Who Will Go to Euro 2016?



With the football leagues drawing to a close, England fans are looking ahead to the European Championships in France, just a matter of 10 weeks away. For the first time in a long time, the list of possibilities appears endless, as our English players battle it out to gain a seat on the plane.

Roy Hodgson faces a dilemma as he contemplates his 23 man squad to take to the tournament in June.

Goalkeepers:

Joe Hart is almost guaranteed the number one jersey in the summer. Fraser Forster of Southampton is also a certainty in Hodgson's squad. However, the only decision the manager has to make is who is taking the role of third-choice keeper following the injury to Jack Butland, who is unlikely to be fit in time. The two goalkeepers in contention for the spot are Burnley's Tom Heaton, who has been consistent during their push to regain their Premier League status and Ben Foster, whom Hodgson previously managed at West Bromwich Albion.

For me, the three goalkeepers that I would be flying over to France is Joe Hart, Fraser Forster and Tom Heaton.

Joe Hart would be the first name on my team sheet, as well as my choice for captain. This season, Hart has to date 16 clean sheets for Manchester City. In addition to this the Englishman has kept four clean sheets out of the five international games he has played this season.

Defenders:

Out of all the positions on the pitch, the backline has got to be Roy Hodgson's number one priority as it remains the last deficiency in England's team.

Admittedly, England's defence haven't been poor. Yet it remains the only worry when facing tougher opposition under tournament pressure.

Chris Smalling's improved form for both Manchester United and the national team makes him an automatic starter at the Euros, however he is known to be accident prone which could cause problems in the heart of the English defence. Partnering Smalling will most likely be Chelsea's Gary Cahill, who will provide a calm and experienced head next to the centre back.

John Stones and Phil Jagielka are likely to be in amongst the names of centre halves to be given a place in the squad, but are likely to spend their time on the bench rather than the pitch.

England have an abundance of full backs all ready for the games in France. Ryan Betrand, Nathaniel Clyne and Spurs teammates Rose and Walker will all be hopeful of getting a place in the starting 11 after excelling in their club squads. Personally, my chosen two would be Clyne and Danny Rose who both have the ability to provide width and start up attacks as well as defensive capabilities. The only concern over the four full backs Roy Hodgson will be considering is their love of getting forward. Nowadays a modern full back is expected to have the pace to bomb up the pitch to flood the final third, but the problem with that is the space left behind, which could be exploited by top teams. If Hodgson is to take this into consideration, Phil Jones could be included in the squad. The defender is admired by the manager due to his versatility, as he can play in any position along the back four or in the defensive midfielder role. This could solve England's problems were they to play attacking full backs, which would be the best option for the current squad. However, Jones would be battling it out with Tottenham's Eric Dier to becomes England's CDM.

Midfielders:

Speaking of Eric Dier, after scoring his first goal for his country against Germany, he is in contention to go to the Euros in the summer. Dier is one of those players with the temperament to adapt and rise to the biggest of challenges, and this tournament will be one of those.

Eric Dier scoring his first goal for England against Germany
(©Getty Images)
Last season, Dier emerged as a symbol of Pochettino’s tenure; a player that is ego-free, hungry and tactically flexible. Dier’s shielding of the back four, positional awareness and range of passing has helped Tottenham to enjoy one of their best seasons in the Premier League. We can only hope that he brings the same to England's matches during the competition.

Unfortunately for Dier, Jack Wilshere returned to club football at the weekend. Before the friendly against Germany in March, Roy Hodgson told reporters that Dier and Danny Drinkwater were "in the shadow" of Wilshere, suggesting the manager's devotion to the idea of taking the Arsenal player to France.

Dele Alli has made himself a mandatory pick and Hodgson will presumably experiment in England’s remaining three warm-up matches to see whether he can fit the Spurs player into a midfield also featuring Ross Barkley. Raheem Sterling’s groin injury is a concern but he is expected back around the time Hodgson names his provisional squad in mid-May and will be another certainty provided the manager is convinced of the Manchester City player’s fitness.

It is also expected that there will be places for James Milner, Jordan Henderson, if he can recover from a knee injury in time and Adam Lallana. Fabian Delph, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Drinkwater will also be hoping they can gain a spot.

Strikers:

The ongoing debate is will Wayne Rooney start for England. Of course the United striker will be travelling to France, there is no doubt about that, but a place in the starting 11 is questionable. The England manager said he regarded Rooney as integral to his squad for the finals in France, even if his form was being questioned.

Since his return to club football following a knee injury, Rooney has played an important part in United's last three games, all wins, against Everton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa; in the number 10 role playing off young forward Marcus Rashford.

If Rooney is to start for England, Hodgson should consider playing his experienced striker in a deeper role, off Harry Kane for example. However, in the game against Germany, it was evident that England were much more creative without the Manchester United man.

Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane have made compelling cases for their own inclusions, at a time when Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck appear to have overcome injury issues. The two strikers of Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur respectively have put in the hours, and the goals, to guarantee them a seat on the plane.

Harry Kane celebrating the win against Germany in March
(©Getty Images)
22-year-old Harry Kane established himself as Spurs' first-choice striker last season and has emphatically disproved theories that he would become a one-season wonder. Kane has scored 24 goals in 35 Premier League appearances this season and is on course to secure the Golden Boot ahead of both Sergio Aguero and England counterpart Jamie Vardy. The striker has struck up an impressive partnership with Alli, who operates at number 10 for Mauricio Pochettino's side, and the duo have been key to Tottenham's pursuit of a first title in 55 years and could be the partnership to make England threatening again.

On that basis the most likely player to miss out, with five places up for grabs, is Theo Walcott, whose spell out of the team at Arsenal clearly counts against him.

Our Chances?

Overall, England look strong. However, it is more than clear that England do have the ability to crumble under tournament pressure. For once though, we can go into the summer knowing that England aren't relying on Wayne Rooney to produce the goods.

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Molly Jennens

I'm Molly Jennens and I am an aspiring football journalist. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it.

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