England kick-off their Euro 2016 journey on 11th June in Marseille, with a Group B encounter against Russia. The Three Lions’ manager Roy Hodgson announced his 23-man provisional squad for the Euros leaving out Danny Drinkwater and Andres Townsend at the expense of Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge.
England’s Euro 2016 Squad
Manager: Roy Hodgson
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster, Joe Hart, Tom Heaton.
Defenders: Ryan Betrand , Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Rose, Chris Smalling, John Stones, Kyle Walker.
Midfielders: Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Fabian Delph, Eric Dier, Danny Drinkwater, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend, Jack Wilshere.
Forwards: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy.
Apart from a few surprises, Roy Hodgson named a squad matching the popular belief. The most notable inclusion was that of Marcus Rashford, who has surprised everyone with his ground-breaking performances in last couple of months.
Injury to striker Danny Welbeck meant there would be dearth of options up front, prompting Hodgson to include Rashford; who is equally adept in a wider role as he is in a central role.
Jack Wilshere, returning from a year out on sidelines, makes his way into the setup and so dies Daniel Sturridge. However, their injury remains a cause of concern for every England fan as they have played very little football leading up to the Euros.
Harry Kane: England’s hope for goals at this year’s Euros. The Tottenham striker finished as the league’s top scorer with 25 goals, propelling his side to a Champions League berth. With Rooney set for a withdrawn role, Kane will shoulder the responsibility of goals for Hodgson’s side.
Wayne Rooney: Although Rooney’s club form does not demand inclusion, England’s all-time top scorer is indispensable. Rooney is set to play a withdrawn role in Hodgson’s engine room, freeing space upfront for the likes of Kane and Vardy. The 30-year-old put in a sublime performance against Bournemouth in midfield, justifying his anticipated inclusion in England’s midfield.
Marcus Rashford: Marcus Rashford’s participation in the 26-man squad was an eyebrow raiser. The Manchester United teenager has a goal in every other game for the Red Devils, and was picked up by Hodgson against the popular demand of Jermain Defoe or Andy Carroll.
Not many expect the 18-year-old to be on the plane to France, but with stellar performances in last couple of months, he might just have booked his tickets for France. He could prove to be England’s Michael Owen of 1998.
Expect England to line up in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand, who have been exceptional for Liverpool and Southampton respectively, will be partnered by Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill.
Eric Dier will patrol the back four, allowing the full-backs to bomb forward, like he has done seamlessly for Tottenham. Despite Hodgson’s admiration and fondness of Jack Wilshere, Arsenal midfielder is expected to be benched by his Tottenham counterpart Dele Alli.
The front three will be spearheaded by Kane, flanked by the tireless James Milner on the right, and the tricky Raheem Sterling on the left.
Russia (11 June), Wales (16 June), Slovakia (20 June)
How far can they go?
England have been a disappointment on the big stage for the major part in the 20th century. The Three Lions have been eliminated from the quarter-finals on two consecutive occasions in the last two Euros. They even failed to make it to the group stages back in 2008.
This time, with a blend of youth and experience, fans and pundits expect England to surpass their previous sojourns. A semi-final dash seems more likely this time; and with major teams like Italy suffering from crucial injuries, it isn’t difficult to see why Hodgson’s men shouldn’t make it to the penultimate round of the Stade de France final showdown.
Image Credit: Getty, Lineupbuilder