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Roy Hodgson mystifies us with his England selection

Three Everton players in - but a fourth surprisingly misses out

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

As England manager I appreciate that Roy Hodgson is on a hiding to nothing and he will get stick whatever squad he chooses. However, he really doesn't help himself at times.

His latest squad, for a European qualifier against Lithuania and friendly with Italy, sees Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka retain their places in defence while Ross Barkley is included in midfield.

Yet John Stones - who is arguably Everton's most consistent player this season, misses out with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling picked ahead of him.

In fact Baines, Jagielka and Barkley have all suffered inconsistent spells this year so looked more at risk to be left out - except in the world of Roy Hodgson.

Stones has done nothing wrong in his four England appearances so far, often played out of position, so it seems strange that he is dropped.

The inclusion of Jones and Smalling ahead of him is even more puzzling and reeks of 'big club' bias as they have done little to deserve a place ahead of the 20-year-old.

From a purely selfish point of view it is perhaps a good thing Stones is keep away from the limelight, though he probably won't get the chance to rest as he will almost certainly be in the Under-21 squad.

Elsewhere, Harry Kane gets a call-up for the first time, while Baines will have to compete with Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw for the left-back spot.

England squad: Fraser Forster, Joe Hart; Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne, Kieran Gibbs, Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker; Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick, Fabian Delph, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend, Theo Walcott; Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck