With Euro 2016 around the corner, the tail end of the season marks the perfect time for some of England’s best to mark their names on Roy Hodgson’s team sheet for the opener against Russia on the 11th of June:
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart
The England number 1 is almost a certainty, should he avoid injury. Hart has had a fairly solid season with Manchester City so far, and certainly is England’s best goalkeeper at the moment. However, with Jack Butland rising to the role as Stoke’s shot-stopper this season, Hart may have competition.
Right Back: Nathaniel Clyne
Clyne has been somewhat quite since his move from Southampton to Liverpool. However, the young fullback has plenty of potential and can thrive as a pacey outlet for the team, considering the likes of Walker and Johnson have failed to excite thus so far this season.
Centre Backs: John Stones, Chris Smalling
Gone are the days of Ferdinand and Terry, meaning England will need to find a new partnership at the back. Stones has surprisingly remained at Everton this season, after a deal to join Chelsea seemed almost certain in the summer. He remains one of England’s best youth players, and alongside the more experienced Smalling should perform. Smalling himself has had a brilliant season at Old Trafford, cementing himself as a regular starter ahead of the likes of Phil Jones.
Left Back: Luke Shaw
A slightly controversial decision considering Leighton Baines would miss out. Shaw had been in fantastic form before his horrible injury against PSV in September. Shaw remains in line to return before the Euros, and should he be able to replicate his form from where he left off, he should be a certainty in the starting XI.
Central Defensive Midfielders: Michael Carrick, Jordan Henderson
Michael Carrick has proven just how valuable an asset he is for this England team, proving a direct pathway to switch the play from defense to attack. With him, England are able to find more direct balls to the forwards, bringing a new perspective to the game. Meanwhile Jordan Henderson has been a crucial player for Liverpool this season, bringing leadership to a season, which has lacked stability for the Reds. In what is quite a young team, Carrick and Henderson would provide calmness, experience and authority in the middle of the park.
Central Attacking Midfielders: Dele Alli, Ross Barkley
Alli has been a gem for Spurs since joining from MK Dons. Having both scored and assisted regularly, he has joined the international squad with a bang! Having scored on his debut against France, Alli would benefit from a more advanced role in the squad. Meanwhile Ross Barkley has also had a fantastic season for Everton. With 12 goals and 8 assists, he is a proven player and is just what England need in order to create chances for their strikers
Strikers: Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane
It has been an unbelievable season for Vardy, rising from almost the unknown to inspire Leicester to sit at the top of the table. Having broken Premier League records along the way, Vardy is guaranteed a stop in the squad. Meanwhile Harry Kane is also playing particularly well, aiding Spurs and meaning they currently sit second in the table. Whilst the goals have dried up slightly for Kane, he remains a great finisher and a quality player
Should the Euros be tomorrow, this is the team to go for. However, there is still time for the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling to prove themselves as good enough for the England squad. And as for Wayne Rooney? The fact that England’s all-time leading goal-scorer can’t guarantee himself a place should show just how strong an attack England have heading into France.