In the build-up to the announcement of the England squad, fans of the three lions more or less knew what to expect in terms of who would be picked due to Hodgson making it known he would not be swayed by last minute increases in form.
The only talking points were who would play back up to Leighton Baines? Would Frank Lampard be in the squad? And whether or not Andy Carroll would oust in form Rickie Lambert.
In that regard, I believe Hodgson got it right on two of the three calls he had to make. Firstly, Luke Shaw had to go ahead of Ashley Cole. According to WhoScored, Luke Shaw has completed 1.6 dribbles per game compared to 0.5 of Ashley Cole's and it is this level of dynamism England will need to call on when the game needs opening up.
Whilst Cole is nearly double Shaw's age and vastly more experienced, if Cole was due to play back up to Baines, his experience would not count for much. Besides, with Baines and Johnson aged 29, Cahill aged 28 and Jagielka aged 31, the England defence should be able to take care of themselves without Cole holding their hands.
Elsewhere, I am glad Andy Carroll was not picked (at least in the first 23). The only reason pundits were screaming for his inclusion was due to his aerial prowess which gives England another option (which is code for lumping the ball into the box).
There is some truth to this, Andy Carroll's tally of 8.9 headers per game is the highest in all of European football this season. However, what fans and pundits need to take into consideration is there is a reason why the big teams in club and international football seldom cater to long balls: it is an ineffective tactic that only the desperate, tactically or technically poor teams adhere to.
Some fan might point towards the fact Spain and Italy, the two most recent winners of the World Cup, had two man mountains in the form of Fernando Llorente and Luca Toni. Though, unlike Carroll, what those two have is actual talent on the ball. Carroll has an atrocious passing accuracy of 60.3% and only 2 goals from 3.4 shots per game. By comparison Llorente has scored 15 goals from only 1.9 shots per game; Luca Toni has 20 goals for Verona from 3.5 shots.
Furthermore, the big teams never lose their shape when attacking the way the pundits suggest England should do when they bring on Andy Carroll. The big teams might slightly adapt the angle of their attack as the game merits, but they never lose the objective that the best way of scoring is by splitting the defence apart through crisp passing. Lambert with his close control (he only averages 1.4 turnovers compared to Andy Carroll's 2.5), better finishing and ability from set pieces should England another option that is line with 21st century football.
Where I have a gripe with Hodgson is the exclusion of Gareth Barry. Whilst Gerrard is expected to play the Xabi Alonso and Andrea Pirlo role (to keep up with the Spanish and Italian theme) and orchestrate the play from deep, England have missed the trick and do not have a designated ball winner.
Whereas Spain have Javi Martinez and Sergio Busquets and Italy have Thiago Motta, England left theirs at home, Gareth Barry. Jordan Henderson is the closest England have to one but as he is better suited further up the pitch, it is clear England are going to mirror Liverpool's approach of pressuring high up and hoping the defence has as little do deal with.
I have been an advocate of Hodgson needing to implement some of Liverpool's tactics, but the one thing Liverpool have missed is a designated ball winner, someone who holds their position and tackles efficiently. With players like Ross Barkley averaging 1 tackle and 0.6 interceptions per game; Jack Wilshere averaging 1.3 tackles and 0.4 interceptions per game; James Milner averaging 1 tackle and 0.3 interceptions per game and Adam Lallana averaging 1.5 tackles and 1 interception per game, perhaps it was not a wise decision to take Frank Lampard who is the least versatile of the aforementioned and is likely to play the least amount of minutes.
With 2.7 tackles per game and 1.6 interceptions per game, Barry is a step above every England player when it comes to protecting the defence and he should have been on the plane to England.
* Statistics courtesy of WhoScored