Who Was England’s Star Of Euro 2016?
If you are a fan of Rubix cubes, you will probably have enjoyed England’s Euro 2016 journey so far. From confused selections and formations to positive performances and poor results, it is difficult to know whether England have enjoyed a good tournament so far or one that has heralded promise but minimal reward. Perhaps this will come clearer in the next round, where they will face a plucky Iceland side that snatched second place in Group F from Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
Avoiding the Portuguese may be seen as a stroke of luck for Hodgson’s men, but given their difficulty in breaking down organised defensive units a game against Iceland could turn into an unmitigated nightmare.
This particular conundrum is for another day, however, so for now let’s look back at the group stages and identify England’s best individual performer. Here are our selection at the Bet Hut, in a very particular order…
In third place is Liverpool’s tenacious and technically brilliant Adam Lallana. He gets the nod ahead of Tottenham’s imposing Eric Dier for his relentless pressing (thanks Jurgen), energy and appetite to play despite being fielded largely out of position.
Lallana has only been denied a goal or two by some outstanding saves, while his guile and movement in the final third have created space for others. An unsung hero maybe, but Lallana has quietly proved his worth in the tournament so far.
Outstanding against Russia and relentless against Wales, Kyle Walker played with the type of boundless energy that is usually reserved for Duracell Bunnies. While is final ball hasn’t always hit the mark, he has provided a constant outlet for England’s ball players while affording England width to supplement a narrow attacking formation.
Above all else, you cannot help but admire his energy and running power. With pace to burn as well, he will be a key player if England progress beyond the second round.
Now we come to a man who was England’s most polarising figure prior to Euro 2016. The nation’s record goal scorer and former golden boy to some, he was derided by others as a washed-up has been who peaked early due to his arrival on the scene as a precocious 16-year old.
Captain Rooney has been England’s best play by far at the Euros however, dictating play with a stunning range of passing in the opening two games and going close with several strikes at goal. He has also been a calm and cajoling influence within the team, reigning in younger and more impetuous colleagues like Dele Alli and Eric Dier.
He was sorely missed for the opening hour against Slovakia, and England will need Rooney firing if they are to break down Iceland and advance deep into the tournament.