Hodgson to axe 3 stars tomorrow
England manager Roy Hodgson needs to decide on 3 England players to drop from his squad for Euro 2016 tomorrow.
There were some surprises in the initial 26-man squad named on 16th May, including Manchester City’s Fabian Delph, Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, Newcastle’s Andros Townsend, and 18-year-old Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford.
Since then, England have played 2 friendlies, against Turkey at The Etihad Stadium in Manchester, and against Australia at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland. Both games resulted in 2-1 wins, with Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney all grabbing goals.
Tomorrow, UEFA’s deadline on nations naming their 23-man squad arrives, meaning 3 England stars have got to go. It’s very much thought nationwide that City’s Fabian Delph will surely be dropping out of the squad, but the other two names are being heavily debated. Here are all the names that have been mentioned and whether they should go to Euro 2016 with England or not this summer.
Sturridge has had an injury-plagued season with his club Liverpool and has suffered another calf-strain over the last couple of days, but returns to training today. He’s very injury prone, as all fans would agree, but, particularly for Liverpool this season, can very much be the difference when he’s on the pitch. The goal he scored in the Europa League final was a world-class finish, and that’s the type of quality he can bring to England when he’s on his day. But is he too inconsistent? Maybe, and that could be his downfall.
Rashford make an impressive start to his England career on Friday, scoring 138 seconds into his debut against Australia. However, he only burst onto the scene in February. At Christmas, no-one had heard of the lad. Would a spot in Hodgson’s squad be too much too soon for the 18-year-old? Most people are saying it’s between him and Sturridge, so will Roy choose experience over fresh talent? Or will he take a risk and take the youngster? Or will he simply pick Rashford over the injury-prone Sturridge?
2 years ago, Ross Barkley was being branded the brightest young talent in English football. He was being linked with United and Chelsea, and was the main man for Everton as they chased Champions League football in the 2013/14 season. Unfortunately, over the last 2 seasons, Barkley hasn’t really developed as a player much. His form has certainly dipped over the most recent season, along with Everton’s form as a team, and that may severely affect his chances of making the plane. He hasn’t made an impact in the two friendly games so far, and that may lead Roy to wonder if he’s really needed in the team or not. Adam Lallana, Wayne Rooney and Deli Alli can all play in Barkley’s preferred number 10 role, and his chances of starting ahead of all of those are incredibly limited.
Henderson spent the last month or so of Liverpool’s season out with a knee injury he picked up in Liverpool’s away game vs Borussia Dortmund. He returned right at the end of the season but didn’t start again. The case for Jordan Henderson to be dropped is centered around the amount of centre-midfielders England already have in the squad. James Milner, Danny Drinkwater, Eric Dyer, Jack Wilshere and even Wayne Rooney are all happy to play in midfield, so is Henderson one too many? Possibly. However, he was a real influence in the game against Turkey at the Etihad, and his energy closing down and leading his midfield are qualities that Roy Hodgson will want in his side, so there’s a very fine case for him to go to France
For similar reasons to Henderson, Drinkwater’s place is in slight doubt. However, after a groundbreaking season with Leicester, Drinkwater has more than earned his place in the squad and will probably not be the one dropping out.
Many people disagree with the decision to include him in the squad in the first place due to his heavily-troubled injured past. Wilshere spent 8 months of the season out with a knee injury but still managed to make the squad. His performance against Turkey however was quite strong, and he made a valid case for staying in the squad, and Roy Hodgson more often that not is singing his praises. So, whether he should go or not, England fans are likely to see him in France this summer.
When the squad was released, Townsend was one of the 3 names that England fans were betting on being dropped. However, after the 2 friendlies that have been played, I think most of those fans are now reconsidering their thoughts. Townsend played very well against Australia on Friday, and despite his club Newcastle being relegated from the Premier League this season, his signing in January was a great move from Steve McLaren, and his goals were almost enough to keep the Toon army in the top flight. It wasn’t to be in the end, but without him it’s likely Newcastle would’ve been relegated much sooner.
He’s a name that hasn’t really been mentioned, and it’s unlikely that he’ll be one to be dropped, however there is a case for him to stay at home. Danny Rose has been a much better fit at left-back and if England want to take all the midfielders they have now, Bertrand might be an option to leave at home. A potential 7 games to play for Danny Rose (should England get to the final) is a lot of game time, but it’s not as if England are lacking cover for the full-back positions. Nathaniel Clyne has been known to play on the left-hand side, and if he were to go over there, Kyle Walker could cover for him. Failing that, Jordan Henderson and James Milner have both successfully played in full-back positions in their Liverpool career, meaning there is cover on all basis?
Who will make the plane then?
It’s a decision that opens up lots of options for Hodgson. Will he take Sturridge or Rashford? Or both? Will Jack Wilshere be going to France? How many central-midfielders will Roy want to take? Will he want to take 5 strikers?
My prediction: If I was Roy, I’d be leaving Delph, Barkley and Rashford at home. A lot of people have claimed they’d rather leave Sturridge over Rashford, but I think Sturridge, injury-prone or not, just has a lot more experience and quality in his locker. He’s proven over the years that he can create chances and goals out of nothing for Liverpool, so it’s a much safer bet to take him over the young United striker. Sorry Marcus, next time. Barkley, on the other hand, just doesn’t have the firepower to dethrone Alli, Lallana, and Rooney from that number 10 role. There’s no space for him, and after a below-par season for Everton, he should miss out this time in my opinion.
By Ben Kelly – @benkelly_10