There has been a lot of debate recently over who should be picked for Roy Hodgson’s EURO 2016 squad.
ElWriteBack editor, Charlie Russell picks the 23-man squad he would take to France in June.
England fly out to France in June as they compete in the 15th UEFA European Championship.
The Three Lions won all 10 of their qualifying matches and have a number of promising players in the ranks, yet there is less of a hype or expectation as we have experienced in previous years.
The days of David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Gary Neville are long gone, but Roy Hodgson need not to worry as he has a wealth of youth coming through. Dele Alli has proven this as he has already made two England appearances at the age of 19.
The talented midfielder has become one of the most talked about midfielders in England after making 30 league appearances for Tottenham this season. The former MK Dons youngster has scored seven Premier League goals whilst assisting on nine occasions.
One debate which has caused a split of opinions between England fans is Wayne Rooney. Should we take our top goal scorer to France? Personally, I would say no. Rooney is past it and with the talent of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and even Jermain Defoe the Manchester United forward would not even make my bench. One thing which I do agree on with the Rooney supporters is his experience but that’s it.
Rooney’s European Championship Finals record is five goals in six appearances where as Defoe’s is five goals in nine appearances. (source: englandstats.com) Some may say this is a reason to take Rooney over Defoe but if we look at the 2015/16 Premier League stats, Defoe has 12 goals to Rooney’s seven, a total which is identical to Southampton’s Irishman, Shane Long. (source: premierleague.com).
Here is my final 23-man squad. Those in red are selected for my personal starting XI players for England’s first game against Russia on Saturday 11th June.
- JOE HART – MAN CITY: Hart has returned to Man City following an injury which meant the shot stopper missed England’s 3-2 friendly victory over Germany. Hart was the main man during England’s qualifying campaign and therefore there is no question about the 28-year-old making the England squad.
- FRASER FORSTER – SOUTHAMPTON: With Jack Butland being ruled out of the 2016 European Championships, Forster is my back up goalkeeper for Man City’s Hart. This is because of his performances throughout February which allowed the former Celtic man to be awarded with the Premier League Player of the Month award. Forster kept a run of six clean sheets as he came back from injury
- WES FODERINGHAM – RANGERS: Some may question my decision here but I would give the 25-year-old a chance. The likes of Foderingham playing would be unlikely due to the rivalry for the number one jersey between Hart and Forster but the experience would be brilliant for the Rangers keeper. Foderingham has been key in Rangers’ Scottish Championship success and therefore I would give the young keeper a chance.
- NATHANIEL CLYNE – LIVERPOOL: The young fullback is almost certain to go to France but this does not mean there is no room for improvement. He will have to fight hard to secure his starting place.
- KYLE WALKER – TOTTENHAM: Walker received his 14th cap against Holland and provided a vital pass to Vardy which led to a goal. The right-back has improved this season following inconsistency and injury setbacks in previous years. The 25-year-old will be in competition with Clyne to claim Hodgson’s starting right-back spot.
- DANNY ROSE – TOTTENHAM: Rose would not have been in question a year ago but with Luke Shaw’s injury the Tottenham man was given an opportunity to prove himself against World Champions, Germany. The left back played well and has a chance of starting in France if he continues to play well in the league.
- KIERAN GIBBS – ARSENAL: With 10 England caps to his name Gibbs is experienced compared to Rose. This doesn’t mean he will drift into the starting eleven though. Gibbs will have to perform well for Arsenal if he wants to be Hodgson’s first choice left-back.
- RYAN BERTRAND – SOUTHAMPTON: Another fullback who will be fighting for his place in France. He missed England’s two recent friendlies due to an injury. If he returns to full fitness, then the Southampton player will fancy a chance at starting ahead of Rose and Gibbs.
- CHRIS SMALLING – MANCHESTER UNITED: Hodgson signed the centre back during his time at Fulham. Smalling has improved over time and is another success story of Non League to Premier League. The 26-year-old will be looking to start in France if he proves his ability in the last few Premier League fixtures.
- GARY CAHILL – CHELSEA: Cahill is the experienced centre back in my 23-man squad. He is what England need and will lead the line in France. He has previously made the odd mistake but he has the quality to lead England forward, and hopefully not lead us to another early return from a competition.
- JOHN STONES – EVERTON: The former Barnsley academy graduate has made eight appearances for England and is tipped to be one of our future stars. A number of big clubs have tracked the 21-year-old’s progress in recent years, and a trip to the Euros will be a great experience to boost his career.
- PHIL JAGIELKA – EVERTON: Jagielka is another experienced name Hodgson will look to take to France. The Toffee has 39 caps to his name and will be one of the most experienced international players in England’s squad if chosen.
- JORDAN HENDERSON – LIVERPOOL: Henderson will be in tough competition with England’s youngsters. The Liverpool man may be dropping down the England pecking order now the likes of Alli and Dier have emerged but he will still be on the plane to France following a number of impressive appearances for England previously.
- ERIC DIER – TOTTENHAM: The former Sporting Lisbon youngster did not want to play for England’s U21 side 16 months ago as they wished to use him as a right-back, but ever since Dier showed his ability in midfield for Tottenham, the 22-year-old hasn’t looked back, almost a certain to make the 23-man squad.
- ADAM LALLANA – LIVERPOOL: The attacking midfielder played well against Holland, which was an improvement from a number of average performances in previous England appearances. If he continues to do this, I would start him in France.
- DELE ALLI – TOTTENHAM: Dare I say it… the best young talent we have available to us right now. Alli’s rise from League One to Premier League superstar is one all Football League players dream of, yet only a select handful achieve this, and Alli has done so at the tender age of 19. He has matured and if he keeps his head on and doesn’t make silly mistakes which can lead to bookings, Alli should be a fine player for many years to come.
- RAHEEM STERLING – MANCHESTER CITY: He started well for Man City and proved the haters wrong after being a target for many Liverpool fans on social media. He has been slightly disappointing in the second half of the season but this does not mean he’s not a player to take to France.
- ROSS BARKLEY – EVERTON: Barkley has performed well for England over the past year and he is starting to show the promise we first saw from him when he broke into the Everton first team. He has a creative spark and would provide great cover for almost any midfielder we have in the squad.
- DANNY DRINKWATER – LEICESTER CITY/ JAMES MILNER – LIVERPOOL: Has Drinkwater done enough to get a place in Hodgson’s squad? It may be too soon to say but this is why I have left the last midfield spot open between the Leicester star and Liverpool’s Milner. Milner would provide great cover for injuries as he has the experience but he is definitely not a starter in my opinion.
- JAMIE VARDY – LEICESTER CITY: Another star who has risen from Non League. Vardy has shocked many people this season and has definitely secured his place in Hodgson’s final 23-man squad. He claimed he did not want to be a “one-cap wonder” following his debut against Ireland in June 2015. He stuck to his word as he scored against both Germany and Holland to get his first and second England goal.
- HARRY KANE – TOTTENHAM: The Premier League’s best striker. Kane has scored 22 Premier League goals, making him the league’s top scorer, three ahead of Vardy. Kane has proven he is not a “one season wonder” as he became the fifth English player to score 20+ Premier League goals in consecutive seasons.
- BRADLEY WRIGHT-PHILLIPS – NEW YORK RED BULLS: I have been saying for the past two or three years that Wright-Phillips should be given a chance for England. He is the son of former Arsenal and England striker, Ian Wight as well as the younger brother to former England International Shaun Wright-Phillips. The former Brentford loanee had a slow start to life in America, scoring twice in nine appearances but 2014 was a different story. Wright-Phillips scored a total of 31 goals in 37 appearances with four coming in four Playoff appearances. The goals continued to flood in with another 17 being added to the forward’s NY Red Bulls total in 2015. Wright-Phillips has proved his ability against some of the world’s best and most experienced players, therefore he should be given a shot in Hodgson’s squad.
- JERMAIN DEFOE – SUNDERLAND: The Tottenham Legend has scored 19 goals for England and has 12 Premier League goals to his name. This is why I have chosen him over the countries top scorer, Wayne Rooney. Rooney has not performed well enough to make my England side, and as I previously mentioned the United forward has the same amount of European Championship goals as Defoe. JD has been on fire for Sunderland and he will be hoping to keep the Black Cats in the league.
Proof read by: Adam Keal and Callum Langlois