Who Will Roy Take: The Defenders To Solidify England’s Chances
January 20, 2016
We’ve already highlighted the goalkeepers who will most likely be heading to the European Championships in the summer, but which players will be the ones protecting Joe Hart as England look to win their first ever title?
There are a handful of hopefuls who unfortunately won’t make the squad, with around seven expected to board the plane, but who are we expecting Roy to choose for their opening game against Russia.
It’s a big IF for Luke Shaw and that’s why we’ve started with him. The left back suffered a horrendous injury in September after what had been a really good start to the season for the 20-year-old. He was blossoming into a sure-fire England starter and looked to be Hodgson’s first choice.
Will he be fit in time? We’ll have to wait and see…
Another player to suffer from injury in the early stages of the season, Leighton Baines has forced himself into being an England regular and is one of the country’s best dead ball specialists. We expect him to be there and at 31 will be one of the nation’s most seasoned pros.
He’s been at England’s last two tournaments, featuring in two of England’s three games in their disastrous World Cup campaign in 2014.
Keiran Gibbs doesn’t just have to fight for his place in the England squad, but for his place in the Arsenal one too. A player whose inclusion will likely depend on the fitness of Luke Shaw, Gibbs has played a number of times for Hodgson and seems fairly confident in the white of the national team.
He’s unlikely to be a starter, but Roy seems to like him.
Beginning his career with Chelsea, Bertrand had been a prospect for some time, although never quite made it with the Blues, making just 28 appearances before making his next permanent move to Southampton in 2015.
It would be the first tournament for the player if he was to get a call up, and will most likely provide back up to the back four.
Nathaniel Clyne appears to be solidifying a place as first choice right back in Roy Hodgson’s side ahead of Kyle Walker and is almost certain to be in the squad in the summer.
He’s in decent form for Liverpool and at just 24 he’ll be martialling that right flank for many years to come.
John Stones is currently one of the most talked about centre backs in Europe and is a must start for England at the Euros. His cool on the ball is reminiscent of a young Rio Ferdinand and he is blooming into one of Europe’s finest.
Since last summer Chelsea, Manchester United, and Barcelona have all taken an interest in the 21-year-old and a successful summer will increase his value once again.
Once thought of as a dead-cert for the Three Lions in the heart of the defence, it’ll be interesting to see how Roy plays it in the summer. Cahill will undoubtedly be on the plane but whether he’ll start ahead of Stones and an in-form Chris Smalling is another story.
After a turbulent start to the season he’ll need to rediscover his form if he’s to have a big part to play in the summer.
Smalling has been outstanding in Manchester United’s back line this season and has taken that form into the England setup.
His game has matured incredibly this season and we’d be amazed if he wasn’t in the heart of that back four when England kick off on June 11.
Despite being just 24, Phil Jones already has the experience of two major tournaments and will likely be in the squad once again thanks to his versatility and whole-hearted displays.
He can fit into almost any position across the back four as well as being a good option in the centre of midfield. The perfect substitute. If he’s fit of course.
At 33, it’s likely Euro 2016 will be Phil Jagielka’s last few games in an England shirt, that’s if he gets a call up at all.
He’s been an ever-present in the England squad over the last few years however so it’s likely he will, and it would be a fitting way to end an international career which has so far seen him earn almost 40 caps.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Hodgson goes with Walker or Clyne at the Euros with both key players for their clubs and offering plenty of attack down the right flank.
It’s likely Walker will be in the squad, and whoever the manager chooses, we will look relatively strong in the right back position.