IT has been a crazy week, so much so that the announcement of England’s Euro 2012 squad has seemed almost a secondary issue.
Congratulations must go to Leighton Baines, who secured his place in the 23-man squad, and deservedly so.
I heard one or two pundits debating whether the Everton man, as Ashley Cole’s understudy, was perhaps a wasted place in Roy Hodgson’s squad. What utter nonsense.
Baines’s performances deserve England recognition. Indeed, he is unfortunate that Cole has finished the season in such strong form, as for large parts of it Baines seemed the more consistent bet.
But while Leighton can dig out his passport and his suitcase, for his Everton colleague Phil Jagielka there will be an anxious wait, with the defender on ‘stand-by’ and stuck in limbo for the next few weeks.
I must say I was surprised that Jagielka was not selected. Hodgson’s bravest call came in omitting Rio Ferdinand - though his explanation of that decision, for me, lacked a touch of clarity - but I felt there was a compelling case to leave out another big-name centre back - John Terry.
It is clear that Terry and Ferdinand are past their best. The chance is there to build a new partnership, around Joleon Lescott, who is statistically England’s best central defender.
Jagielka, of course, has a good understanding with Lescott, from his Everton days, and I feel his performances over the past few years merited a call-up.
Unfortunately, he has been unlucky in that he suffered an injury at a key stage in the season, and has since struggled to win his place back.
He’ll be back, of course, but Jags is unlucky to miss out.