Looking back on the international break, it is fair to say that the England National Team made a strong name for themselves in terms of their chances of winning the European Championship this June. A fair amount of those players featured consisted of players playing for teams in the top four; those being Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester City.
The season itself has belonged arguably to Leicester and the breathtaking story yielded, and it gave caps to talismans Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater, both of which would never have been considered this time last year. As well as Leicester Tottenham were also very well represented, with four of the Spurs lineup starting against Germany: Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Deli Alli and Harry Kane. All four also featured in the 1-2 defeat at the hands of The Netherlands, however this time with Kyle Walker also featuring.
— Ashley Theophane (@AshleyTheophane) March 17, 2016
Firstly considering the amount of players included in the England squad, it is only fair to look at Tottenham first. The transformation made by the club under Mauricio Pochettino has been there for all to see. In seasons gone by they would give up leads and lose games they should easily win, with the phrase “doing a Spurs” being engraved into the footballing dictionary. However this season, they have played a style that their manager has played during his tenure in the Premier League, and it seems to be paying off. High pressing defending and slick, fast moves have become characteristic of the white side of North London, with players Deli Alli and Eric Dier being a revelation, they deserve their places in Englands squad, with both making cases for the PFA Young Player of the Year.
Harry Kane has been under everyone’s radar for a long time now, however the league’s top scorer is starting to cement his place in Roy Hodgson’s starting eleven with some fine performances, and some even finer goals. Many have compared the local lad to the likes of current all-time Premier League top goalscorer Alan Shearer, which if said a couple of years ago, would have been laughed at however now, there is a very strong case for this. Finally, both full backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker produced performances worthy enough to be included. It could be argued that they do slip under the radar as many peoples’ eyes are focused on the likes of Kane and Alli, yet some very adept defending and impressive speed in going forward may signify that the Left Back and Right Back positions are in good hands.
With none of Spurs’ players coming out with an injury, and goals coming from Kane and Dier, and a Man of the Match performance from Alli in the process, it can only be assumed that Spurs will come back a lot stronger in the title race run in, and they will certainly make things interesting for Leicester.
Unlike Spurs, Leicester did not have as many representitives in the England squad, with Vardy and Drinkwater being their only representatives, and the latter only receiving his first ever England cap against The Netherlands. At the moment, no conversation about Leicester can exclude their main striker, Vardy. He’s broke records, scored some breathtaking goals and now he’s an England star. His rise from non-league football to being on the brink of winning the title has been meteoric, despite him hitting somewhat of a dry spell. Despite this, Hodgson called him up to the squad and he did not disappoint at all. His first England goal will be one to certainly remember, a backheel flick against Germany in Berlin, against arguable the best goalkeeper in the world, being a catalyst for an amazing comeback is nothing short of fairytale. He then went on to score England’s only goal against The Netherlands, being in the right place to finish off a slick move, something of which was a rarity for the Three Lions in that game.
— SOCCER.COM (@soccerdotcom) March 29, 2016
The rise of Leicester’s other representative is also something not to be overlooked. From being an outcast at Manchester United, Danny Drinkwater could now in fact put one over his new club by winning the title, with some excellent performances in midfield being enough to make any United fan green with envy. He received his first cap against the Netherlands and despite what looked like a relatively anonymous performance, he was very comfortable on the ball, rarely putting a foot wrong. Both Vardy and Drinkwater can go back to the King Power Stadium with their heads held high, with Vardy finding his scoring touch again, it won’t now only be Mahrez that the Foxes have to rely on for goals, and their combined firepower should see them through to the end.
Meanwhile, the other two teams in the top four did not get as much of a showing. With Joe Hart injured no-one featured for Manchester City, which could be a worrying factor for them in terms of their reputation regarding homegrown talent. Meanwhile Arsenal in fact had two; Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott, however neither played that much. Welbeck played 71 minutes in both games and despite not being able to feature as much as he would have liked, he did impress with some threatening runs with gave German right back Emre Can a fair bit to worry about. Meanwhile, Walcott only played 42 minutes against The Netherlands, and failed to make much of an impact as England laboured to a 1-2 defeat.
Looking at the showing from Arsenal and City, there can be no positives for City as they had no representatives, and with their form rapidly declining, the top four could be slipping out of their grasp. City fans will hope that Joe Hart can find fitness in time for the season run in. Meanwhile for Arsenal, Welbeck showed promise, which should give fans a glimmer of hope that he can score the goals to keep them in the title race. With Wilshere coming back as well, he could potentially make an impression which could put him on the plane to France. In terms of standings in the top four based of just England’s performances, a massive impact could be had on the top 2 teams, Spurs in particular who now yield players brimming with confidence and form. The real winner however in all of this is English football, as the future looks very bright indeed.