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Should Dele Alli be England’s Number 10? This and Other Considerations

May 14, 2016

- Grant Whittington

Euro 2016 is fast approaching, and with the domestic season reaching a less than dramatic conclusion thoughts are beginning to turn to the Three Lions and their most recent quest for international success. The selection of manager Roy Hodgson’s squad is certainly a major talking point, with the former Fulham boss on the brink of including Manchester United starlet Marcus Rashford in his provisional group of players.

This is just one of many considerations facing Hodgson, as he attempts to select a final, 23-man squad that offers balance, experience and quality in equal measure. Here are three others selection headaches that he must resolve prior to the tournament…

Should Dele Alli go as England’s Number 10?

While there is no doubt that Dele Alli has emerged as a rare talent during a stunning season with Spurs, it remains questionable whether he is the man to fill the coveted number 10 role for England this summer. His temperament is certainly questionable, for example, with his recent dismissal against West Bromwich Albion highlighting the petulance that often comes with youth. Even accounting for his man-of-the-match performances against France and Germany, it would represent a significant risk for Hodgson to entrust the pivotal number 10 role to such an inexperienced and impulsive players.

Should Wilshere make the final squad?

To many, the  mere notion of including Jack Wilshere in the England squad is ridiculous After all, the injury-plagued midfielder has made two substitute appearances this year, while he is severely lacking in match fitness after breaking his fibula during pre-season training last August. Despite this he is expected to make the squad and even start the opening group game against Russia, with Hodgson willing to gamble on Wilshere’s poise and power in the holding midfield role.

This is a huge risk, however, especially given the relatively small nature of a 23-man squad, Wilshere’s lack of fitness and his overall injury record.

Where should Wayne Rooney start?

Although he may be a polarising presence in the current England set-up, there is no doubt that a fit Wayne Rooney will travel to France as the nation’s captain and talisman. The emergence of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy as international strikers may force Hodgson to reconsider Rooney’s role in the side, with the skipper likely to drop deeper and play in a midfield role as he has done at Manchester United. Even then there will stiff competition for places, meaning that Rooney may yet have to be content with a place on the substitutes bench.

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