Frank Lampard is injured on the eve of the Euros, and so it’s been reported that Roy Hodgson is kindly going to ask for Jordan Henderson’s help in filling in, mostly because Manchester United’s Michael Carrick doesn’t want to be a mere “squad player.”
Hey wait, I have an idea. Why not ask the guy with the 93.5% percent pass completion rate?
There’s this thing in English football I’ve never understood. That thing involves overlooking talented players because they don’t play for one of the Big Boys or have that still-unproven intangible—a big timey national team cap. Obviously, Frank Lampard is not a one-for-one player with Leon Britton, a defensive midfielder, although it’s been the case that Lamps has been moving farther back with Chelsea for some time as part of his revised role. It was from there he sprang Ramires wide on the left in Chelsea’s first leg semifinal against Barcelona, for example.
His rumoured replacement Jordan Henderson makes more sense from that perspective. Henderson is more versatile, able to play on the right or in an advanced attacking position. Carrick would be by far the better option across all possible worlds, but despite the criticism, Henderson’s stats aren’t exactly miles behind, except in passes per game, which averages around 40 in comparison with Carrick’s impressive 70.
Britton is in the mix in all areas except, crucially, in attack. He’s pretty much locked in a defensive mid, but this is generally what you’d expect from a team adhering to Brendan Rodgers’ emphasis on possession at Swansea. And on that count, the guy is a possession machine. Some examples from recent games:
And by comparison, Jordan Henderson’s from Liverpool’s 4-1 victory over Chelsea.
Again, this is not a comparison of quality necessarily, but of use and attributes. Henderson is a perfectly good selection, and probably makes the most sense. Hodgson went with Jagielka when Barry was injured however, when Britton would have been a far better replacement in terms of the type of Barry we all wish he was and clearly isn’t. But with Steven Gerrard, James Milner, Ashley Young, and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain still in the midfield, Britton would have been a possibility to add without wreaking too much havoc.
Anyway, trust in Hodgson I guess, but possession wins games I hear…