The road is now clear to this summer’s European Championship for England after they beat Romania 1-0 in their final warm-up game last night. It was something of a tough affair in the sense that the Romanians didn’t just want to sit back and make it easy for them, especially with England being the only team out of the two heading to the Euros this week.
Marcus Rashford scored the one and only goal of the game from the penalty spot but as we look ahead to the Croatia clash, it feels like there are plenty of other things to discuss.
Jordan Henderson being back in the team is undoubtedly a good thing for England because at this tournament, they need someone like him to really protect the midfield. Of course, we can’t guarantee he’s going to make a substantial splash, but if he plays to his full potential he’ll be fine – even if what happened last night wasn’t great. We all saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin win a second penalty for England but instead of giving DCL the chance to boost his confidence, Henderson decided to take it himself, subsequently missing it.
The Grealish effect
It’s a pretty simple way of saying it but Jack Grealish is really, really good at football. The Aston Villa man knows precisely what strings to pull in order to be successful at this level and that’s why everyone thinks he should be starting for England at the Euros. If there’s a way to get him starting alongside Harry Kane and Phil Foden, there’s an easy argument to be made that England have the potential to be the most exciting attacking team at the Euros – and there’s plenty of competition for that, too.
How far can England go?
Based on the evidence of these last two warm-up friendlies, we’d have to say England probably won’t win the Euros this year. Alas, that’s not really how the beautiful game works, which is why we should all be expecting the unexpected across the next few weeks. There is every reason to believe the Three Lions can and will go far in this tournament but if they want to do so, Gareth Southgate needs to use the group stage as a real guiding light for what he wants to accomplish and achieve. If they utilise their best options in the final third, they should be alongside France as the leading contenders.
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