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Three Wildcard Selections for England’s Euro 2016 Squad

April 17, 2016

- Grant Whittington

While a 23-man squad may seem a little light when selecting players for a major international tournament, there is always rooms for one or two surprise choices. After all, wildcard selections can catch rival teams off-guard while young and unheralded players often operate with freedom and immense positivity.

This does not always work, of course, as former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson can testify. His bizarre decision to select a 17-year-old and uncapped Theo Walcott for the 2006 World Cup backfired significantly, for example, as the youngster failed to play a single moment and took up a much needed forward space in the squad.

Despite this, we may yet see even a conservative manager like Roy Hodgson select a wildcard or two for this year’s European finals. Here are three potential stars old and new that we think he should consider…

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United

While Manchester United Academy manager Nicky Butt believes that it would be reckless to take young striker Marcus Rashford to Euro 2016, there has been an initial clamour to see the impressive forward included. Rashford scored four times in his first two appearances for the Reds, displaying maturity and a keen eye for goal that bellied his years. He also scored the winner in the Manchester derby and helped take United to the FA Cup Semi-Final, but while his continued development would make him a shoe-in for future squads this tournament may have come around a little too early.

Andy Carroll, West Ham United

Given that there are some who believe that England’s captain and all-time leading goal-scorer may struggle to secure a place in the squad, it seems West Ham’s Andy Carroll could be a genuine contender. If Roy does take five strikers, however, Carroll could provide something completely different and the type of aerial ability that nearly destroyed Arsenal in a recent Premier League encounter. Carroll bagged a hat-trick in this match, and while his temperament and playing style may be questionable at international level he must surely be an option in France?

Danny Drinkwater, Leicester City

In truth, Danny Drinkwater should be a shoe-in for this summer’s England squad, but Hodgson has left it late to give the impressive and tireless Foxes midfielder a fair opportunity within the side. While he may not play for a so-called ‘big four’ club he has played an integral role in Leicester’s incredible title charge this season, developing his game rapidly while adding cultured passing to his energy and tireless work-rate. He was simply brilliant in the Foxes’ recent 2-0 win at Sunderland, winning numerous tackles in the middle of the park and laying on assist for Jamie Vardy with a stunning, long-range pass.

Make no mistake, Drinkwater would be a wildcard given his lack of experience but he should definitely be in the 23-man squad.

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