On Monday, 16th May, Roy Hodgson will name his provisional squad for Euro 2016 as well as up to seven standby players. England then have friendlies against Turkey (22nd May) and Australia (27th May) before the squad is confirmed on the the 31st May. The Three Lions will then play Portugal in one final friendly on 2nd June before they kick-off the tournament against Russia in Group B on 11th June. So if I were Roy, who would I pick? Find out below…
Joe Hart – 57 caps/0 goals
For me, he’s still England’s number one. Joe Hart may not have had the best of seasons for Manchester City, but he’s still managed to keep 15 clean sheets (the joint most in the Premier League) in 34 appearances. One of the most experienced players in the squad, the 29 year old has been included in the last three England tournament squads (World Cups 2010 & 2015 and Euro 2012).
Fraser Forster – 5 caps/0 goals
Since returning from injury in January, Fraser Forster has had a superb second half of the season, with many people calling for him to start in France. I don’t think that should or will happen, but there’s no denying the Southampton stopper’s quality. He’s helped the Saints climb from 13th to sixth, kept six clean sheets and won the Premier League player of the month for February.
Tom Heaton – 0 caps/0 goals
With Jack Butland ruled out injured, Burnley’s Tom Heaton takes the third goalkeeping spot. Despite playing in the Championship in 2015-16, he’s still staked a better claim that Premier League keepers such as Ben Foster or John Ruddy. Heaton kept the second most clean sheets in the second tier (20) as the Clarets stormed to the title. The 30 year old is the only un-capped player in my squad.
Nathaniel Clyne – 11 caps/0 goals
Particularly impressive in England’s 3-2 win over Germany as he set up Jamie Vardy’s goal, Nathaniel Clyne is a full-back who loves to get forward but unlike most is also excellent defensively as well. He has been Liverpool’s most consistent player this campaign, and has played more minutes than any other Reds player. That shows both his excellent stamina and the fact he rarely makes mistakes.
Kyle Walker 14 caps/0 goals
Kyle Walker is very similar to Clyne in his attacking intent and the Tottenham man has also improved the defensive part of his game this season. One of the key cogs in Spurs’ title challenging side this season, the 25 year old has provided three assists from the flank as well as one goal. Blessed with blistering place, Walker does also have a short fuse as shown against Chelsea when he was lucky not to be sent off.
Danny Rose – 2 caps/0 goals
Danny Rose only made his England debut in March, but is set to start at the Euros following an excellent season at Tottenham Hotspur. He has been part of a defence in North London that has conceded the fewest goals in the league, and Rose has scored one and set up three at the other end. The 25 year old’s performances even earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Season.
Leighton Baines – 30 caps/1 goal
Perhaps a strange choice when someone like Ryan Bertrand has had a better season, but I’ve gone for Leighton Baines as a second choice left-back due to his experience. Even if he doesn’t start, the 31 year will still be an important figure in the dressing room. The Everton man’s excellence from a dead ball situation is also a big positive and could be key in a penalty shoot-out…
Chris Smalling – 23 caps/0 goals
In a Manchester United defence that has had youngsters thrown into left, right and centre this season, the presence of Chris Smalling has ensure they have matured quickly. The 26 year old has missed just three league games all season, helping the Red Devils concede the second fewest goals in the Premier League. He has even captained the side on a few occasions, and that experience will be key in France.
Gary Cahill – 41 caps/3 goals
Like most of Chelsea’s squad, Gary Cahill has not had the best of seasons, but it has done little to hamper his chances of making England’s squad. Mainly because he remains one of the country’s best centre-backs, and his experience (he has the fourth most caps out of the 20 outfield players) is something Roy Hodgson’s youthful side lacks. Vice-captain, if Rooney doesn’t start, then Cahill will put on the armband vs Russia.
John Stones – 8 caps/0 goals
Last summer, Everton turned down a £30 million bid from Chelsea for John Stones after the centre-back’s impressive breakthrough season. The 21 year old hasn’t quite reached the same heights in 2015-16, but he is still a target for bigger clubs as the Toffees continue to stutter. Like many players, Euro 2016 could provide Stones with valuable tournament experience as he has a big future ahead of him.
Phil Jagielka – 39 caps/3 goals
On the other end of the spectrum, this is likely to be a last competitive tournament for Stones’ club teammate Phil Jagielka. The 33 year old’s fitness may be a slight concern, and Jagielka has made just 20 appearances for Everton this season, but there aren’t many other candidates for the the final centre-back spot. Plus, having someone with his knowledge and experience in the squad is never a bad thing.
Eric Dier – 4 caps/1 goal
Having plied his trade in his teens in Portugal, Eric Dier’s development in Europe has clearly had an impact on his style of play. A tough tackling centre-back come midfielder, the 22 year has been solid for Tottenham Hotspur this season and I think he can count himself considerably unlucky not to be nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Dier also pops up with a goal from time to time, as he did against Germany in March.
Dele Alli – 6 caps/1 goal
This time last season, Dele Alli was celebrating promotion from League One with MK Dons. Now, after a superb season at Tottenham he’s England’s greatest hope going into Euro 2016. With 10 goals and nine assists in 28 Premier League starts, the 20 year old deservedly won the PFA Young Player of the Year award. A ban for punching Claudio Yacob does show his fiery side though, which needs to be toned down.
Ross Barkley – 21 caps/2 goals
A player described as good enough to play for Barcelona by club legend Xavi, Ross Barkley has an enormous amount of potential, and along with Alli could be the heartbeat of England’s midfield for years to come. The 22 year old has eight goals and eight assists in the league season, and good tournament could lead to a move away from boyhood team Everton who have had a poor season.
James Milner – 58 caps/1 goal
I think James Milner is important to this England side in so many ways. He can play anywhere across midfield, works harder than anybody else in the squad due to his incredible stamina and energy and has experience to coach the younger players. The 30 year old is severely underrated in my opinion, and perhaps doesn’t get enough credit as he isn’t a flair player. But Milner has 10 goals and 14 assists for Liverpool this season.
Adam Lallana – 21 caps/0 goals
A similar player to his Liverpool team-mate, Adam Lallana is perhaps blessed with a bit more pace and skill than Milner, making him another option for England going forward. The 27 year old has hit the back of the net 11 times and has eight assists for the Reds this season and often pops up with crucial goals such as against Norwich and Villarreal. This means he could be used effectively as an impact player in France.
Jordan Henderson – 23 caps/0 goals
Completing the Liverpool trio of midfielders is Reds skipper Jordan Henderson. The 25 year old is missing the last few weeks of the domestic season through a knee injury, but should be fit in time for the tournament, perhaps even the Europa League final. Now I’m not a huge fan of Henderson and was seriously considering putting Danny Drinkwater in instead of him, but when he does play he is solid and again, has experience.
Wayne Rooney – 109 caps/51 goals
How people can suggest that Rooney doesn’t deserve to go to the Euros is beyond me. Yes, he may not have had the best of seasons, but he’s the captain, all time leading goalscorer and one of the key men in Roy Hodgson’s squad. Whether he’s playing in midfield (which is probably more likely) or upfront, or perhaps even starting on the bench, I think the 30 year old’s influence is understated and he is definitely needed in France.
Jamie Vardy – 6 caps/2 goals
The man of the moment. Playing in non-league four years ago, after scoring 24 goals this season to help Leicester City win an incredible league title, Jamie Vardy is set to spearhead England’s attack in France. Incredibly fast too, the 29 year old also sets up team-mates and has six league assists this campaign. It’s a meteoric rise, but will Vardy be having a party at the Stade de France on July 10th?
Harry Kane – 10 caps/4 caps
Having proven that he is not a one-season wonder, Harry Kane has established his place in the England squad following a campaign where at the time of writing he is currently one goal ahead of Vardy in the race for the Premier League golden boot. Since the start of 2014-15, the Tottenham striker has hit the back of the net 46 times in the top division – only Sergio Aguero has done so more times. Kane is the definition of goal machine, and he scores some absolute crackers too.
Daniel Sturridge – 17 caps/5 goals
Daniel Sturridge always seems to be injured, which is incredibly annoying as I think the Liverpool man is one of the Premier League’s best strikers on his day. When the 26 year old netted 21 times in 2013-14 he showed what he can do when fit for a whole campaign, and since returning from the sidelines this year he has eight goals in 10 league starts, which is impressive.
Raheem Sterling – 20 caps/2 goals
Along with Sturridge, Raheem Sterling was pivotal to that Liverpool side in the aforementioned 2013-14 season, and moved to Manchester City for nearly £50 million last summer. He may not have done quite enough to justify that fee, but the 21 is still one of England’s brightest prospects for the future. Sterling has 12 goals and nine assists this season, and is one of the best options in this country’s current shortage of wingers.
Theo Walcott – 43 caps/8 goals
Finally, Theo Walcott just about squeezes into the squad after the news that his Arsenal teammate Danny Welbeck would miss Euro 2016 through injury. Walcott has come in for criticism after a disappointing campaign in which he has scored just five goals. However, the 27 year old (yes, he really is that old) does always seem to have an impact on the international stage and his versatility makes him a useful member of the squad.
Roy Hodgson will also supply a standby list on Monday of seven players, so here’s mine: Ben Foster, Ryan Bertrand, Danny Drinkwater, Jack Wilshere, Andros Townsend, Andy Carroll & Troy Deeney.
To end, here’s how I would want to see England line-up this summer…
Agree with my squad and starting XI? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter?