MITCH COOK’S COLUMN: Hodgson’s selection dilemma

England manager Roy Hodgson during the training session at London Colney Training Ground
England manager Roy Hodgson during the training session at London Colney Training Ground

We’ve seen this week the difficulties faced by whoever is manager of our national side.

Roy Hodgson has two important games coming up as we start the qualifiers for the 2016 World Cup 2014.

Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge (left) and Manchester City's Gael Clichy battle for the ball during the FA Community Shield at Villa Park, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Shield. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge (left) and Manchester City's Gael Clichy battle for the ball during the FA Community Shield at Villa Park, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Shield. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

The former Liverpool manager has picked four strikers in his squad for the games at Moldova and at home to Ukraine.

Andy Carroll, Danny Welbeck, Jemain Defoe and Daniel Sturridge have all made the cut, and we saw two of them move on in a bid to get first team football before the transfer window closed.

Carroll moved on loan from Liverpool to West Ham United, and that moved paved the way for Daniel Sturridge to join the Anfield club, also on loan, from Chelsea.

It is good that those two have moved on and will hopefully be playing more regular football and possibly scoring goals too.

The final draw for the UEFA Champions League group A, B, C, D,  is displayed on an electronic board after the draw, at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

The final draw for the UEFA Champions League group A, B, C, D, is displayed on an electronic board after the draw, at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

To be selected for England, especially as a forward, you should be scoring goals and getting minutes under your belt at club level, and those two will hopefully start getting both now.

Defoe should get games for Tottenham, if not as a first XI regular, while Welbeck could be sat on the bench a lot this year with the arrival of Robin van Persie and the likes of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez ahead of him.

Hopefully Rooney’s freak injury from last week will heal quickly and he can get back into contention sooner rather than later.

The Champions League draw was made in the week, and there were mixed results for the English sides in the hat.

The final draw for the UEFA Champions League group E, F, G, H,  is displayed on an electronic board after the draw, at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

The final draw for the UEFA Champions League group E, F, G, H, is displayed on an electronic board after the draw, at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Manchester City were handed the toughest draw.

They’re in with the champions of Spain, Germany and Holland in their group in Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax. In all fairness that group wouldn’t look out of place as the semi-final draw.

They’ll do well to get out of that group, but they are of course more than capable of doing so.

Chelsea’s toughest game on paper lies against Juventus, but they face tricky ties against FC Nordsjaelland and Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Danish champions have only been going 25 years so this is a huge achievement for them, while the Ukrainian side will be out of season during parts of the tournament, so it will depend on form.

Arsenal were in pot one for the draw, which seems a bit odd. They met the criteria to be in there so it is fair enough, but maybe they should look at the way the groups are drawn.

I believe it should be an open draw personally, with the only rule being you can’t play another side from your own country in the group stages.

Nevertheless, Arsenal face German side Schalke 04, French champions Montpellier Herault SC and Olympiakos from Greece.

It will be an interesting group, but one that Arsenal should qualify from.

Everyone is saying how easy Manchester United’s draw was after we were paired with Galatasaray, SC Braga and CFR 1907 Cluj.

But United had a comfortable draw last year and we weren’t able to qualify from that. So maybe it won’t be as straight forward as everyone is making out.