Friday, June 22, 2018

Roy Hodgson needs to find answer to attacking conundrum

Tottenham's Harry Kane and Leicester's Jamie Vardy will both be hoping to start England's up coming friendly matches

Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Leicester’s Jamie Vardy will both be hoping to start England’s up coming friendly matches

As England prepares for friendly games against Germany and Holland, Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson will be attempting to find a solution to a conundrum that most bosses would love to have in how to fit all his talented attacking players into a suitable formation.

English players are often overrated, but not often does an England boss get the chance of selecting the top two scorers in the Premier League in his squad, because it is rare for an Englishman to top the scoring charts.

However, Hodgson has the chance to do just that in Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Leicester’s Jamie Vardy.

The Three Lions boss is spoilt for choice in his attacking options and also his attacking midfielders in the likes of Dele Alli and Ross Barkley.

Could England play with two up front?

Roy Hodgson has played with two up front in the past. In fact it was often his preferred way of playing while a club boss. In recent games though he has preferred to play with one striker, which is the norm in football at the moment.

The prospect of Kane and Vardy up front is not that fanciful when you consider that they look like they could be the perfect partnership, Kane with his movement and football intelligence and Vardy with his pace and energy.

There could be a lot of potential in playing both players up front in the upcoming friendly matches and seeing how it pans out. The Three Lions defence has not been that assured in recent games and it seems that Hodgson is still searching for his best back four, so maybe attack is the best form of defence.

Vardy and Kane are obviously not England’s only striking options with Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck also vying for a starting spot and also captain Wayne Rooney to return from injury.

Can you play Barkley and Alli together?

The other big conundrum for the England boss is can he fit both of his talented young attacking midfielders Ross Barkley and Dele Alli into his team.

People will  state that English youngsters are overrated, but the stats for this season do not lie. Tottenham youngster Alli has scored seven times and produced 12 assists in his debut campaign in the Premier League and forged an outstanding understanding with striker Kane.

Their partnership has helped Spurs to challenge for the Premier League this season. Alli at just 19 has taken the top-flight by storm, playing in a variety of different positions he has emerged as one of the brightest youngsters in the top-flight this season.

Barkley has been talked about for a good while as a potential star, but it was not until this season that the 22-year-old has turned potential into something tangible. Barkley has scored eight times and contributed eight assists this season for the Toffees in the Premier League, despite his team underachieving in the top-flight.

The problem for Hodgson is that both players have been most effective playing in the number ten role this season. Both can play in the centre of midfield though, so that gives Hodgson the option of playing one of the pair in a less advanced role.

No time for caution

England are underdogs to win against Germany on Saturday at odds of 9/2, but I suggest that Hodgson uses the game to try and find a perfect solution to get all of his in-form players into the starting line-up.

Hodgson has at times been accused of being cautious, but at the World Cup in 2014 he showed a modicum of adventure in his team selections. At Euro 2016 Hodgson has the chance to leave his mark on an international tournament, something England bosses in recent years have struggled to do.

An England team containing Vardy, Kane, Barkley and Alli would presumably be an exciting prospect for England fans. No doubt the quartet would cause most teams problems at the back.

England’s rivals at Euro 2016 will be unlikely to be running scared of the Three Lions, but there is talent in their squad and hopefully for the fans sake Hodgson will not be scared to pick an adventurous team, in both the upcoming friendlies and at Euro 2016.

Can England field a team containing Kane, Vardy, Alli and Barkley at Euro 2016?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer 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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