Who Will Roy Take: The Midfield Maestros Making The Plane
January 21, 2016
The midfield is where games are won and lost and whilst England have an abundance right now, it’s choosing the players that will be most effective in driving the Three Lions through a successful tournament.
With the old guard of Lampard and Gerrard gone, England are relatively young and inexperienced, meaning Roy Hodgson will have to work hard to find the right balance ahead of the tournament. He’s experimented with the likes of Dele Alli and has even called up Jesse Lingard in the past, but do they warrant a place in the squad?
We take a look at the midfield men who could be taking up the likely eight or nine seats on the plane.
Michael Carrick has only 34 caps for England, which is a travesty for the talent of the man. Should he get a call up to the squad, he’ll comfortably be the oldest member, but with his cool nature and ability to pick a pass as well as break up play, he could also be one of the most vital.
It’s likely the man will be on the plane but how much game time he’ll get is another question. Still, we expect him to play a key role within the squad.
Should Henderson get the nod, which he very likely will, the Liverpool captain will celebrate his 25th birthday in France and what better way to do it than put in some excellent performances and help his nation progress into the latter stages?
He’s a versatile player who would be able to fill in for injuries, but will no doubt start in the centre of the park where his bustling performances for the Reds have been impressive.
Another Liverpool star, James Milner has been Mr Reliable for club and country over the years, and like Henderson can fill a number of positions.
He’s featured in England’s last three squads in major tournaments and will use that experience to guide the younger players in what for most of them will be their first tournament. Like previous tournaments he’ll probably be utilised more from the bench, but he’ll certainly be there.
Ross Barkley is one of England’s most exciting new talents and could be a key figure for England in the tournament. His technique and power are frightening for defences and when he picks up the ball and runs at defenders he’s unstoppable.
Perhaps his rawness could be an issue, with him prone to giving the ball away in dangerous areas, but like Rooney in Euro 2004, he’ll be one of England’s most exciting players in France.
Jack Wilshere will of course have to be fit if he’s going to make the squad, but should he be, he’ll be right in the heart of England’s midfield. Roy Hodgson seems to like the Arsenal man and his performance against Switzerland for the Three Lions showed exactly what he can do at international level.
Fitness will be key in the coming months, but if he is healthy for the Euros, he’ll have a big part to play.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain burst onto the scene and has already seen tournament football at both Euro 2012 and the Brazil World Cup despite being just 22 years of age, and will likely be used as an impact sub in this tournament once again.
He’s scored some impressive goals for England and his pace will trouble many in the tournament.
Many are tipping Theo Walcott to shine at the Euros with his pace and could be the man on the right hand side with Sterling occupying the left.
England seem to have an abundance of wingers at the moment with Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling, and Townsend all regular calls up, as well as Jesse Lingard also in decent form with Manchester United. Walcott though has been there done that. He’s 40+ caps to his name and has the added bonus of being able to lead the line too.
It goes without saying that this man will be on the plane and his presence in the England squad is becoming ever greater. Making the move to Manchester City in the summer, he’s proved he’s becoming a world class player. This could be his tournament.
It’ll be interesting to see if Adam Lallana will make Roy’s 23. One thing is for sure is that the former Southampton man is extremely talented. The 27-year-old can play in the centre of the park or on the wings and is one of the most creative players in the squad.
Of late though he’s found himself on the fringes of the squad and may not make the grade when it comes to a trip to France, particularly with him struggling for form with Liverpool.
Just a year ago Dele Alli was playing in the Championship for MK Dons but in that short space of time he’s become a Spurs regular, featured a handful of times for England, and scored an incredibly special goal against France.
Roy’s not afraid of throwing youngsters into the fold which could mean the teenager finds himself with a real shot of glory. His performances have been worthy and he’s become a real force in the midfield for club. Can he for country?
Fabian Delph’s transfer to Manchester City could have been the kiss of death for the former Villa man, with him expected to get just a snip of the gametime he did last season when he was dominating the midfield and earning his stripes as an England player.
If he can do the same for City in the second half of the season he’ll be sure of a call up, but when you’re competing against Yaya Toure, Fernando, Fernandinho, and a wealth of other midfielders it’s going to be tough.
Jesse Lingard has finally broken into the Manchester United team after four different spells on loan, and he’s proving he’s got what it takes to play in the top flight.
The player has spent two years in the Under 21s and was called up to the senior squad for the first time in November replacing Carrick and Vardy who pulled out injured. There’s certainly a big future for Lingard, but will it begin in France in the summer?