The question that has been on English football supporters lips during this international break has been “What team should Roy Hodgson start with in the Euro’s?”.
I have selected my own starting eleven, which I would start in the first game of the Euros against Russia. I have decided to opt with a 4-3-3 formation.
Goalkeeper – Joe Hart:
Joe Hart is undoubtedly the best English goalkeeper available this summer.
After Jack Butland’s injury, Hart is set to start for his country and his contribution will be vital if England are going to go far in this tournament.
Right Back – Nathaniel Clyne:
Clyne has impressed since joining Liverpool and he has been one of their better players this season.
His main competitor for the right back slot is Tottenham’s Kyle Walker. Even though I do think Walker has improved and has been impressive this season, I would select Clyne as I feel he is better defensively than his counterpart, while also having the ability to stride forward to provide support on the right flank.
Centre Back – Chris Smalling:
Smalling has progressed well and has asserted himself as England’s best centre back. The defender has started in both of the friendlies this week and he is one of the players who I feel has already done enough to earn himself a starting place this summer.
Centre Back – John Stones:
I would play Stones over Gary Cahill, not necessarily because he is a better defender at this point in time, but because I feel Stones’ potential is outstanding and he could go onto become a world class defender in the near future.
The experience of starting at an international tournament, in a team that does not have any significant ambitions, will be vital for his progression as he will be able to ply his trade against the best in Europe.
Left Back – Danny Rose:
After watching the last two international friendlies against Holland and Germany, my decision of who to play at left-back was made much easier.
Rose has come on a vast amount since last season in a Tottenham side which is thriving. The factor that has most impressed me is his defensive play, which he has really improved on over the course of the season.
Defensive Midfielder – Eric Dier:
Dier is another example of a success story at Tottenham Hotspur this term. He has been used mainly as a holding midfielder this season and he has covered his defence and broken up play astutely. He has been a key component in a defensive unit which has conceded the least amount of goals in the Premier League this season, with only 24 goals in 31 games.
Centre Midfield – Dele Alli:
Alli arrived at Tottenham from League One side, MK Dons in the summer, and he quickly asserted himself as a key player at both club and international level.
Alli is now one of the best young midfielders in Europe, and if he is looked after appropriately he will definitely become a world class talent for both the England national team and Tottenham.
Centre Midfield – Ross Barkley:
Barkley is another player who has performed well for his club and he has only been out performed by their star striker Romelu Lukaku. Similarly to Alli, Barkley has the potential to become a real star and international tournament experience will do both of them the world of good.
In my opinion he will complement Alli well in midfield, as they are both able to be dangerous in attacking areas and they both have the ability to dictate the game when they are playing at their best.
Right Forward – Danny Welbeck:
It has not taken Welbeck long to return to his best form since coming back from injury, by scoring three goals in his five appearances since making his comeback.
We have seen during Roy Hodgson’s tenure as England manager that he is a huge fan of Welbeck. Hodgson played him throughout the majority of the qualification campaign, and Welbeck has proven he is not out of place at international level courtesy of his fine goal scoring record as an England player, with 14 goals in his 34 caps.
Centre Forward – Harry Kane:
Kane had his doubters at the beginning of the season, but he acted quickly to successfully quash the bad press directed at him. He has proven this season that he is a top class player and that he is amongst the best strikers in European football.
He is now a certainty to start at the Euro’s and his performances could be key to how England perform this summer.
Left Forward – Jamie Vardy:
This year has been Vardy’s break out season in the top flight, scoring 19 goals in the process. His rise up the footballing ladder has been nothing short of astounding. Four years ago, he was scoring for Conference side Fleetwood Town, now he is equalising for his country against World Champions Germany, and putting England one goal up against the Netherlands.
There isn’t any other England player like Vardy and I think England’s opponents will fear going into the unknown by playing against Jamie Vardy.
It is important to be aware this starting eleven would not be used throughout the tournament. Hodgson needs to utilize his squad efficiently in different situations when we may need a goal, or possibly when we need to consolidate.
It will be very intriguing to see how our young players adapt to playing against Europe’s elite in such high pressure circumstances at this summer’s tournament.
What we have learned from this past week is that when England are at their best, we are able to compete against some of the best international teams in the world. I am not going to get overly optimistic about the tournament to save me from potential disappointment. However what we can hope for is that our players do us proud and give us belief that our nation’s football team has a bright future.