England penalty takers in Brazil: the shoulds and shouldn’ts

Lists » England penalty takers in Brazil: the shoulds and shouldn’ts

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Phil Jones, who shouldn't be one of the England penalty takers
Jones… Shouldn’t (Image: Ian C)

Roy Hodgson announced his World Cup squad yesterday, and all we wanted to know was simply this – will the England penalty takers in Brazil be able to do it properly?

Penalty shoot-outs have long been the scourge of the English national team, Euro ’96 quarter-final v Spain excepted, so it was a source of comfort to see the names of several specialist penalty takers in Hodgson’s 23, and yes Hodgson’s 23 does sound like the title of a novel.

But penalty shoot-outs can in theory go on indefinitely – how secure can we be if everyone’s required to take one? We went through the squad position by position discerning the should-be England penalty takers in Brazil from the shouldn’ts-but-might-have-to…

Goalkeepers

Joe Hart looks pretty handy at both saving them and scoring them, if this clip from a 2011 pre-season friendly against LA Galaxy is anything to go by…

No idea whether Messrs Foster and Forster can dispatch one, mind.

Defence

Leighton Baines has scored all 12 Premier League penalties he’s taken for Everton, so he’s got to be a shoo-in to be one of England’s first five penalty takers.

He has missed one in the League Cup against Chelsea, mind, so he’s not infallible.

Glen Johnson kept a cool head when handed the responsibility of taking one in Liverpool’s 2012 League Cup final shoot-out win over Cardiff City…

…while Everton captain Phil Jagielka converted to send the Toffees to the 2009 FA Cup final at Manchester United’s expense, albeit he did miss in a UEFA Cup shoot-out against Fiorentina the season before.

Manchester United’s Phil Jones, however, should probably be last choice to take one if his recent aeroplane-botherer in the League Cup semi-final against Sunderland is evidence enough…

From a strictly penalty-taking point of view, you’d have to hope that Jones fails to recover from the injury he incurred flying in for a maniac header against Hull City last week.

Hodgson has already confirmed that Jones’s replacement would be John Stones, and the Everton youngster showed not only skill but also cojones in stepping up after Andrea Pirlo no less to take the following spot kick in a pre-season tournament against Juventus…

Perhaps Ashley Cole was left out for having missed one in the Euro 2012 shoot-out defeat to a Pirlo-inspired Italy.

Midfield

Looking good here – Steven Gerrard has scored a whole ton of penalties already this season, while fellow old boy Frank Lampard always seems to smash them in.

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere scored from the spot in a Youth Cup final against Liverpool…

Everton’s Ross Barkley scored one while on loan at Sheffield Wednesday last season…

…and James Milner converted in the tense atmosphere of a local derby, for Aston Villa against Birmingham City…

Plenty to work with there, then.

Attack

Wayne Rooney vowed in February 2013 to stop taking penalties for Manchester United after a patchy record of 17 scored from 28 attempts, but Robin van Persie’s absences this season have handed the ball back to him on occasion.

He’s responded well, scoring all three he’s taken – so that’s a relief for England. After all, we won’t want to have to rely on his clubmate Danny Welbeck…

…or Daniel Sturridge…

Southampton’s Rickie Lambert is okay, though – he’s scored 47 of his 48 career penalties.

In conclusion – bring it on.

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