Written by Rhys Paul
One of the biggest concerns throughout Euro 2016 was England’s lack of ruthlessness and clinical finishing despite having more shots than any other team prior to the knockout stage. A pathetic conversion rate of 6.98% before the Iceland game really sums up the performance of the country in front of goal and it was a large factor in the team’s lacklustre campaign. Clearly the strikers should have done better, but do any of them deserve another chance to prove they can perform?
As the most senior member of the team, England needed Rooney to hold the team together. Having dropped back in midfield, there were naturally reservations about the skipper. The game against Russia went downhill when he was substituted, but he lead the team to victory against Wales in the following game. He looked one of the more determined players on the pitch on Monday, but his performance declined and he seemed less capable of retaining possession as the game progressed. He has still failed to deliver on the biggest stage for England, but he should not be made the scapegoat for the entire team’s failure.
First Team – It would be surprising if it is anything less, but he will be a valuable squad player if not.
credit john parish
What happened? 46 goals in 72 league appearances over the last two seasons guaranteed Kane his place in the squad. He looked exhausted for England and, when he wasn’t isolated from the game, he was ineffective when receiving the ball in the final third. The questionable decision to let Kane take corners became laughable when the Spurs frontman showed he was even worse at taking free-kicks. Like Sterling, he should have been dropped. He embodied the whole campaign for England – dispiriting, lifeless and out-of-ideas.
Squad Player – A huge fall from his usual standards means he deserves to be dropped.
Something of an indifferent tournament for Vardy. An equalising goal against Wales with one of his first touches was as good as it got for Vardy, but it was somewhat tainted by a one-on-one miss against Slovakia. Sadly, he would have been best suited as an impact sub for the Russia game. Another player who fans were excited by, he had his hand tied by Hodgson’s tactics.
It is thanks to Sturridge that England even made it out of the group. He started the next two games and contributed very little. Another player negatively affected by Hodgson’s tactics, he was always going to struggle on the wing regardless of the opponent. He needs to overcome his injury struggles and if he does, then he might have a shot at being the first choice striker. For now, his failure to make an impact in the starting eleven holds him back from being a starter.
Squad Player – but a potential ‘drop’ if injuries get the better of him.
In hindsight, Rashford really should have played more. He was a lively presence as a substitute against Wales and his introduction 5 minutes from time against Iceland saw him quickly become the best England player on the pitch. He continues to be unnerved by the occasion and the experienced players could learn a lot from the fearless approach of the 18 year old. The player needs to be allowed to develop naturally and he should be eased into the first team – unless, of course, the other strikers continue to disappoint. The best thing to come out of Euro 2016? Without a doubt.
Squad Player (for now)
Do you agree? Who could be the possible replacements up front? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by john parish