Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cause for optimism for England ahead of Euro 2016

David Nugent in Editorial, European Championships 27 Mar 2016

England boss Roy Hodgson has just realised he might finally have discover the formula to adventurous football

England boss Roy Hodgson has just realised he might finally have discover the formula to adventurous football

The English British press love to build-up up the England national team, just so they can knock them down when they underachieve at major tournaments.

However, say it quietly but England fans have some optimism ahead of Euro 2016.

A 3-2 win against world champions Germany in Berlin on Saturday night means that the Three Lions have suffered just one defeat in their last 18 internationals, and that defeat came against reigning European champions Spain.

Freshness about the team

The England team that played most of the qualifiers is far different to the one that took the field and produced such a decent display against Germany. A number of players have broken into the squad and starting eleven in recent months.

The England squad had a stale feeling about it for a long time after the dregs of the golden generation gradually retired. So much was expected of the golden generation and so little was delivered.

A number of the current squad are free from that sense of expectation and free from the failures of previous tournaments. England boss Roy Hodgson recently compared the current squad to Germany’s World Cup winning squad of 2014, which was maybe an exaggeration, but there is a sense that this squad is different.

New players impressing

The emergence of Leicester and Tottenham as Premier League title challengers this season has helped a number of the current England squad gain confidence and pick-up a winning mentality.

Four Tottenham players started last night’s game against Germany, Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Eric Dier and Dele Alli. Kane is the most experienced of the quartet at international level, but has just seven caps, while the others all have five caps or less.

However, that inexperience did not show against Germany. They all looked the part and produced similarly impressive performances for their country as they do week-in week-out for Spurs. Dier even capped an accomplished display with the winning goal.

Then we come on to the energetic Jamie Vardy. The Leicester striker came off the bench to score arguably the goal of the night with a back-heeled finish that a seasoned international striker would have been proud of.

Vardy always seems to have an impact when he comes off the bench and maybe that is why boss Hodgson does not start with the 29-year-old, who is currently competing with first choice striker Harry Kane for the Premier League golden boot.

All five of the aforementioned players will be hoping to feature against Holland on Tuesday night at Wembley, in a game that the Three Lions are odds of 4/6 to win.

However, Roy Hodgson will be looking to give the other outfield players a run-out in the clash to assess their form and fitness. Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater could make his international debut in that clash and his call-up is much-deserved after a superb campaign for the league leaders.

Players in danger of missing out

The form of some of the newer members of the squad will have the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Leighton Baines worried. All three have been considered regular members of the England squad in recent years, but all three are in serious danger of missing out on Euro 2016.

Baines was once regarded as the first choice left-back for the Three Lions, but injury has meant that the former-Wigan star has missed much of the Toffees inconsistent campaign. He may well still get back in the squad.

He faces a major fight for the left-back spot with the likes of Rose, Ryan Bertrand and Kieran Gibbs. If the squad was being named today the Everton star would be unlikely to be in the 23 man squad.

Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain are also in major danger of missing out on the Euro 2016 squad, simply because of poor form and injury.

The big question mark remains over captain Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United star is currently out of action through injury. However, he would not be in the starting 11 on form this season.

Hodgson will no doubt stick by Rooney and he will be in the squad for Euro 2016, whether he should be in the starting eleven remains to be seen, but on recent performances England look like a more fluid team without the forward.

England fans will not get carried away by the performance or the result against Germany, as we all know what happens when we do. However if Hodgson shows the same adventure and selection policy at Euro 2016 then Three Lions fans can at least get a bit excited and optimistic for the summers tournament.

How far will England go at Euro 2016?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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