England’s Euro Squad

England’s Euro Squad
Feb 19, 2016

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With Euro 16 coming soon after the end of the season and several places in Roy Hodgson’s squad still up for grabs, I will be seeking to answer the several question marks hovering over positions in the 23-man squad

Goalkeepers

Joe Hart
Undisputed first choice goalkeeper for England for years. The Manchester City keeper has time and time again proven himself to be a world class goalkeeper, both at international level and with his club, the former Shrwesbury man would need a rapid decline in form to be pushed out of the number 1 jersey ahead of Euro 16. Additionally, he turns 29 before the tournament begins and goalkeepers tend to peak around that age.

Verdict: In the squad, starting

Jack Butland
The Stoke keeper was unknown a few years ago but following Asmir Begovic’s departure to Chelsea, few Stoke fans would claim to be worse off as Butland’s superb shot-stopping and fantastic decision-making despite his young age have been a key part of Stoke’s push for the Europa League. However, it seems highly unlikely that England will replace Joe Hart unnecessarily with an inexperienced stopper at a tournament that they surely cannot afford to fail in following their flop in the World Cup. The goalkeeper is an essential position in a team and a sub-standard performance could ruin Butland’s career. Just ask Rob Green.

Verdict: In the squad, benched

Fraser Forster
The 27 year old stands at a staggering 2 metres and was key in Southampton’s fantastic 2014/15 season. His form for Celtic before that was spectacular with Lionel Messi claiming he was considered as a replacement for Victor Valdes after he produced a breathtaking performance as the Scottish champions beat Barcelona 2-1 in the Champions League. His ability was again proven against Arsenal as he won man of the match and denied the title-chasers a much win and the game finished 0-0. However, the giant of Southampton is yet to showcase how good his decision making is as Southampton rarely make it complicated in their seemingly watertight defence lead by Portuguese Southampton skipper Jose Fonte. Perhaps Forster will not be prepared for a poor back pass or a defensive slip.

Verdict: In the squad, 3rd choice
Ben Foster
Joe Hart’s long standing understudy now seems overlooked as Butland and Forster’s form have forced their way ahead tof him in the pecking order. However the West Brom keeper is still a key cog in Pulis’ defence and is often overlooked and underrated. However, like Southampton, the Baggies boast a strong defence, often fielding four centre backs and two defensive midfielders. How much of the defensive record is down to Foster is up for debate

Verdict: Not in the squad but a reserve option

Tom Heaton
A surprise addition to the squad following injuries to Forster and Foster at the end of last season, Heaton was part of the Burnley team that were relegated in the season of their Premier League return but proved handy in several games. Particularly against Manchester City as he kept a clean sheet against the defending champions. However it would seem strange for a team like England to call upon a second division player even as a reserve in a major tournament.

Verdict: Not in the squad but a reserve option

Left backs

Leighton Baines
The scouser has been hailed as the best attacking full back in the League and holds the record for assists from defence. His set-pieces have been some of the most consistent but he seems to have lost confidence in his penalties after David De Gea saved his spot kick in 2014/15. He has since conceded the penalties to Kevin Mirallas, Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley. This may be a problem as England are famously poor at penalty shoot-outs and a player without confidence may prove problematic.

Verdict: In the squad but not a guaranteed starter

Luke Shaw
The young full back is a magnificent player but has been plagued by injuries, most recently his leg was broken in two places by Mexico and PSV defender Hector Moreno. He faces a race to be fit and may require a back up option as he has also suffered minor injuries throughout his United career. He is also vulnerable to being caught out on the counter attack as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andre Ayew proved in a 2-1 win over United as they were beaten on the break by two fantastic right wing passes.

Verdict: In the squad if fit but will require back up

Ryan Bertrand
The Southampton full back was touted as Ashley Cole’s successor during his time at Chelsea but failed to displace him or Cesar Azpilicueta in that position. However, at Southampton we have seen Ashley Cole’s level of consistently. He has been good going forward and defensively and may be a better option in games where England will be expected to defend more than attack.

Verdict: Not in the squad to start but could replace Shaw in the team

Danny Rose
Rose seems unlucky not to have been picked for England in his career but is the Polar opposite of Bertrand in his consistency. He has been guilty of being caught out of position often and the fact that Wales are in their group and Welshman Ben Davies has managed to challenge his fellow Spurs man for the left back spot this season may play against the 25 year old who is also eligible for Jamaica.

Verdict: Not in the squad but a back up option

Kieran Gibbs
The full back can also play as a winger but rarely plays for Arsenal as Nacho Monreal was seen as a safer option. Unlikely to play due to a lack of match fitness

Verdict: Not in the squad

Aaron Cresswell
The West Ham man seems an outside option initially but when you look closer, you see a man with a powerful shot, a good cross and reliable defensive awareness. He has been key in West Ham’s push for a Europa League spot both offensively and defensively.

Verdict: Not in the squad but a strong back up option

Centre backs

Chris Smalling
The United centre half showed promise alongside Phil Jones in the England U21s which resulted in both joining the Red Devils. However, his ability was questioned when he was asked to replace the legendary Rio Ferdinand as a leader and a defender. He initially struggled but has recently picked up his performances this season. The defender has showcased his strength, leadership, reading of the game and defensive ability.

Verdict: In the squad, starting
Gary Cahill
The England vice captain has shown good strength and goal-scoring ability with the potential to unleash a cannon from his foot or head. However, he has come under scrutiny as Chelsea’s form plummeted and has become third choice defender for the West London club to John Terry and Frenchman Kurt Zouma

Verdict: In the squad, starting but under scrutiny

John Stones
Hyped preseason after rumours that Chelsea had bid £30m for the young defender only for Everton to reply asking for £50m, which would make him the joint most expensive defender of all time, with David Luiz. However, his ball-playing tendencies have lead to needless mistakes such as being caught out of position, possession being wasted and most recently, a poor backpass to Tim Howard caused Andre Ayew to draw a penalty from the American keeper and give Swansea the lead.

Verdict: In the squad but not a starter…yet

Phil Jones
I mentioned him earlier alongside Chris Smalling but the hulking defender has become somewhat a meme due to his panicked expressions, poor defensive displays and unorthodox clearances. He has struggled to live up to his hype but is still an important player to England and can be a good back up.

Verdict: Not in the squad but a reserve option

Phil Jagielka
The Everton captain has fallen down the pecking order recently due to injury and inconsistent performances in a shaky Everton defence but I’m sure Hodgson would appreciate his experience and leadership and at the age of 33, it is very likely that if he is selected it will be his England swan song.

Verdict: Could make the squad but there are better options

Ryan Shawcross
The Stoke captain is respected as much as he is feared. The bruising defender is known for heavy tackles and a love of playing physical matches. This could work well for England as many teams such as Spain and Portugal will look to bring in players who are not up to scratch physically. Teams like Slovakia and Russia also rely heavily on physical strength and Shawcross could provide the edge in those games. His discipline could be concerning however.

Verdict: Could make the squad for the physical matches but maybe a backup in case of injury

Scott Dann
A similar defender to Shawcross but isn’t as intimidating and more composed. The Palace man likes a physical battle but is not as successful as often as Shawcross in these battles. However he would be a calmer head in the dressing room and less of a disciplinary risk.

Verdict: Not in the squad but a reliable back up

Right back

Nathaniel Clyne
Hailed as a great attacking midfielder, the Liverpool full back has not shown the form he did at Southampton last season and like Shaw, has often been caught out of position. However, his crosses and instinctive overlapping runs cause problems for full backs and wingers and could press back teams when on the ball.

Verdict: In the squad, on the bench

Kyle Walker
Often underrated, the Sheffield born full back is a crucial part of a young Spurs team and has played with a great number of the current England team and the youngsters. He has a powerful shot and can drive in good crosses as well as he can defend his right side.

Verdict: In the squad, starting

Glen Johnson
Another overlapping threat, the former Liverpool man is capable of many things including a decent shot, cross, tackle and has proven his willingness to win. His late diving header last season for Liverpool won his side the points and caused a nasty looking wound on his head. However, he failed to impress at 2014’s World Cup or in Liverpool’s late drop in form in 2014/15

Verdict: Not in the squad but a back up

Jon Flanagan
The scouse Cafu has drawn praise for his hard but fair tackling style and defensive awareness. On top of this he seems a very nice man and a good addition to any dressing room. However his recent long term injury may rule him out of the England squad for a second consecutive tournament.

Verdict: Not in the squad but first reserve

Central Midfielders
Presuming England will be playing some variation of a 4-2-3-1 formation I will be selecting 2 central defensive midfielders and an attacking midfielder as this seems to be Hodgson’s favoured formation.
Jordan Henderson
The Liverpool captain’s tireless style of play has been essential in Jurgen Klopp’s high-pressing style of play and despite an ankle injury that will force him to play through pain for the rest of his career he has shown a drastic development to become one of the best midfielders in the league. His leadership skills and ability to finish a match without looking tired has made him a front runner to succeed Wayne Rooney as England captain.

Verdict: In the squad and starting in a defensive midfield position

James Milner
Another tireless runner, Milner averages a marathon a game and can play on the wing and as a striker if needed. Milner is often overlooked but has been at fault for some terrible set-piece plays by Liverpool, both offensively and defensively.

Verdict: In the squad and to start the first game in the middle but replaced eventually by a flair player

Jack Wilshere
“England’s next big thing” since 2011. The Arsenal number 10 may not have the best scoring record but his talent is doubtless even if his attitude is questionable. He inspires fine moments of quick passing and goals where the opposition can only watch and applaud. His goals against Norwich and West Brom spring to mind. Despite an injury-plagued career thus far, the midfielder still has a bright future with England and Arsenal. His passing play will prove useful if he needs to come out on top of Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets as he has fond memories against the Barcelona men. In my opinion, he best suits a number 10 role as his height prevents him from winning defensive headers.

Verdict: In the squad if fit and starting behind the striker.

Eric Dier
The defensive midfielder started his career in Portugal as a defender but has been a gem so far in Spurs’ title challenging midfield, his placement allows players like Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele to maraud forward without risk of being caught on the counter attack. The youngster may have a brighter future as a defender but for now it seems he will play in front of the back four.

Verdict: In the squad but to start on the bench

Ross Barkley
The Everton midfielder broke into the scene two seasons ago but dipped in his second season. However, he has since rediscovered the form that saw him dubbed “The next Gascoigne” and linked with multi-million moves to England’s biggest. He has matured into his role, learning when to pass and when to shoot and has displayed a physical strength that could trouble weaker midfields.

Verdict: In the squad but second choice to Wilshere

Adam Lallana
The former Southampton captain has failed to justify his big money move to Liverpool in 2014 but is still a regular in Hodgson’s squad. He is experienced and skilled but has suffered criticism for trying to be too clever in simple situations, particularly his overuse and abuse of the Cruyff turn. He can be unplayable on his day but his day seems to come very rarely.

Verdict: Shouldn’t make the squad but if he plays, it will be on the wing

Dele Alli
The Spurs midfielder has developed a good partnership with Dier in midfield and has produced moments of brilliance. Wearing David Beckham’s number 7 shirt on his England debut, he produced a strike Becks would have been proud of as he smashed the ball past Spurs teammate Hugo Lloris. He also scored a fantastic volley to equalise against Everton and a stunner against Crystal Palace as he flicked Eriksen’s pass up, lifted it over Mile Jedinak’s head before turning and blasting it into the bottom corner of Wayne Henessey’s goal.

Verdict: In the squad but on the bench

Jonjo Shelvey
As a Swansea fans I know of both Shelvey’s talent and frustrating work ethic. He can produce a magnificent 60 yard pass or a stunning long distance goal, reminiscent of Paul Scholes one moment before playing a lazy pass or poor tackle and give away another goal. His attitude came into question once more as Alan Curtis allowed him to leave for Newcastle in January after a dip in form made him appear to give up on his club’s relegation battle

Verdict: Needs to prove himself some more to become a regular but he could make the squad

Ryan Mason
The English midfielder enjoyed a breakthrough alongside Algerian Nabil Bentaleb last season but the two have already been replaced by Alli and Dier in the Spurs midfield due to form and injuries.

Verdict: Unlikely to be called up

Michael Carrick
The veteran midfielder is a safer option than Shelvey but could be considered too safe. His sideways passing at times seems more suitable for rugby than football and has been an issue in United’s team since Van Gaal took over.

Verdict: Not in the squad, England has moved on from him
James Ward-Prowse
The Southampton man is a fine young player, a set-piece specialist and captain of the U21s. He has good experience considering his age and is an important member of the Saints’ team. He has never been capped however and may struggle to handle the pressure of the first team.

Verdict: Could be called into the squad as a wild card

Fabian Delph
The former Villa captain left the Midlands club amid controversy to Manchester City. He has struggled to make an impact in the first team but has been solid when he has played. A good player to control games but not much of an attacking threat

Verdict: Should not make the squad as there are better midfield options

Danny Drinkwater
The Leicester man has thrived alongside Ngolo Kanté in the Foxes midfield as they launched the least likely of title challenges. He has gone from a flop at Cardiff to a regular starter in a top English team. He has been more stable than outstanding however so perhaps not what Hodgson needs.

Verdict: May make the squad if injury hits but not the first team

Mark Noble
Has long been on the fringes, Noble has been essential in West Ham’s brilliant season under Slaven Bilic but; like Drinkwater and Delph, could be seen as a safe option and not as good as other options.

Verdict: Unlikely to get into the squad but anything can happen

Jesse Lingard
The United midfielder is enjoying a purple patch in his late blooming career and has scored some important goals even if his dabbing celebrations make him a target for abuse. He is inconsistent but can still provide a moment of brilliance when needed as he did for the U21s when he scored a stunner in England’s flop from the U21 World Cup.

Verdict: Could make the squad as a wild card but needs to stop dabbing

Wingers

Theo Walcott
The Arsenal man has a wealth of experience for his age and his blistering pace makes him a danger for any team. He has made it clear he wants to play as a striker but struggles to finish his chances consistently and for that reason, Hodgson and Wenger see him as a goal-scoring winger.

Verdict: In the squad if fit and starting on the right

Raheem Sterling
Criticised after he pushed for a move from Liverpool to Manchester City in the Summer but has played some good football for them. His pace, dribbling and strength have proven essential as they challenge to win a third Premier League title. However, he can be guilty of not tracking back to help in defence which has lead to problems for the Sky-Blues.

Verdict: In the squad and starting on the left

Jordon Ibe
The Liverpool winger is a good player considering his age and can play on either wing. His problem is that he either thinks too much or not enough and his hesitation on the ball makes him too predictable which makes life difficult as a winger. Would struggle against experienced full backs such as Patrice Evra, Lukasz Piszcek and Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Verdict: Could make the squad if his form improves

Andros Townsend
The Newcastle wide man has played for England a few times and it was his cannon of a shot against Italy that ensured England finished the 2014/15 season without a defeat. However, his attitude, consistency and shooting have been questioned as Spurs were ready to offload him in January to allow other young players to break through.

Verdict: Depending on his form at Newcastle, he could make the squad

Wilfried Zaha
The Palace winger has shown in recent days why Alex Ferguson forked out £10m on the young winger. However, he made only two appearances for United before returning to Selhurst Park last season. Zaha’s skill and pace have been key in Palace’s development under Alan Pardew and he has shown he isn’t a pushover on the ball, asking someone to get possession from him is like asking them to kill a lion with their bare hands at times.

Verdict: Potentially a surprise addition to the squad

Michail Antonio
Another hammer who has impressed this season. Antonio joined them in the Summer to replace Stewart Downing and despite a slow start, he has made his impression in their squad. He is quick, strong and good in the air. This makes him a threat in numerous situations but he isn’t experienced at the top level and could be caught in awe of some of the stars in the competition.

Verdict: Not in the squad

Jack Grealish
Enjoyed a breakthrough season last year under Tim Sherwood, the Villa youngster has come under fire after opting to play for his birth nation England when Ireland came knocking and being so disgraceful as to get drunk on holiday. He was recently disciplined for being snapped sitting next to a friend who was smoking. Outrageous behaviour. His lack of match time this season may count again him as Villa aren’t exactly full of quality right now.

Verdict: Not likely to make the squad

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
The Ox is known for good pace, strength and agility however, he rarely completes 90 minutes in a game and has so far failed to score more than 2 goals in a season. This is worrying as Joel Campbell and Alex Iwobi begin to threaten the Ox’s place in the Arsenal team.

Verdict: Could feature in the squad but may not be picked

Marc Albrighton
The Leicester winger has completed more crosses than anyone this season and is a key part of Leicester’s charge up the table. He is a hard worker and a team player who is running at the start of the game and is still running after the match.

Verdict: Could be another surprise addition

Nathan Redmond
The winger was Norwich’s star player in their promotion campaign and is currently one of their top scorers in the league. However, this is after scoring four goals in a poor Norwich team. He has failed to live up to his form from last season and has been poor for most of this season.

Verdict: Not in the squad

Striker

Wayne Rooney
The England skipper will undoubtedly be a member of the squad but for how long remains to be asked. If he continues to decline as he has for the last 3 seasons, it would seem his days on the international scene are numbered and Euro 16 is either his final or penultimate chance of international glory. Despite his early decline, Rooney has managed to score fantastic goals this season including a wicked curling strike against Derby County in the FA Cup. His leadership and experience is essential given England’s past experiences in international tournaments and young stars. Rooney himself was sent off against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup where England were knocked out on penalties.

Verdict: Essential squad member but not necessarily an essential starter
Daniel Sturridge
Unlike Rooney, Sturridge took only one World Cup to score but has suffered heavily with injuries since then. He has made a few cameo appearances since then and tends to score on his return before going back to the medical room. He is fantastic when he plays and if he plays, England will be all the better for it.

Verdict: In the squad if fit and rotated on a tactical basis

Harry Kane
The Tottenham front man has continued the form of his breakthrough season and has displayed leadership abilities and more intelligent play. He is one of the best strikers in the league and a consistent player.

Verdict: A must for the squad. It should be built around him

Danny Welbeck
For England, Welbeck is fantastic, a direct player with pace and anticipation. He was their top scorer in their qualification campaign and has proven himself after his reputation was damaged following a poor few seasons with Manchester United.

Verdict: Should make the squad as a back up because of his International scoring record

Jamie Vardy
The tireless forward could play on either wing or down the middle but it’s down the middle where he is most devastating. You know what he’s going to do but you can’t stop it. He scored a beautiful goal to beat Liverpool and has smashed records and expectations alike. However it is likely he will start as a super sub to wreak havoc on tired defences with his pace.

Verdict: In the squad but to start on the bench

Charlie Austin
The forward is known for his aerial ability and powerful shots. His goals weren’t enough to keep QPR last season or earn himself a cap despite being in the squad against Estonia and Italy. He scored on his Southampton debut from the bench to beat United.

Verdict: Not in the squad but a reserve

Saido Berahino
The Baggies striker was hot property last summer but after an altercation with chairman Jeremy Peace when a deadline day move to Spurs broke down, the striker was in exile. He rarely appeared despite his £30m price tag and it seems unlikely that he would be picked by Roy Hodgson even though he is the U21’s top scorer.

Verdict: Not in the squad

Andy Carroll
The West Ham striker is known for being a handful in the air and will be a useful battering ram when England need balls into the box due to his large build and heading ability.

Verdict: Could make the squad as a back up in case of injury but not in the 23 man squad
Full 23-man squad:
Joe Hart
Jack Butland
Fraser Forster

Leighton Baines
Luke Shaw

Chris Smalling
John Stones
Gary Cahill

Nathaniel Clyne
Kyle Walker

James Milner
Jordan Henderson
Ross Barkley
Eric Dier
Dele Alli
Jack Wilshere

Theo Walcott
Raheem Sterling

Wayne Rooney
Daniel Sturridge
Harry Kane
Jamie Vardy
Danny Welbeck

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