England has qualified for Euro 2016 with a 100 per cent record from their group. Roy Hodgson’s side completed their qualification campaign with a 3-0 in Lithuania on Monday night.
In truth the opposition was not the best the world has to offer and no doubt tougher tests lie ahead in France next summer. In fact the rest of the group presented very little challenge to England.
It seems that England boss Roy Hodgson is still testing out his best options, as during the qualification campaign the former-West Brom used an incredible 33 players. Liverpool striker Danny Ings became the 33rd player used during qualification when he came on in the Three Lions most recent win in Lithuania.
There are not many players that could be completely ruled out of making the plane to France from the 33, and there are always players who hit form at just the right time to force their way into the thoughts of the England boss.
English football is thought to have a number of talented young players coming through the ranks, who are on the fringes of the squad, or who have made fleeting appearances for Hodgson’s side in recent months.
Injuries have not helped Roy Hodgson settle on a regular first eleven in qualifying, so that has resulted in England putting out experimental line-ups in a number of their games. It is hard to say if England has a preferred eleven, or not.
The comfortable nature of qualification will not help England when it gets to the main tournament next summer. The Three Lions have a tendency to be flat-track bullies, defeating all the smaller nations with ease, but when they face a team of any standard just collapse like a leftover jelly.
England are not the greatest team in Europe, but the Three Lions do have some good players who are playing at a good standard, week-in and week-out, yet when they take to the field against any decent team they seem to forget how to pass the ball to each other.
One of the big questions raised in recent months is whether Wayne Rooney should still be in the Three Lions starting line-up. Despite recently becoming England’s record ever goalscorer, his form has been poor this season.
This has led to some England fans questioning his place in the England team, especially with Everton starlet Ross Barkley looking so promising in the number ten role. The number ten role is arguably Rooney’s most effective position.
Rooney has for much of his England career played up front, but England have the likes of the fit-again Daniel Sturridge and Tottenham’s Harry Kane competing for that role at the moment. It looks doubtful that his starting place with England is under doubt, but there are some decent youngsters coming through the England ranks that will put pressure on Rooney for his starting position in the team.
As always heading into a major competition England will be considered by many as contenders to win the trophy. The Three Lions are currently fifth favourites to win Euro 2016 at odds of 10/1.
However this is typical of bookmakers and sentimental punters at the bookmakers, following their heart instead of their head.
Their heart will be telling them that England are world beaters, while their head will be telling them the stark reality that the Three Lions are likely to go out of Euro 2016 with a whimper. This not me being pessimistic, this is just me taking into account the failures of the past few tournaments.
In previous competitions, England bosses knew most of their starting eleven months before the tournament actually started. This time Roy Hodgson will still be experimenting until right before the competition begins.
England have done the easy part by qualifying from a favourable group, but now comes the hard part for Roy Hodgson and his team, actually making an impact at a big tournament, which the team has now failed to do for some time.
As an England fan I watch their games at major competitions in hope, more than expectation. It would be a major surprise if for once those overhyped players turned up and actually achieved something at a big tournament. I am not holding my breath though.
How far will England progress at Euro 2016?