Rio Ferdinand has been left out of England’s Euro 2012 squad, with Steven Gerrard named as captain by manager Roy Hodgson.
As had been widely reported, the Manchester United defender’s name was missing from Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad when it was unveiled by the Football Association today.
Ferdinand’s long-time central defensive partner John Terry was included, which will force Hodgson on to the back foot when he speaks to the media at 2pm.
Hodgson sprang a couple of surprises, handing Arsenal teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Norwich keeper John Ruddy their first call-ups.
Birmingham keeper Jack Butland was among the list of five standby players, which also included Adam Johnson, Daniel Sturridge, Phil Jagielka and Jordan Henderson.
As expected, Liverpool’s Andy Carroll has squeezed in thanks to his late season form surge.
He is joined in the striking department by Danny Welbeck and Jermain Defoe, who has not started a competitive game for England since September 2010.
Hodgson had already indicated he would take Wayne Rooney, even though the Manchester United striker is suspended for the first two games of the tournament.
By leaving Ferdinand out of the squad Hodgson has avoided any possible tension between the Manchester United defender and Terry.
The Chelsea man is due to appear in court in July to answer allegations he racially abused Ferdinand’s brother Anton. Terry denies the charge.
Manchester United midfielders Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick both missed out and Theo Walcott, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young were handed wide berths in addition to Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The 18-year-old has started just six Premier League games for Arsenal and interim manager Stuart Pearce opted against bringing the winger into his squad for the February friendly with Holland.
However, he has taken advantage of Adam Johnson’s failure to cement a place in Manchester City’s drive for the title.
It means, barring injury, Johnson misses out for a second time, having also been axed from Fabio Capello’s provisional World Cup squad two years ago.
As also had been widely touted, Micah Richards was not included, with Hodgson electing to select only seven orthodox defenders, including Phil Jones and Joleon Lescott, who are both capable of filling more than one position.
The omission of Ferdinand remains the biggest talking point though.
On Friday, Alex Ferguson did suggest the 33-year-old was not capable of playing two matches in four days, which might have played a part in Hodgson’s eventual decision.
Ferdinand has been a regular for United this season though and was fit enough to play 45 minutes in last night’s testimonial match for Harry Gregg in Belfast.
The defender had made himself available despite the obvious potential for conflict with Terry.
Ferdinand is known to be unimpressed with today’s news though, which is likely to mark the end of his 81-cap England career and mean he will never have appeared at a European Championships.
He was not selected in 2000, missed out through suspension four years later and was part of an England squad that failed to qualify for Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren.
England have also revised their plans for next week, with Hodgson scrapping a planned training camp in Spain.
Instead, the Three Lions will meet up in Manchester on Wednesday evening before flying to Norway on Friday for their friendly in Oslo.
Seven days after that, England face Belgium at Wembley – although Ruddy will be missing, having been given special dispensation to leave the squad by Hodgson as he will get married on June 2.
England squad for Euro 2012:
Goalkeepers – Green (West Ham), Hart (Man City) Ruddy (Norwich).
Defenders – Baines (Everton), Cahill (Chelsea), Cole (Chelsea), Johnson (Liverpool), Jones (Man Utd), Lescott (Man City), Terry (Chelsea).
Midfielders – Barry (Man City), Downing (Liverpool), Gerrard (Liverpool), Lampard (Chelsea), Milner (Man City), Parker (Tottenham), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Walcott (Arsenal), Young (Man Utd).
Forwards – Carroll (Liverpool), Rooney (Man Utd), Welbeck (Man Utd), Defoe (Tottenham).