England’s Euro Prep: Let’s get it right

Last Thursday saw Roy Hodgson announce his 24 man squad for the two friendlies against Germany and with the Netherlands to follow. Which is sure to see players giving their all to try to impress with the European Championships now under 80 days away.

With how the Premier League has surprised all this season, Leicester City on fire at the top of the league & Manchester City fighting hard to gain a Champions League spot. You could have expected to see an array of players called up to the England Squad for the first time, richly deserved in my opinion.

Players such as; Noble, Creswell, Simpson, Albrighton & Deeney can count themselves unlucky not to be given an opportunity in The Three Lions shirt.

The majority of Roy’s latest squad selection I would suggest is well-chosen, but there are certain players who have made the squad on purely reputation alone. Prime example Theo Walcott. It would appear Theo has been picked to play in a Forward capacity. Does 8 goals in 34 appearances this season really justify a place in the squad over Watford’s captain Deeney?

Two contributing factors to West Ham challenging for a Champions League spot this season are down to the form of their captain Mark Noble and the ever impressive Aaron Creswell.

I’ll start with the latter first, after the retirement of arguably the greatest Left Back England has ever produced in Ashley Cole. Supporters may have been worried about who would fill the huge void left by Cole, they needn’t be. Over the last 12 months we have seen an abundance of English Talent at Left Back show promise. With all players fully fit, I would suggest that Shaw remains the favourite to start, but that won’t be the case later this summer due to a horrific double leg break.

Bertrand is an adaptable defender who’s blossomed under Ronald Koeman, he’s deputised well as a ball playing Centre Back at times too this season when needed. Danny Rose has had a cracking season enjoying life under Pochettino and has significantly improved especially with defensive responsibilities and become a key figure for Spurs. img_1040

But so has Creswell, the 26 year old full back is known for his attacking bursts down the left side. Which is how Roy likes to play – Counter Attacking Football. Manchester City & Chelsea have both been rumoured to bidding of up to £25m for securing his services. Indeed there is a pecking order, but on player form this season it would suggest that Creswell deserves a shot as much as Bertrand & Rose do.

Mark Noble is in a similar situation to his club team-mate. As Danny Murphy suggested recently on TalkSPORT, that he can understand why Noble hasn’t been picked for the squad. ‘Roy will know how he’s going to play in that midfield, so he’ll choose the players who can fill the roles he has in mind’.

Murphy goes on to talk about other midfielders in the squad, suggesting that Henderson can play both attacking and defensive, whereas Alli has the attributes to play all across the midfield.

You would have to suggest that players such as Henderson & Milner who haven’t performed consistently this league campaign like Noble has, have been picked for their past tournament experience and are players Hodgson knows he can rely on.

On a different note, Danny Drinkwater has been superb this season and throughly deserves his call up.

Why hasn’t Albrighton been rewarded for his contribution to Leicester City’s title challenge for a call up for the injured Raheem Sterling?

Potential England Line Ups for Friendlies:

I have taken into consideration with recent injuries to Hart & Sterling into account and used the 2 most familiar England formations in recent times.


In my opinion, this is the current England squads strongest line up. Stones and Smalling are the future for England, especially Stones. The defence should be built around him. I’ve been impressed with Walker recently, MOTD 2 portrayed him in a great light last Sunday evening with a stellar performance against Bournemouth (Defensively strong and attacking with direct positivity).

What a find Eric Dier is turning out to be for Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham. Let’s hope he can continue his fine form in an England shirt too. Drinkwater is an ever improving player, having the season of his life and fully deserves his opportunity at International level.

The only change which I’ve been enforced to make is to play Walcott on the wing instead of my preferred option of Raheem Sterling. Although Walcott’s conversion rate is poor, his speed can’t be ignored and would give all international full backs a scare if in a 1 V 1 situation.

Dele Alli has to start in the summer in my opinion, many question his temperament but he’s the golden boy of english football at the moment. I see him as a package deal alongside Harry Kane. Harry might score the goals at Spurs, but Alli is the one pulling the strings. It’s a partnership which has a lot of potential to be a success at a world football stage.

For two players who haven’t even played a whole season with one another yet, the partnership they have formed at Spurs would appear telepathic.

Vardy to rotate with Kane, deserves an opportunity to play through the middle for a full 90 minutes.

Is it a surprise that the spine of the team is made up of Tottenham players? (Walker, Dier, Alli & Kane) Tottenham are playing some great counter attacking football at the moment whilst keeping it tight at the back too. Something Roy could look to implement.

Alternative formation:

This formation explores the theory that ‘Attacking is the best form of defence’ approach. Vardy is known for his ability to close down defenders and put pressure on the opposition for the full 90. Kane & Sturridge would need to follow suit for this formation to work.

It also allows for more stability in midfield with Alli sitting more than in the 4-2-3-1. Henderson / Milner brings a wealth of experience to the team too.


In recent times, the core England players have come from the ‘big 4 teams’ in my opinion we should be looking at Tottenham as a major asset to the English National Team. They consistently play with an English core and it’s paying off so far for them this season. Let’s take advantage of it at an International stage.

With this in mind, we do have key players to come back such as Hart, Sterling and of course our captain Rooney. Good luck Roy!

Thanks for reading,



Author: ClarkeyTotalFootball

Sports Graduate. Ever faithful that England will succeed at a major tournament one day. Once I scored a 5 - a - side hat-trick. Those were the days!

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