With Euro 2016 just around the corner and with no clear favourite, this is possibly England‘s best chance of winning the tournament. With the first game only a few days away, I will be looking at what I think will be England’s best formation, who should start and why. With a lot of positions up for grabs, Roy Hodgson has a tough task of picking the right team to start in France.
England’s road to France Euro 2016 – Thanks to the FATV
Here is the final 23 man squad. I will be portraying my views regarding who should make the starting eleven, and who will have an impact at the tournament for England. As can be seen, there are a few players who have been unlucky enough to not make the team: Andros Townsend, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jagielka, and injured players, Jack Butland, Luke Shaw, and Danny Welbeck.
I will now be picking out my first team. Who should start, why they should start, and what they will bring to the England team.
The goalkeeper’s position is a no brainer as Joe Hart is rightfully England’s number one. Joe Hart is good on crosses, a good shot-stopper, decent with his feet and an overall assured goalkeeper. Joe Hart also has more ‘big game’ experience than both Fraser Forster and Tom Heaton, and has a history of pulling out big performances when it matters.
The right back position is splitting the English fan base. Some say that Kyle Walker should start, while others say Nathaniel Clyne. Both have had a brilliant season with their clubs but, for me, Nathaniel Clyne just edges it. Nathaniel Clyne brings more to his game. He has great pace, reads the game well, is good quality going forward and is better on the ball than Walker.
According to Squawka, Nathaniel Clyne has made more successful passes, more blocks, fewer defensive errors, no errors leading to a goal, fewer lost tackles and more successful take-ons than Kyle Walker. For me, Clyne has to start.
The centre-back positions are also difficult decisions. Chris Smalling is the only assured starter. Smalling has had a fantastic season with Man Utd. He is excellent in the air and keeps things simple and calm. The question is: who will partner him, John Stones or Gary Cahill? Do you go for the young defender, who can play with the ball at his feet, or no-nonsense Cahill? For me, it would be Cahill. You cannot afford to make mistakes in tournament football and Cahill, with his experience in England and in Europe, will benefit England with him on the side. He can also score a goal or two from set pieces as we’ve seen at Chelsea.
I looked at these statistics specifically:
England are playing in a tournament and cannot afford to mess up. Gary Cahill has the edge over John Stones in all areas. He has made fewer defensive errors, lost fewer tackles and scored two goals over the course of the season. This edge is needed if England wants to be successful in the tournament.
The left back position is also another difficult one, with Ryan Bertrand and Danny Rose fighting to start. Rose is a more dangerous attacker, while Bertrand is a better defense. Both have had good seasons with their clubs so both players deserve a start, it just depends on who Roy Hodgson fancies on the day. For me, Rose just gets ahead of Bertrand. Although, Bertrand will be a better defender Rose has the quality to attack and oppose a threat down the left. His attacking threat and stamina will be key.
The midfield once again, is a very tough choice. The diamond has to be played.
At the bottom of that diamond I would start Eric Dier. He has had a brilliant season for Tottenham and was, for me, man of the match in England’s friendly against Germany. He keeps his play basic, sniffs out danger, has good positional sense and is a threat at set pieces. Dier can also help out defensively ahead of such a fragile back four. A young player, but would be a huge asset for the England team.
On the left of the diamond, I would have Jack Wilshere. Another tough one between himself and Raheem Sterling who will outpace most defenders at the tournament and is frightening on the counter but also has a point to prove after a mediocre season. Saying that, Wilshere is England’s only left-footed midfielder and someone who is very different to the other players in the same position. He also has a defensive side, which will be used to help Dier. His flair and positive runs are something England need. Wilshere is also someone who isn’t afraid to carry the ball from the middle of the park and just run with it, setting up a chance or even scoring himself. Although he has just come back from injury, I believe these qualities make him a sure starter.
On the right of the diamond it will have to be Dele Alli. He has had an unbelievable first season at Tottenham and should be another sure starter. Alli can go past defenders, see a pass and score goals. Alli’s link up and connection with Harry Kane upfront will be key as well. Alli is a rare talent and England must play him.
Finally, at the top of the diamond is possibly the toughest choice and asks the biggest question. Do you start Wayne Rooney? For me, you certainly do. You have to remember that Rooney is still one of England’s best technical players, a versatile player, and the top goal-scorer. You also can’t underestimate his experience. With a very young England team, Rooney is one of England’s most experienced players and you need that for a balanced squad. If Rooney does struggle, then there are plenty of players who can fill in.
Upfront, you have to go for Harry Kane who, again, is another sure starter. As the Premier League Golden Boot winner and another player who can do it all upfront, he is the most complete and naturally gifted English centre-forward we have seen for years. He can score with his right foot, left foot & head. He is intelligent with his movement, strong in the air and can stretch a defense.
Partnering Harry Kane will be Jamie Vardy. He is a Premier League winner and with 24 goals last season, a danger man. Vardy’s energy and enthusiasm will cause havoc to defenders and always seems to create chances during a game. His runs and pace will also be crucial to stretch and beat defenders, and he also has the pace and finishing ability to hurt anyone. Vardy is a natural goal scorer.
Here is how my final starting team would look: defensively solid with added protection but also very dangerous and experienced on the attack. I predict England will have a successful tournament and could get to the semi finals. Depending on who they play there, possibly even the final. Why not? Alongside France, Germany and Belgium, England should be favourites. You cannot forget the experienced Italy or Spain either, however.
Other players who didn’t make the starting eleven will have a chance to make an impact as, in tournament football, anything can happen. In particular, I think Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling will be big players for England. They are both young and direct players who will play with freedom and scare defenders. James Milner will also add composure and experience to the midfield. Daniel Sturridge is another under appreciated player who will have an impact to the team with his sweet left foot. Unlucky with injuries, however, as he would be in the starting eleven and one of the only players to score in the last World Cup. Marcus Rashford was named possibly a bit early, and personally feel that Andros Townsend should have been chosen instead. Aside from this, England have a very good squad full of talent and depth in all positions. Additionally, they go into the tournament without high expectations which should work in their favor.
Good luck England.
Written by Vilson Beiqi