Roy Hodgson has named the squad he will be taking with him for the England match against Italy next Wednesday. You will - if you are a rational human being - not be at all surprised at the fact that there are no Villains on the squad. There are, however, a number of former Villains. Kyle Walker, James Milner, and Ashley Young are all continuing their positions as England regulars.
But why aren't there any Villains? Well, mostly because we don't have any players who rate highly enough to make the squad. I fully realize that the argument I'm about to pose is a strawman, I doubt anyone is saying this. But the thought comes to mind: if Villa have no one who rate for England, how good can they be? Is this something about which fans should be worried?
One thing to keep in mind is the fact that these teams are, for the most part, chosen in an extremely reactionary manner. The FA has historically tried to play the hot hand in picking its squads. Remember when Gabby had the amazing start last year and was picked? Then do you remember how he fell off the face of the earth and the England side? They're connected. There are a few players who will be picked regardless of their most recent form (Frank Lampard jumps to mind), but they are the players with a history of high performance. Villa end the season on a dour note, and their one England regular (Darren Bent) hasn't played competitively in quite a while.
But let's set the strawman aside for a second. Who could Villa put on the England side if things broke right going forward? Darren Bent will obviously get a look after he gets some more playing time. Gabby could return to form at any time and force his way in. And who knows, maybe Marc Albrighton could look like he did in his first season. It's hard to remember, but for at least the first half of 2010-11, there was a lot of talk about the fact that he needed a cap. He's still only 22, so it's not crazy to think he could return to that level.
So for Wednesday, we all have to be content with watching a Villa-free squad. That's alright, it probably won't be that way all year. And heck, the way the preseason is going, it's probably better that we're not giving more Villains another chance to injure themselves.