Jonjo Shelvey [Photo Credit: FA]
Since I can remember, England managers have been derided for always picking players from the big teams, or having their favorites. Whilst it sounds petty and it sounds like sour grapes, it's mostly true. Chris Smalling has been in plenty of England squads on reputation alone, despite being an average defender and poor in possession, which is a cardinal sin in international football, while Curtis Davies is forced to watch England games from his living room sofa.

Roy Hodgson, however, despite the criticisms leveled at him, is starting to break the mould a little bit, though it may have taken a little bit too long. Nathaniel Clyne has been the best English right back for at least 2 years, yet the player he kept out of the Southampton team, Calum Chambers, moved to Arsenal and got a call-up. That's not to say that Chambers shouldn't be in the England set-up, just that Clyne should have been first choice for a while now. At least Hodgson has seen sense and finally called him up, which other managers may not have done.

Probably the clearest example of this philosophy starting to change is the inclusion of Jonjo Shelvey, an enigmatic but talented young midfielder. Shelvey has impressed at Swansea with his fantastic range of passing and eye for goal. The London-born midfielder should suit international football, as it is generally played at a slower pace and he excels in a possession based game. He is generally very composed but sometimes picks the wrong pass which can cause trouble, though this side of his game has improved since joining Swansea. What this may indicate is not only a change in selection policy but a change in playing style for England. Whereas before we aimed to sit back and break with pace, using Sterling and Sturridge's speed which is so often displayed at club level, maybe this indicates a shift to a possession based game.

Though Shelvey is often deployed in a deeper role, England still lack a proper holding midfielder. Attempts at playing Wilshere as a defensive midfielder will likely fail, though the national team appears to have an obsession with trying to play box-to-box midfielders in defensive positions, as Wilshere takes over Gerrard's mantle of not defending. There is a lack of top English holding midfielders at big clubs, so for some reason England just play without one, rather than look at other options at 'smaller' clubs. Every top team has a holding midfielder, not just a central midfielder. For every Xavi there's a Busquets, for every Fabregas a Matic and for every Yaya Toure there's a Fernandinho. England should look at the less glamorous options, such as Jack Cork, a talented midfielder who has been key to Southampton's superb early season form. Cork is technically proficient but reads the game superbly, allowing him to break up attacks and start them. Lee Cattermole is an unpopular choice, but one that should be explored. He has a very underrated technical side to his game but he also does the dirty work - it's surprising that such an archetypal English midfielder is so ignored, but then he plays for Sunderland, rather than Man United.

Andros Townsend makes another squad, despite being a wasteful footballer who offers very little but the odd wonder goal to a team. He's selfish, inconsistent and hasn't played regularly for months, but Townsend had a few good games for England 6 months ago, so he stays in, whilst the top scoring Englishman Saido Berahino goes to Croatia with the U21's. Berahino at 21 has fired 5 goals in 8 games this season for a team who many tipped to struggle. Though I think he should be in the England squad, I understand that maybe the U21's is best for him right now, it just seems bizarre to not call up the best English striker at this current moment.

Though England boss Hodgson has started to break the mould in terms of selection, there's a long way to go until England select players on form and ability rather than reputation, but with the exit of big name players like Gerrard and Lampard in recent years, maybe this will change, gradually.

Article contributed by:  Elliott Griffiths 

Twitter: @ElliottBCFC