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England’s first steps to Euro 2012 Success?



Roy Hodgson has only been in charge of England for three games but, on the evidence of yesterday’s 1-1 draw with France, he is already stamping his identity firmly on the team.

England were organised and resolute in defence, they continued to fight until the end of the 90 minutes against a strong French side.

While the opening game in Group D was not pretty, England’s gritty defensive performance will have given them confidence that they can contain Europe’s best at the finals.

Hodgson believes the result will act as a springboard for a successful first round, with England facing Sweden in Kiev on Friday before taking on Ukraine in their last Group D match.

Joleon Lescott heads home from 6-yards

At times the Three Lions showed glimpses of attacking talent, the team were durable but lacking flair, this however was more than expected against a French team that is now 22 matches unbeaten.

Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain particularly impressed, when in possession of the ball he showed great control to skip past 2 or 3 defenders at a time. Danny Welbeck also displayed a promising performance, the 21-year-old had a tough job to do, playing as a lone striker against les Blues experienced defence.

‘The Ox’ has impressed in his first two matches for England

Throughout the match, England passed the ball around in the French half with great confidence; this was particularly pleasing to see. Hodgson is clearly trying to implement a more attractive style of football – a philosophy similar to the likes of Spain and Germany.

As always, Parker and Gerrard worked well together in central midfield, it’s just a shame they haven’t been playing together for longer – the partnership seems to work extremely well both in defence and when moving forward to assist in attack. However both players spent most of the evening scrapping for possession in a combative game dominated by Nasri and co.

Gerrard battled bravely in midfield for England

The ex-West Brom manager’s strength lies in the way he organises his teams defensively and he employed two lines of four against the more inventive French, deep inside England’s half.

The secret behind this draw for England was clearly in the organisation and quality of the back four.

John Terry and Joleon Lescott were sure-footed in the heart of the defence while Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole, winning his 95th cap, generally thwarted Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri when they came down the wings.

Although France largely dominated the second half, Gerrard and Parker’s bravery in midfield added further protection to the English defensive lines.

Lescott’s added bonus was his first goal for England, a powerful header from a Gerrard free kick after 30 minutes, while the only time France pierced the English defensive shield was when Nasri struck from outside the box nine minutes later.

Nasri scores France’s equaliser

Hart also had a fine game, producing some great saves to foil Benzema on several occasions.

France had 15 attempts on target to England’s one and 19 in all compared to three. These statistics suggest the Three Lions did just about enough, however I feel our attacking threat will have to improve if Hodgson wishes to progress to the quarter finals. Sweden and Ukraine will be no push-overs; the squad will need to be able to score goals to take 3 points off both sides.

For years England have underperformed in major tournaments after over-hyped media build-ups but they have come into this one with little expectation of doing well at all.

However, they showed against France that while not a great team, they might become a hard one to beat. There were glimpses of their promise in 1-0 friendly wins over Norway and Belgium and they sustained that form in their first real test.

If they get at least a point against Sweden in Kiev on Friday, the return of striker Wayne Rooney from a two-match suspension for the final group match against Ukraine on June 19 could help them over the line and into the last eight.

England Player Ratings:

Joe Hart
Began by flapping at a cross but then made a good save from Cabaye and an outstanding reflex stop to deny Diarra. Was beaten at his near-post for Nasri’s equaliser but could claim, with some justification, to being unsighted. 6/10

Glen Johnson
Made a strong early challenge on Ribery and mostly dealt well with the France winger’s movement. Could take part of the blame, though, for France’s first goal afte failing to disrupt or read the slick interchange between Malouda and Ribery. 6

John Terry
Started the match with a decisive interception and was generally commanding in the centre of England’s defence but was partially culpable for the collective failure to close Nasri for France’s goal. 7

Joleon Lescott
Looked nervous initially and was guilty of conceding possession too easily with some poorly aimed clearances. A real threat, though, from set pieces and peeled off superbly at the back post to head England into the lead. 7

Made a rash early challenge on Nasri and struggled at times to cover the movement of the Manchester City midfielder. Also offered less penetration than usual in attack as England defended increasingly deeply. 6

James Milner
Offered little width on the right but was effective in regularly drifting into a central position. Should also have scored after taking the ball around Lloris and shooting into the side-netting. Also won the free-kick for England’ s goal. 6

Steven Gerrard
Produced outstanding dead-ball delivery to provide the assist for Lescott’ s goal and, while he at least read the danger, was unable to get out quickly enough to block Nasri’s shot. Also wayward with some of his passing. 6

Scott Parker
Was occasionally made to look ponderous by some of the quick-footed French midfielders but did an admirable job shielding the England defence while also making an incisive pass to help Young create excellent first-half chance. 7

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Quickly pounced on mistake by Rami to drive into France’s defence and also produced a wonderfully skilled run past Diarra. Showed inexperience, though, when he jumped into challenge on Debuchy to concede dangerous free-kick and collect booking. 6

Ashley Young
Given licence to roam as the second central striker behind Welbeck and produced a defence splitting pass for Milner which could easily have resulted in an England goal. Booked for a dangerous second-half challenge on Benzema. 7

Danny Welbeck
Looked in serious pain after taking a kick to the ankle early in the match but recovered to give the French back four significant problems with his link-up play and movement, despite not actually threatening to score himself. 7

Substitutes: Jermain Defoe was introduced for Oxlade-Chamberlain as Hodgson waited until the 77th minute before making his first substitutions. Jordan Henderson was also brought on for Parker, who looked short of match fitness, while Theo Walcott provided an added injection of pace when he replaced Welbeck in the closing minutes.

Chris is the founder of The Boot Room. He is a Swindon Town supporter, having lived in Wiltshire for most of his years. His work has also featured on Squawka, Bleacher Report and Eurosport.


Three Arsenal youngsters who could help England bring football home in 2022

The Gunners’ academy continues to develop some of the very best youngsters.



Photo: Getty Images

After a successful tournament got the nation dreaming, England fell at the penultimate at the World Cup and may require Arsenal‘s help in 2022.

Gareth Southgate’s youthful squad exceeded pre-tournament expectations and suddenly Greg Dyke’s objectives for the 2022 World Cup seem within grasp – and the Three Lions now have four years to build towards glory in Qatar.

Come November 2022, when FIFA has confirmed the World Cup will commence, Southgate is likely to call upon a number of the players who starred for the Three Lions in Russia but changes to his squad are also inevitable.

“The two targets I have for the England team are – one, to at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and two, win the World Cup in 2022.”

– FA Chairman Greg Dyke reveals his ambitious plan in 2013.

Fortunately, English football is breaming with exciting young talent at the moment and Arsenal may hold the key to success with three of their most highly-rated prospects.

Eddie Nketiah

Bursting onto the scene in November 2017, Eddie Nketiah became an instant hit at the Emirates Stadium after netting twice against Norwich City in the Carabao Cup. Since then, the 19-year-old forward has gone on to make three Premier League appearances.

Competition for places at Arsenal is fierce, particularly following the captures of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the past 12 months, which means he may have to be patient to get his chance – but the situation is entirely different on the international stage.

In four England U21 appearances, Nketiah has scored two goals, per TransferMarkt stats, following on from eight goals in eight games at U18 level and four goals in two games for the U17 side. In just over a year, Nketiah rose to Aidy Boothroyd’s U21 ranks from the U17’s and shows no signs of stopping his rise.

(Photo by Bertrand Langlois/Getty Images)

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Becoming a regular for Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s final season at the Emirates Stadium, Ainsley Maitland-Niles showed his versatility by catching the eye playing as a full-back. His natural position is in midfield though and this is where he could be of value to England.

It is fair to say that England’s options in the middle of the park sitting in front of the defence are extremely limited, with neither Jordan Henderson or Eric Dier doing enough to cement their spot in the position for the long-term.

Maitland-Niles could become the man England are looking for in the coming years and further first-team experience with Arsenal looks set to follow under Unai Emery, as the 20-year-old penned a new long-term deal with the Gunners last month.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Reiss Nelson

Arsenal fans have been excited about 18-year-old Reiss Nelson for a while now and saw the teenager break into the fringes of the first-team last term, as Whoscored data shows he finished the campaign with 15 appearances across all competitions.

Eight of those opportunities came as a starter, including two in the Premier League, and there is every chance Nelson could earn further action under the guidance of Unai Emery next term – especially as Alex Iwobi has not done enough to warrant continued action.

Should the Nigeria international continue to suffer with poor form, the eight-cap England U19 international could be Arsenal’s breakthrough star of the year – following in the footsteps of players like Maitland-Niles, Jack Wilshere and Hector Bellerin.

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Who will bring football home? England’s predicted World Cup 2022 squad

Players from Everton, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United and even Bristol City feature.

Mathew Nash



England were desperately close to making it into the World Cup final, after defeat to Croatia in the semi-finals.

The Three Lions did however bring back some pride and promise from the long-suffering England fans.

With England also the World Under-17 and Under-20 Champions, the future is brighter than ever.

So who will be at the World Cup in 2022?

It seems impossible to guess four years in advance. Not many would have suggested the likes of Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire or Jesse Lingard four years ago.

(Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

The squad, hopefully, will not change much and the experienced players in the squad will likely still be around.

However, for the sake of the article and debate, anyone who will be over 30 in 2022 has been ignored. That leaves Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jamie Vardy and Danny Welbeck in the cold, even if some of them will likely be present.

Eric Dier also got nudged out, as his form recently has been a concern and Nick Pope has been replaced.

So who makes the XI and the overall squad of 23?


Jordan Pickford

The Everton stopper cemented his place as England’s new number one during the quarter-final triumph over Sweden. Highly-rated by club and country and with excellent distribution it will be no surprise if he remains England’s first-choice in 2022.

(Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Jack Butland

What a deputy. The Stoke City goalkeeper could easily be our number one. The Potters relegation will hopefully not set him back and he should push Pickford for years to come.

Angus Gunn

The son of a Scotland international has so far rejected their international calls. Recently joined Southampton for £13.5 million and will hope to cement his place as a Premier League regular.

Honourable mentions: Nick Pope, Freddie Woodman, Dean Henderson.


John Stones

Despite one lapse of concentration which cost England crucially against Croatia the Manchester City man was excellent in Russia.

If he maintains a starting place at City and his career is not derailed, then Stones will be one of the leaders in Qatar.

Harry Maguire

Became a national hero this summer. A swashbuckling defender with an eye for a goal and a great meme. Should be a multi-cap England international.

Joe Gomez

Replacing Kyle Walker as the pace-man in a back three is Liverpool’s Gomez. If he can combat his recent injury troubles he will be a certain future England player. Remember how he shackled Neymar back in November.

Jamaal Lascelles

For many people, the Newcastle captain should have been in Russia ahead of Phil Jones or Gary Cahill.

Rightly so. A brilliant leader who would slot into a back three perfectly and deserves to be in the England fold for the next four years.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St. James Park on April 15, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Dael Fry

The Middlesbrough defender is one inclusion that may cause derision. But this lad is extremely talented.

A reliable defender, good with the ball at his feet and a favourite at St George’s Park. Fry will hope to emerge as an England hopeful in the years to come.

Honourable mentions: Eric Dier, Alfie Mawson, Michael Keane, Ben Wilmot.


Trent Alexander-Arnold

Already in the England picture and shone v Belgium. Will likely play in the ¾ play-off this weekend. In four years he might be playing in the final.

Jonjoe Kenny

A tough call this but the Everton defender is like the Kieran Trippier to Alexander-Arnold’s Walker-like characteristics.

Whilst the Liverpool man has the pace and the power Kenny is more deliberate and his crossing is fantastic.

A favourite with the England youth management and the eventual successor to Seamus Coleman at Goodison Park.

Honourable mentions: Kyle Walker-Peters, Dujon Sterling, Steven Sessegnon.

Ryan Sessegnon

A shoe-in for 2022 if he remains fit and healthy. The Fulham star is perhaps England’s most exciting prospect.

He might even be considered an attacker by 2022 but for now, he would be an excellent left wing-back and will hopefully make his England bow this season.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Joe Bryan

This might be the biggest swing and potential miss in the squad. The Bristol City star is wanted by a host of clubs this summer after his fantastic form at Ashton Gate.

But he is a hard-working and super-fit young man who, given the right opportunities, is easily capable of playing for his nation.

Honourable mentions: Lewis Gibson, Luke Shaw, Ben Chilwell


Lewis Cook

Absolutely adored by the England camp the Bournemouth man has already made his England debut. More positive in his passing than Jordan Henderson and more dynamic than Eric Dier, he is surely the future of England’s composed holding role.

Harry Winks

Set for a big break at Tottenham this season he has the potential to be an England star. If he can overcome his current injury trouble he would seem like being a shoe-in for 2022.

Phil Foden

England lacked a midfielder who could pick the locks of the Croatia defence in the semi-finals. This is the young man to do just that. The Manchester City youngster needs to break into the first-team fold but given what he has already achieved that should not be a problem.

(Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

A lot depends on his next move, as Chelsea does not seem to be the right place for RLC to develop.

Showed in all his England performances that he is a talent to keep an eye on for the future and England will surely nurture him.

Dele Alli

May not have set the world alight in Russia, but the Tottenham star’s talent cannot be overlooked.

If he can get to the level he is capable of, then Alli is a 100-cap man with ease.

Jesse Lingard

Can he continue to prove people wrong for another four years?

Excellent at the World Cup and been in fine form for Manchester United. If he continues to progress in this way, then he should still be in the England set-up four years from now.

James Maddison

A tough choice considering the wealth of attacking midfield talent but the Leicester newbie seems the most likely to reach the levels necessary to play at a World Cup.

The £24 million talent can play a number of positions and is a special talent the Premier League will enjoy watching next term.

Honourable mentions: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nathaniel Chalobah, Ross Barkley, Jack Grealish, Kieran Dowell,


Raheem Sterling

He divided opinion among some at this summer’s World Cup. But under the guidance of Pep Guardiola he will continue to improve.

Whether out wide or through the middle, England will surely stick by the attacker.

(Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Harry Kane

The nation’s current captain and front-runner for the Golden Boot award at this summer’s tournament it is hard to see how he won’t lead the line again in four years time.

If he keeps going at his current rate, Kane will surely take Wayne Rooney’s goal-scoring record for England.

Ademola Lookman

Some felt the Everton attacker was unlucky not to go this summer. After thriving on loan at RB Leipzig it seemed he might make a late lunge.

This summer is big for Lookman. He needs to decide where is best to carry on his career which could be key to a future England career.

Marcus Rashford

The Manchester United talent can surely only get better. If he can become a regular starter, wherever he happens to play his club football then the teenager will hope to secure a place in Qatar.

Honourable mentions: Dominic Solanke, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Eddie Nketiah.

Who did we miss? Can England bring football home in 2022?

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Three Everton players who could help England bring football home in 2022

Everton have a long list of top talents coming through that could make it into the England team.

Mathew Nash



England are out of the World Cup following defeat against Croatia in the semi-finals last night. But the future looks bright for England. They had the second youngest team in the tournament and are the current under-20 and under-17 World Champions.

So who could help them bring football home at Qatar 2022?

When looking at Everton’s current crop, it is hard to pick just one.

Ademola Lookman is an excellent attacker, although could be on his way. Callum Connolly’s versatility makes him a manager’s dream whilst Tom Davies had a brilliant 2016-17 season, even if last term was less impressive.

But here are the three Everton players who might have a chance of heading to Qatar in four years time.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Like England’s summer hero Harry Maguire the 21-year-old came through the ranks at Sheffield United. Since joining Everton his progress has been astonishing.

He is already a hero for England. He scored the winner for England’s under-20s last summer as they won the World Cup.

With striking positions set to be up for grabs in four years time, DCL will no doubt be in the running.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Kieran Dowell

The spindly playmaker is adored in the England and Everton set-ups for his God-given natural talent.

Stormed into a loan spell at Nottingham Forest last season, which admittedly dwindled toward the end.

But with his dexterity and ability, only injury and himself could hold Dowell back from making it to Qatar.

(during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Leicester, England.

Jonjoe Kenny

Dowell’s best mate and England’s trusted right-back at youth level. His cross-city rival Trent Alexander-Arnold may be catching the eye but Kenny is no slouch.

An exquisite crosser of the ball and defensively sound he is the Trippier if Alexander-Arnold is the Walker of England’s future right-back choices.

Like Dowell, eligible for Ireland, so England, must ensure the Everton pair are aware of their pathway.

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