With Euro 2016 almost right at our doorsteps, we look at the Three Lions squad and their chances of staking a big claim as one of the major contenders at this year’s European Championship in France.
England, who qualified easily with 10 wins from 10 games, will be battling it out with Russia, Slovakia and of course neighbours Wales in the Group Stage of the tournament that has always eluded them since its inception in 1960.
According to many football experts, England are tipped to win Group B given their perfect qualifying record, coupled with several good performances in the various friendly matches they’ve been involved in, with the most eye-catching being the 3-2 win over world champions Germany in March.
Some notable names in the 23-man squad selected by manager Roy Hodgson includes current Premier League winner Jamie Vardy, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge, James Milner, Manchester City’s expensive but steadily developing youngster Raheem Sterling, Arsenal’s talented but injury-prone Jack Wilshere, whose controversial selection has caused a lot of eyebrow raising. The emergence of fresh blood such as Dele Alli, Manchester United’s rising prodigy Marcus Rashford and of course the in form Tottenham forward and Premier League’s highest goalscorer Harry Kane has cause of optimism.
Harry Kane coupled with the presence of veterans like Joe Hart and Wayne Rooney who both have over 150 caps between them should all help the Three Lion’s have a real go at making a statement at this year’s Championship. In addition to this, the 31 goals scored and just 3 conceded during the qualifying campaign, showed this England side is rich in talent, experience and tenacity to break opponents down without letting in too many goals in the process. But also bearing in mind some notable names (Walcott, Oxlade Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Fabian Delph, Andy Carroll and controversially omitted Leicester star Danny Drinkwater) who all missed out in Roy’s final 23-man squad but played a major part in the qualifying process for England.
With the tournament a few days from now, the big question is will players like Wilshere, Rashford justify their selection by putting in solid performances when called upon or will the exclusion of players like Drinkwater, Theo Walcott have a significant effect on the team’s performance at the European football’s showpiece event, where the Three Lion’s best performance is a semi final finish at both the 1968 and 1996 championships. Time will tell.
England 23 man squad:
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Defenders: Ryan Betrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
By Olatunde, TFN Columnist on 03/06/2016 at 21:10
Follow Olatunde on Twitter @Horlatunde