Friday 20 April 2018

Hodgson hoping U-21s can fill gaps in threadbare Reds squad

Ian Herbert

Liverpool exposed yesterday the lack of depth and experience in their squad by naming just 21 players out of a maximum of 25 for the first half the Premier League season.

Among those included by the Merseyside club were the new signing Paul Konchesky and Ryan Babel, whose future at the club had been in doubt.

Roy Hodgson's squad will be relying to some extent on their U-21 players -- as will Aston Villa, who named just 22 players and who, in the absence of a manager since Martin O'Neill's departure, have since added only Stephen Ireland as part of the deal which took Gareth Barry to Manchester City. The club have taken the unusual step of naming only two goalkeepers.

Villa, however, can call upon the likes of Marc Albrighton, Nathan Delfouneso, Barry Bannan and Ciaran Clark -- all of whom have played for the first team this season -- as well as Fabian Delph.

Clubs cannot change their squads -- which must include at least eight 'home-grown players' -- until the beginning of the January transfer window. Unlimited U-21 players can be used though, meaning Manchester City's Mario Balotelli did not have to be part of his club's squad.


Manchester City shipped out enough of their players through sales and loans to prevent any high-profile names being omitted.

Roque Santa Cruz was included, after his deadline day loan move to Lazio fell through. Fellow striker Felipe Caicedo, whose new loan deal at Spanish side Levante was announced four hours after the transfer window closed, would not have made the squad.

Wolves' Michael Kightly has been left out of Mick McCarthy's 25-man squad after suffering a setback in his recovery from knee problems. The 24-year-old winger has not played since November 2009 because of a patella tendon injury and is now likely to go out on loan once he is fully fit.

West Ham chairman David Sullivan expressed delight at the club's transfer activity after Lars Jacobsen was confirmed as the Hammers' ninth summer signing.

The move was arranged on Tuesday, but checks were made yesterday to ensure the relevant paperwork had been submitted before the 6.0 deadline.

Everton defender Joseph Yobo completed his move to Turkish side Fenerbahce on a season-long loan. The deal, which includes the option to make the transfer permanent next summer, went through yesterday afternoon.

Stoke's transfer deadline day coup of landing Eidur Gudjohnsen from Monaco became even bigger yesterday after they converted his loan move into a one-year deal.

Irish Independent

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