England Euro 2016 Preview

england-euro-2016-signed-shirts-image-1Image from The Guardian

K Appiah Boakye Frimpong previews England’s chances at Euro 2016:

After a horrendous performance and a humiliation exit from the 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP, the future of the English national team look uncertain. Although age was not on the side of most of the senior players, the team itself had no cohesion and they had no sense of camaraderie and that made them vulnerable throughout the tournament. Roy Hodgson’s side went fourteen matches unbeaten until they lost to Spain in November 13 last year. The England squad has been in transition since the world cup exit. Couple of young players have been introduced to replace the ageing players.

With a 100% record in the qualifiers, the Three Lions led by Wayne Rooney hope not to disappoint this time. Agonising over injuries, Roy Hodgson managed to select the best of players for the Uefa Euro 2016. England has the best squad in decades in terms of quality, form , ego and age. There is no Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard where one has to be played out of position because any of the cannot sit on the bench. The players’ egos are manageable and I hope Roy manages them well. He has already taken a bold step by dropping Walcott and Carrick from the squad. You can make argument for them but they’ve had their time with them and they could not bring any success and now it’s time for Dele Alli and Jack Wilshere.

czbi27pwyaagryaImage from Scoopnest

Roy also made a big call by dropping Danny Drinkwater from the final 23-man squad. Drinkwater enjoyed a wonderful season with a wonderful Leicester team but he’s arrived late at the scene. Questions were asked about the decision to include Wilshere whilst Drinkwater had been dropped. Wilshere did not play mcuh because he was injured but he was very dominant for the team during the qualification. We should not forget his phenomenal performance against Slovenia at the Stožice Stadium. Jack scored two belters and orchestrated England’s midfield to a desired effect in the toughest match they played in their qualification. One season success does not guarantee a place in the national team.

Goalkeepers – Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Tom Heaton

He goalkeeping department is not something to worry about for Roy. The ever-present Joe Hart is expected to be in the goal post for the Three Lions. Fraser Forster who was impressive and enjoyed another spellbinding season with Southampton will be the backup for the first choice. Tom Heaton will be called upon when needed.

Defenders – Kyle Walker, Nathaniel Clyne, Chris Smalling, John Stones, Gary Cahill, Danny Rose, Ryan Bertrand.

smalling-567691Image from the Express

Any issues at the back will also needed to be quickly ironed out by Gary Cahill and his fellow defenders if they are to mount a title challenge. Age is on the side of the defence and the most important thing is Roy has to make the right selections. Smalling has improved massively and he enjoyed his best season a Manchester United player last season. Stones also is an up and coming defender who reads the game very well. Although he overelaborates and make errors sometimes. Roy has to choose between Walker and Clyne at the right back position. Walker had an excellent season and was part of Spurs solid defence that conceded the least goals in the premier league last season. Clyne on the other side also had an average first season at Anfield. He was inconsistent during some stages in the season. Rose and Bertrand played very well last season and it’s going to be difficult for the manger to drop one of them from the starting lineup

Midfielders – Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, James Milner, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere

Midfield dominance will be key for Roy if his side is to mount a challenge for the European trophy. Dier and Henderson will drive the team forward. Sterling, Lallana and Milner will add width to their game and they can deliver pinpoint crosses into the opposition 18-yard box for the forwards to add the finishing touch. A midfield with youthful exuberance will inject pace into the game when needed.

Forwards – Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford

Wayne Rooney has scored 47 goals for England – two behind Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 49Image from The Guardian

This is where the team’s strength lie comparing with the other departments. England has the best frontline among the 24 teams that have booked their places in France. In terms of personnel, they have in-form players, an experienced striker who has seen it all at the top level and a rapidly improving young talent who has emerged and he’s definitely going to be Roy’s wildcard in France. Vardy was very astounding last season and deserves a place in the starting lineup. Kane won the premier league golden boot and was consistent throughout the season. His club performance should earn him a place in the starting lineup. Rooney does not have the best of form but he’s in the squad because of his role as a captain and the experience he adds to the squad. But Roy has made it clear that Wayne Rooney’s name will always appear first on the team sheet. Sturridge did not enjoy full seasonas usual because he was sidelined due to injuries. He showed Roy a glimpse of what he is capable of anytime he’s fully fit. Rashford who burst onto the scene later in the season is going to be Roy’s wildcard in France. He has proven he’s good in enough to be in the squad and probably will give Roy the kind of performance Rooney gave to Eriksson in Euro 2004. England’s fearsome quintuple scored 70 league goals among them in the just ended season.

 Predicted lineup against Russia;

Hart, Walker, Smalling, Cahill, Rose, Dier, Alli, Rooney, Sterling, Lallana, Kane

Author: Boakye Frimpong K Appiah

Twitter: @sprouile

Facebook: K Appiah Boakye Frimpong

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