Why the inclusion of these Spurs and Manchester United stars represent a solid Euro 2016 squad
Roy Hodgson announced his 23 man squad and subsequently revealed the three players that would not be making it to the Euros in France. Fabian Delph helped whittle down the squad selection through injury, leaving two people to be axed for the tournament. These players were Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater and Newcastle winger Andros Townsend, neither of which crucially impressed in the pre-tournament friendlies but did put their names in the hat with high quality displays in the Premier League in 2015/16..
There has been a great deal of debate surrounding whether Danny Drinkwater should have been included in the squad over the likes of Jack Wilshere who had played nowhere near the amount of football that the league winner has. Furthermore, while Andros Townsend has been one of the favourites to be dropped since the announcement of the original 26 man squad, the former Spurs winger was in the form of his life towards the end of the campaign and if he had spent more time at Newcastle, he may well have been able to change their fortunes.
In terms of the goalkeepers, Hodgson has made a well-rounded and widely accepted decision with the three that he has named. Joe Hart has held the number one shirt for a number of years and will continue to for the foreseeable future, with the recent injury to Jack Butland potentially halting his progression towards the top spot. Fraser Forster is a more than acceptable understudy for Hart and will provide sound cover in the event that Hart is injured. Burnley keeper Tom Heaton has impressed in the Championship this term, and although almost completely untested on the international stage, is not a ‘keeper prone to making a horrendous error – encouraging should the worst be realised and his presence be required on the field
I have no particular qualms with the defence either. It does not seem possible that he could have included any better players than those selected, unless he would have opted for Leicester defender Danny Simpson. If Roy were to include Simpson, it would not have been wise to replace him for another defensive selection due to the lack of options that have already been selected at centre-back. Perhaps it would have been slightly more astute to not take another midfield or attacking option in order to be sure of the defence, but in hindsight, Eric Dier can cover in that position.
Midfield holds some of the biggest issues for fans. It seems as though the main problems that people have are surrounding the inclusions of Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere, both of whom have been struggling recently and in the long term with injury problems. Hodgson said in a press conference that “we do not have many Jack Wilshere’s”, which of course is true. He can do things on the ball that other players cannot and has received Man of the Match awards for many of his more recent England appearances. However, it has shown the national team set-up that certain players are placed into the squad on merit rather than form, which is not necessarily an acceptable method of selection – nor an encouraging one.
The omission of Danny Drinkwater has angered many fans due to the statistics surrounding his previous season compared to that of Wilshere. The rest of the choices are all more than worthy, and with James Milner recently been announced as the “fifth best player” at the Euros, as well as the inclusion of young talent such as Dele Alli, Hodgson has made more correct decisions than wrong ones. Theo Walcott and The Ox were notably left out of the squad due to injury and form problems, which begs the question surrounding as to why Wilshere was included. One notable player that many would have loved to see in an England shirt is league winner Marc Albrighton.
With forwards, Hodgson has made no mistakes. There are a lot of people that would have loved to have seen Wayne Rooney without a place in the squad, but those onlookers must be delirious. Rooney is England’s current top scorer, captain, and is also the global media icon for the side. Without the United forward. the side would be without any air of significant international experience up front, as well as a player who seems to play such a crucial part in the build up to tournaments, regardless of how he actually performs at them. With his age and experience, Rooney has become more versatile and in recent games, he has really impressed with how his input can change the game.
The inclusion of both Vardy and Kane is evidently correct with the amount of goals they scored last season and the partnership they seem to have formed in recent games. Daniel Sturridge has struggled with injury this season – hardly a rarity – but in the matches that he has played in this season, he has often enjoyed an important role, an example of which being the Europa League final – and he will be a great option for rotation or a substitution in France.
Perhaps the biggest talking point of the squad is Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford, who is only eighteen. The striker has gone from strength to strength this season and has scored in many of his “debuts”, such as his first European game, his first Premier League game, his first Manchester derby and his first England appearance, giving him the record of the youngest England International to score in his first match.
Rashford has taken many accolades previously held by influential footballers, and himself has become an integral part of a Manchester United side that; before his inclusion, seemed to be bereft of confidence. Wayne Rooney was included in the England squad at a fairly young age, and although Rashford has still until recently been attending school, he is definitely worth the potential gamble that it surely is to take him to the competition.
In my opinion therefore, Hodgson has got more right than wrong with his selection. He has potentially made mistakes, but the proof will be in the pudding when the tournament begins on the 10th of June. Until then, the side have one more friendly against Portugal where the nation can obtain one last taste of what to expect before the side storm into France.
Written by Regan Foy
Featured Image: All rights reserved by phimmoi nhat.
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