If the England Squad were wines, what would they be?

Roy Hodgson has just named his England squad for the 2014 world cup. Already there’s been the inevitable amount of criticism and analysis. But has anyone actually bothered to compare each player with a wine to give a fresh perspective on the the character of each squad member? Let’s hope not, because we have!

So check out our carefully selected list of 23 wines to complement the fine young men ready to do England proud in Brazil this summer (or if you’d prefer read some other footie articles or discover some useful knowledge about wine).

GOALKEEPERS

joe hart winePLAYER: Joe Hart (Manchester City, 39 Caps)increasingly mature keeper, prone to the odd quirk. Aspires to be world class and shows glimpses of achieving it.

WINE: Antaño Crianza Rioja (Tesco, £9) Made from Tempranillo – a full bodied grape producing naturally high tannins. Compares favourably with the higher regarded Cabernet Sauvignon without quite achieving its class.  ‘Crianza’ means aged in oak for one year – so nicely matured but still got a way to go until it’s a rioja ‘reserva’. 

ben fosterPLAYER: Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion, 6 Caps) – A dependable mid-range keeper. You’re glad you’ve got him in the squad but he’s not going to come off the bench barring emergencies.

WINE: Jacob’s Creek Shiraz (Tesco, £7.59). In every corner shop in the country and many a kitchen cupboard for a reason. You know you’re getting a decent, dependable and affordable wine.

fraser forster winePLAYER: Fraser Forster (Celtic, 1 Cap) – Got his break in Scotland and hence largely unknown to a domestic audience, apart from being very tall

WINE: Paul Cluver Gewürztraminer (Waitrose, £11.99) – A niche wine, grown away from its native home. Presented in a strikingly tall bottle.

DEFENDERS

leighton baines winePLAYER: Leighton Baines (Everton, 22 Caps) – often taking his style inspiration from the 60s, yet very much a modern maurauding full back. Got a break at Wigan and constantly improving. Takes a good corner.

WINE: Devils Corner Chardonnay (Amazon Grocery, £11.49) – A somewhat retro wine that is very much the flavour of the month. Produced in the slightly far-flung but ever improving Tazmania. More acidic than in previous incarnations.

luke shaw winePLAYER: Luke Shaw (Southampton, 1 Cap) – A young upstart that’s ousted a well established senior squad member. Unproven at the highest level but has massive potential and courted by many a wealthy suitor.

WINE: All That Jazz Pinot Noir (Footballers’ Wines £14.99) – A New Zealand Pinot Noir that’s making a big impression early-doors, rivaling old world giants in a pound-for-pound contest.

gary cahill winePLAYER: Gary Cahill (Chelsea, 22 Caps) – increasingly dependable ball playing defender capable of scoring vital goals.

WINE: Folonari Pinot Grigio (Christopher Piper Wines, £7.51). From Italy – the home of defending, comes Italy’s most famous wine. Marked by mouthwatering acidity and bright green-apple flavors this is one wine that has attacking potential but is unlikely to let you down.

phil jagielka winePLAYER: Phil Jagielka (Everton, 24 Caps) – Classic English centre-back, happy to head crosses away all day long. Good, without being truly outstanding.

WINE: Finca El Origen Malbec (M&S £6.66) A no-nonsense single grape, full bodied, very drinkable albeit not from the top-draw.

glen johnson winePLAYER: Glen Johnson (Liverpool, 50 Caps) – Like most full-backs he’s a frustrated winger that enjoys getting forward. Asks as many questions as he answers, but rarely has a disaster.

WINE: City of Oaks Sauvignon Blanc (Morrisons, £7.99) Strong on the attack phase of tasting, not going to let you down. Crisp and zingy. Can divide opinion.

phil jones winePLAYER: Phil Jones (Manchester United, 9 Caps) – Well built, with big potential but not sure of his best position

WINE: Chardonnay “Empreinte” 2011, Uvavins Caves de la Côte, Morges. (Nick Dobson Wines, £18.18) A nice wine presented in a sturdy and striking bottle. Yet as a Swiss wine, gets overlooked for most people’s first choice.

chris smalling winePLAYER: Chris Smalling (Manchester United, 10 Caps) – Mr. versatility, playing across the back four. Came up through the non-league system.

WINE: Tatomer Californian Reisling . A versatile wine from a small but up and coming producer. Covers every inch of the palette with flavour.

MIDFIELDERS

ross barkley winePLAYER: Ross Barkley (Everton, 3 Caps) – Young, creative, slightly unrefined but effervescent and pretty punchy

WINE: Lavit Brut Cava (Morrisons £13.99) – Contemporary bubbles with a refreshing citrus zing

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain WinePLAYER: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal, 14 Caps) – stocky yet skilful, plays with a smile on his face whatever position the manager requests.

WINE: Via di Cavallo Chianti (Tesco, £11.99) – A medium bodied versatile red that can accompany a variety of food. Given the right exposure it could become a regular.

Steven Gerrard WinePLAYER: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, 109 Caps) – A member of the old guard, yet still with a huge amount to offer. Refined ball playing midfielder with stand-out traditional character.

WINE: Château Fourcas-Dupré 2004 Listrac Médoc (Majestic £16.99) – Blend of classic red grapes. Beautifully matured for over a decade into a rolls-royce of an old world wine.

jordan henderson winePLAYER: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool 8 Caps) – Most improved player of the season – likely to start in the ‘water carrier’ role.

WINE: La Umbra Merlot (Waitrose, £6.49) –  Excellent value Red. The price reflects its production in Romania – a region that has all the right elements for great wine production and is starting to produce the goods on a consistent basis.

Adam Lallana winePLAYER: Adam Lallana (Southampton, 3 Caps) – A latecomer to the top level but already a natural in international football. An Englishman with a European style. Smooth and unflappable.

WINE: Foxhole 2013 Pinot Noir (Bolney Estate £15.99). Pinot Noir is a tricky grape to grow, so it’s to the credit of the English vineyard that they’ve produced this award winning, refined newcomer.

Jack Wilshire WinePLAYER: Jack Wilshire (Arsenal, 15 Caps) – a skilful terrier, unafraid to mix it at the highest level

WINE: All That Jazz Sauvignon Blanc (Footballers’ Wines, £9.99) – Young, classy with an edge, vibrant; crisp passer with nuanced style

raheem sterling winePLAYER: Raheem Sterling (Liverpool, 2 Caps) – Young, skilful and pacy. Darting wing-play or intelligent roaming as a number 10 make him an English youth product to watch.

WINE: Coquille d’Oc Rosé (Waitrose £7.49) – Made by an english producer in the south of france, this fresh, young wine can take on the world.

james milner winePLAYER: James Milner (Manchester City, 45) –  ‘Solid if unspectacular’ could almost be his middle name. A firm favourite of the manager who loves his workrate.

WINE: Hardy’s VR Shiraz (Ocado 6.99) – Hardys sold 30 million bottles of wine in 2013 making them the worlds’ best selling wine brand. This middle of the road, easy drinking Shiraz isn’t going to dance across your tastebuds, but will do a decent job for an everyday price.

frank lampard winePLAYER: Frank Lampard (Chelsea, 103 Caps) – Other younger players were knocking on the door. But although he probably won’t play a key role, he’s still too good to drop from the squad.

WINE: Hunter Valley Semillion 2002 (Majestic, £25) – A rare wine that improves with age over a longer period – but reaching its last hoorah now. So get drinking while the going’s good.

STRIKERS

rickie lambert winePLAYER: Rickie Lambert (Southampton, 4 Caps) – A much improved budget player who despite being late to the party has a certain, and sometimes surprising, effectiveness at any level.

WINE: Tinwood Estate Brut 2009 (Footballers’ Wines £23.99) – A very good vintage English sparkling white, produced on an estate near Southampton. On its day it can compete with some of the more fancied champagne.

wayne rooney winePLAYER: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United, 89 Caps) – A much hyped and astronomically well-paid player that seems to have been around for ever. Many superb moments for club and country without quite fulfilling his player of a generation potential.

WINE: Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label (Tesco £31.99) – Constant marketing campaigns and successful branding has kept it in the public eye for a long time. It’s still a lovely drop. But for the money there’s some smaller producers in the champagne region that are making better wines.

daniel sturridge winePLAYER: Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, 10 Caps) – Talented yet sporadic player reinvents himself as a much improved goal scoring machine. Found the back of the net with pleasing regularity for club and country in 2013-14 and is England’s bright young hope for the Golden Boot.

WINE: Some Young Punks Fierce Allure Cabernet Sauvignon (All About Wine, £19.99) – Something of a youthful revolution, with the freshest branding in wine. This classic, herbaceous red with brooding tannins packaged in a modern style is ready to take the wine world by storm.

Danny Wellbeck WinePLAYER: Danny Wellbeck (Manchester United, 21 Caps) – Everyone likes him – he looks cheerful, seems adaptable (up top or on the wing). But lack of experience and perhaps a touch of quality means he doesn’t make the top table of  European strikers.

WINE: Casillero del Diablo Merlot (Tesco, £5.99) A lot of people like this ever popular chilean merlot (reflected in the fact that they sponsor Man Utd). It’s a medium-bodied, punchy wine, readily available at the corner shop so you can pick it up on the way home from work and have it with a spag bol. But needing to take a bottle to impress at a dinner party you might leave this one at home. .

 

What do you make of our selection? Let us know in the comments section below.

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