This weekend signifies the end of the season and what a season it has been. I don’t think anyone will ever get tired of talking about how unlikely and important it was that Leicester City won the Premier League. After this weekend’s final fixtures there is one more thing that has to be decided and that is the England squad for Euro 2016 next month.
This Monday Roy Hodgson will pick his 23 man squad along with a few back-up players to represent England in at Euro 2016 in France. Many of the players like Joe Hart, Harry Kane and Chris Smalling are certainties for selections but there are a few who are on the fringes and a few who could be surprise inclusions.
The squad selected will probably go as follows:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton) and Tom Heaton (Burnley).
Defenders: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Kyle Walker (Spurs), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), John Stones (Everton), Danny Rose (Spurs) and Ryan Bertrand (Southampton).
Midfielders: Eric Dier (Spurs), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), James Milner (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) and Dele Alli (Spurs).
Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Spurs), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) and Theo Walcott (Arsenal).
Back Ups: Ben Foster (West Brom), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Leighton Baines (Everton), Ross Barkley (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Andros Townsend (Newcastle) and Andy Carroll (West Ham)
This is the squad I would select for Euro 2016 but there are a few injury doubts in there with Jordan Henderson missing a month of action so far. I had originally gone for Danny Welbeck but he will unfortunately miss the tournament after suffering a knee ligament injury away to Manchester City which will keep him out of the game for 9 months.
As well as injury doubts there are a few notable absentees the most surprising being Everton’s Ross Barkley. I personally think England should take Barkley but I fear for his place after the season that Dele Alli has had and the return to fitness of Jack Wilshere also damaged his claim.
If Henderson does fail to recover before the tournament I fully expect Barkley to be his replacement but the player who I feel most sorry for is West Ham captain Mark Noble. Noble and West Ham have had a fantastic season challenging for the Champions League which is still a possibility, but even loyal fans will admit a lot will have to go their way. This doesn’t disparage what Noble has achieved this season and I can only think he is either being held back because of his age or the club he is at (sorry to say but that might be true).
His team-mate Andy Carroll on the other hand may not have that problem. Now that Danny Welbeck cannot make the squad I think the long-haired target man could be his replacement. Andy Carroll has played very well when fit and could cause European defences untold troubles because of his aerial ability and his strength. If England are behind with 20 minutes to go and fancy the long ball to get a goal, there really isn’t a better man. Carroll’s drawback however is his injury record. This may not be a problem for this summer but it certainly will be going forward to the future.
Another player who should be considered despite his age is Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe. Defoe has played over 50 games for England scoring 19 goals but has not played for the Three Lions since 2013. His absence from the squad is probably due to the lack of game time he received late into his Spurs career and his move to the MLS with Toronto. This season however he has shown that he never lost his goalscoring ability; he has scored 15 league goals this season for a struggling Sunderland side who could still be relegated. Defoe’s only drawback is his age as he is 33 years old and Hodgson will most likely want to look towards the future.
Before anybody asks though, Euro 2016 is too early for Marcus Rashford. I am looking forward to seeing him progress and aim for the 2018 World Cup squad. Personally I think Roy Hodgson will pick Welbeck’s Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott as a replacement despite only scoring 5 goals in 28 appearances but I hope Hodgson surprises us.
With England however you never know, Walcott he was a surprise selection in Sven Goran Eriksson’s final squad for the 2006 World Cup; so maybe, just maybe, England fans will be in for a surprise.
England are currently 9/1 on too win EURO 2016 outright, and 5/1 on to reach the final. Harry Kane is 18/1 on for the top goalscorer competition, Rooney is 28/1 and his team- mates Jamie Vardy, and Daniel Sturridge aren’t far behind on 33/1.
Look out the for England Squad announcement this Monday, May 16th.
(images: the Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Express, thefa.com, football365.com, youtube.com)