Written by Jack Chambers
Following yesterday’s squad announcement for the upcoming tournament in France. Everyone up and down the country will be putting together their ideal starting eleven for the first game against Russia. After taking everything into consideration, here is mine:
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart
Joe Hart is a no brainer for me. He has to be one of the first names on the team sheet for this summers tournament. Hart was recently involved in Manchester City’s Champions League exit to Real Madrid, in which he was the stand out performer in the home leg. Joe Hart is a big game player, after playing in previous tournaments for England he has become a leader and this is essential in this very young England squad.
Right Back: Nathaniel Clyne
Right back is a position where no one has really nailed down a starting spot for England. I have chosen Clyne as I think that when he has featured for the Three Lions he has played consistently well. He also adds width to the side, which I think is vital as I haven’t gone for any natural wingers.
Centre Back: John Stones
John Stones has taken a lot of criticism this season for Everton with his defending. However, I think not starting Stones would be a massive mistake as he is the ideal tournament player to have in defence. Tournament football has been about playing out from the back, you’ve seen this in recent years with Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos. There’s no doubt that Stones is a massive talent and I believe that he is the closest comparison to Rio Ferdinand since Rio’s retirement.
Centre Back: Gary Cahill
Cahill is a certain starter for me at centre half. Since Kurt Zouma’s injury for Chelsea at the start of 2016, Gary has had regular football for the Blues and has been performing very well in a under performing Chelsea side. He offers a lot for England, can always chip in with the odd goal from a set piece. Of course, his defensive abilities are paramount for this England team, Gary is no slouch, he also has a tendency to put his body on the line and give it 100 percent.
Left Back: Ryan Bertrand
Ryan Bertrand for me is one of the best left backs in the top flight. Ryan is no stranger to big games, he started in the Champions League final for Chelsea 4 years ago. At his time at Chelsea he learnt from the very best, arguably the best English left back we have ever seen, Ashley Cole. After his time at Chelsea, he is now a regular in a very good Saints team.
Defensive Midfielder: Eric Dier
Dier has been impressive in a successful Tottenham team that finished 3rd place in the Premier League. Eric Dier loves getting stuck in and doesn’t shy away from a few crunching tackles. This is exactly what this England team needs, as the three players in front of Dier are what you would call “Luxury players”. Dier started off his career as a Centre Back, so he has the versatility to drop back in defence if needed.
Left midfielder: Adam Lallana
I’m a big fan of Adam Lallana, and have been since his Southampton days. Lallana is comfortable on either foot, and his signature skill the “Cruyff turn” is extremely effective and in my opinion he is the second best to perform this skill, first being Johan Cruyff of course. Along with Lallana’s ability on the ball, he also does the dirty work too, he isn’t afraid of getting back and helping the team.
Attacking midfielder: Ross Barkley
Ross Barkley has been a bright spark for Everton in recent years. Very agile for such a tall player and very quick off the mark. Like Lallana, Barkley is competent with both feet, Ross has been known to bag a fare few goals from the middle of the park. In the qualifiers, Ross has been given lots of opportunities from Roy so I’m sure the gaffer won’t hesitate to start him in France.
Right midfielder: Dele Alli
The PFA Young Player of the Year is a nailed on starter for me. He has been one of the stand out players in the 2015/16 season, getting both goals and assists from midfield. Alli has a fiery edge to him, which I think he should use to his advantage. He can not only play football, but he can also fight it out in midfield too.
The Premier League Golden Boot winner has had an outstanding season for Tottenham scoring 25 goals in the league. Kane has got everything you need in a striker. He can hold the ball up, link up the play and he seems to score all types of goals. Harry Kane has been able to replicate his club form with England, scoring on his debut against Lithuania at the “Home of football” and scoring against Germany in Berlin back in March.
From Rags to Riches, Jamie Vardy has been exquisite for Leicester the last two years. Scoring goals for fun, whilst breaking Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record for scoring in consecutive games in the Premier League. Vardy has impressively scored 24 goals in the top flight in his second season. The former Fleetwod man is very raw after coming from Non League and possesses blistering pace which will frighten any experienced defence in the Euros.
As you can see with my England starting eleven, there are some inexperienced players who don’t know what it’s like to play in a Major tournament for England. This doesn’t worry me, it excites me, as I know that they will want to prove to everyone that they are good enough to play at the highest level. The formation that I have gone for is 4-1-3-2. On paper this is a very attacking. However, with Eric Dier being in front of the back four and acting as a screen we shouldn’t have too many problems with space appearing between the lines. The three infront of Dier will have a “free role” so they have the licence to go forward and they are not cemented to one particular position on the pitch. The front line speaks for itself, with Vardy and Kane scoring 49 goals in the league we won’t be struggling for goals that’s for sure.
What do you make of this team? Would you make any changes? Let us know in the comments below!