Written by Alex Jewitt
Ahead of this summers European Championships in France, I believe this is one of the best young English squads the nation has had in a while. After an unpredictable season which saw league minnows such as Leicester City and Burton Albion rise above the ranks against all the odds, what better way to top it off than by having England win Euro 2016. With upcoming stars such as Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy shining above the rest, it shows what depth there is in the English youth system to date with plenty more players battling it out for a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad than ever before. It will be interesting to see who lines up in the post season friendlies against Turkey, Australia and Portugal and I’m sure whatever the squad that is picked it should be an entertaining affair watching on as England’s youth superstars look to put English football rightly back on the map. With the England boss announcing his 26 man squad earlier in the week, I pick my 23 man squad that I would take and give my reasons for their selection.
Joe Hart – Without a doubt the best keeper England currently possesses at the moment, first name down on the team sheet for me.
Tom Heaton – A young keeper who came through the ranks of Man United and has had a brilliant season helping Burnley win the Championship. Deserves a shot at the big time.
Fraser Forster – One of the top shot stoppers who has had a solid season for Southampton helping them cement there place in the top 10 and would make an ideal Number 2 keeper.
Chris Smalling – Arguably the most improved defender of the season who is now seen as one of England’s main centre backs who is not afraid to put his body on the line.
Gary Cahill – Not had the best of seasons for Chelsea but always seems to save his best performances for international level and has formed a solid partnership in the qualifiers.
Kyle Walker – Had a good season at Spurs who can also play well behind the winger allowing the counter attack to be played, something which England have developed as of late.
Danny Rose – Another top defender who has come out of the shadows and had a stand out season at Spurs. Looks like my main left back choice due to the injury of Luke Shaw.
Phil Jones – Had a short season due to injury crisis however is starting to get fit heading in to the Euros and can help cover a number of positions linking up well with Smalling in defence.
Nathaniel Clyne – First choice right back for England who has had a stand out season for Liverpool helping them reach the Europa League final, can play wing back to help build attacks too.
Leighton Baines – Good set piece taker who can step up to the mark and create an opportunity from the challenge. Offers something different down the left side.
Phil Jagielka – Experienced centre back who can be taken as back up in case any of the first choices get injured. Has international experience which can help with a young squad.
Danny Drinkwater – Another player who has been part of the story of the season with Leicester City and had a solid game in the Easter friendlies against Germany and Holland.
Dele Alli – Young skilful player who is hungry for success. Has had a good season at Spurs and is relishing the chance to shine in International level and can play anywhere in midfield.
James Milner – Good off the ball worker who can put swift balls into the box, offering a challenge for both strikers and defenders to create goal scoring opportunities.
Ross Barkley – Looks to be the new gem of English football and has been the stand out player for Everton in a disappointing season for them. Can play in attacking midfield role.
Eric Dier – Good holding midfielder who had a solid game against Germany during the Easter friendlies. Will be looking to cement his place in the national side for the foreseeable future.
Jordan Henderson – Can change defence in to attack in the blink of an eye and is seen by some as Liverpool’s and England’s main man in the centre controlling the midfield.
Michael Carrick – A strong leader in the team who has had previous experience in a young squad. Can control the game while keeping a calm head if needing to see out a victory.
Raheem Sterling – Not been in the best of form since leaving Liverpool for Man City but is someone who creates with pace and width down the wing which could spark England to goals.
Wayne Rooney – Arguably by many seen as the talisman of English football with the ability to not only play in a goal scoring role but in a holding midfield role too.
Jamie Vardy – Without Jamie Vardy there would be no party. A striker whose goals have created one of the stories of the century leading little Leicester City to Premier League glory.
Harry Kane – Prolific goal scorer who’s kept Spurs in the title race right up to the wire. Played brilliantly since making his national debut at Wembley last year and could lead us to glory.
Marcus Rashford – A youngster who has performed brilliantly since making his debut for Man United since Christmas and deserves a chance at the big time. The next Michael Owen?
Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Hart, Clyne, Smalling, Cahill, Rose, Henderson, Ali, Barkley, Rooney, Kane, Vardy. Subs: Forster, Jones, Baines, Drinkwater, Dier, Sterling, Rashford.
Predicted finish: Semi Finals
What do you make of this squad? Would you make any changes? Let us know in the comments below!