strong and by it's self could beat a some of the other 6 nations full international squads.

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