Roy Hodgson has released a 26-man provisional England squad for the vastly approaching European Championships in France this summer. The England manager stated that he will name the required 23-man squad after his sides friendly against Australia in a few weeks time. The 6-year-old selection consists of obvious choices, earned places and a few surprises in there as well. Going from choices that were presumed set in stone with the like of Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart and Harry Kane, to the more risky options such as Fabian Delph, Andros Townsend and Marcus Rashford. Out of the 23, here is my starting eleven for the tournament.
Undoubtedly England’s number one keeper, Joe Hart is a definite guaranteed starter in pretty much every competitive game he plays for his country. With experience of playing in two consecutive major tournaments, the Man City shot-stopper is a huge aspect of England’s summer.
Surely England’s best central defender this season, the vastly improving Chris Smalling played a pivotal role in Man United’s defence. Despite not much tournament experience, a solitarily appearance against Costa Rica at the World Cup is his only feature at the highest level, but with plenty of games under his belt since then, he is a certainty to make the plane and even the starting eleven.
Gary Cahill (C)
Another player who seems to have improved since Brazil, Gary Cahill occupies himself as vice-captain in the side. Cahill has seen himself with a new central pairing over the last year, with Phil Jagielka falling under the Hodgon’s radar. After a dreadful season with Chelsea, the England vice-captain will be hoping to form a solid partnership with Smalling at the back for the Three Lions.
Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne has become a regular for his national side for a long while now, appearing in the majority of the qualifying games. This is justified with himself also frequently being elected by Jurgen Klopp this season. Good at going forward and tracking back, he really is an all-rounder, definitely deserving of a place in the staring line-up.
Fellow Spurs defender Danny Rose has enjoyed a fine season at left-back, earning him two England caps earlier this year. Offering a whole lot to his game, Rose seems to have the complete package, and would certainly offer a lot to the side if chosen to start.
Centre Defensive Midfielder:
At just 22, Eric Dier has found himself enter Hodgson’s plans for the summer with his excellent play in an all round quality Spurs side. His role as doing the dirty work in a defensive midfield role has produced solid performances throughout the season. Having just four games played for his country, Dier’s highlight so far is surely his headed winner against Germany last March, proving that he has more to his game.
Left Centre Midfielder:
Title-winning midfielder Danny Drinkwater gained his first England cap against the Dutch last March, having been called up for a sensational season with Leicester City. His ability to pass the ball from range to fellow team mates is exceptional, forming a fantastic partnership with N’Golo Kante in the Premier League. Also adding goals to his game, the once Man United youth player has developed dramatically since then, surely deserving a place in the eleven based on form.
The most experienced of my selected four midfielders, Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson seems to have become a favourite of Hodgson’s over the last two years. Featuring at the World Cup, the box-to-box midfielder offers a lot to the team, going forward and back.
Central Attacking Midfielder:
Following a terrific break through season at Spurs, the PFA Young Player of the Year will be aiming to take his fine-form into the tournament this summer. Producing mesmerising pieces of play, combined with the ability to score goals, Dele Alli has come out of no where this season and earned himself a place down to sheer brilliance on the ball. With just six caps, the youngster already has a goal to his name from midfield. One to watch in France for sure.
Tottenham’s ‘Golden Boy’ Harry Kane has transformed himself into one of the deadliest young strikers in Europe of the last two years. A series of loan spells at different clubs, Kane has found himself as the leading role in an improving Spurs side. With a total of 49 goals on 81 appearances for the North London club, he is surely destined for a greta career if he continues the way he has been playing. Another terrific season in the Premier League, Kane grabbed 25 goals to be the top scorer during this campaign. He is almost certain of a place in the starting eleven in France.
Not many players around today can tell the tale like 29-year-old Yorkshireman Jamie Vardy. Starting from the near bottom of English football at Stockbridge Park Steels, Vardy has managed to transform his career in spectacular fashion. Just his second season in the English top-flight saw him bag 24 goals for Leicester City. The Foxes number nine has already 2 goals to his name for England, having just played 6 times. Scoring in consecutive games against Germany and the Netherlands just shows that there is no fear in his football. Any defence will be worried about the task of facing the Premier League Player of the Season, with his menacing pace going forward.
Written by Joe Dutton
Sources: The FA, The Himalayan Times, The PFA, The Pride of London, Zimbio, Sport 11, Be In Sports, Goal, Telegraph, Express and Sky Sports