Earlier today, Roy Hodgson finally announced his final selection of players who’ll represent the country in the forthcoming Euros. A lot of opinion has been circulating across social media and if the reaction is to be believed, it’s the worst ever decision in the history of human civilisation, managing to overtake the decision of the German people to elect a new chancellor in 1933. Has Roy lost the plot? Has he made the right decision? For me, it is the latter. Here is why.
The first selection issue that has aggravated a selection of supporters is the exclusion of Danny Drinkwater. The main argument for his inclusion for most people is his exceptional season for the Champions Leicester. Jack Wilshere has been included and Drinkwater has been dropped, and for me that is the right decision for a selection of reasons. Firstly, natural talent. Jack Wilshere does apparently have knees made of soggy Weetabix and ankles made of glass but on his day you’d have to go a long way to find a more naturally talented central midfielder than him. I voiced my opposition to the suggestion of his inclusion whilst he was unfit. However he seems to have got over the injuries that have plagued him this year. He’s been more consistent in the warm up games and has looked like his old self. An interesting point I saw earlier on Twitter is this: can you see Robert Huth being included in the German squad over Mats Hummels because of one exceptional season? When you take this into consideration, his inclusion does seem a lot more reasonable. In fact if anyone deserved to be dropped for Drinkwater I’d cast my vote for either Lallana or Henderson. Each of whom have hardly set the squad alight in the last couple of games (incidentally neither has Drinkwater.)
The second major story is the inclusion of both Sturridge and Rashford. Again, I’d agree with this decision from Roy. I’ve explained in previous posts why I think Rashford is worth the risk (https://mattjoyblogs.com/2016/04/18/why-rashford-may-be-worth-the-risk/) and again for me Sturridge fully fit is a huge threat going forward. Fitness is always an issue, but you just have to look at the goal Sturridge managed to bag in the Europa League final. Not many people in English football could have not only the audacity but also skill to score a goal of that calibre. A lot of people have argued that Michail Antonio could have been taken instead of one of these players. I agree Antonio has had a truly exceptional season. But unfortunately for him Hodgson doesn’t play a wide formation normally, and thus selecting Antonio may have been a bit of a waste of a space. Certainly I can see Antonio being in Hodgson’s plans after the Euros, but you can’t really change your tactics to accomondate a single player so for me – good call Roy.
The last question really is the midfield. Although no inclusions aside from the one in the first paragraph have been raised you do have to wonder how we will line up in the centre of the park. For me you do have to have Wayne Rooney in the middle of the park. His experience and quality is obvious to me and anyone who believes he’s not a threat any more for me is incorrect. I think Eric Dier has to be in there to provide the steel protecting the somewhat questionable back four. I’d then have Jack Wilshere (fitness dependent) alongside Rooney in the centre of the park – and then Dele Alli in the number 10. Alli for me provides a freedom and creativity we haven’t had at such a tender age for a fair number of years. Not to mention Alli has already established a fantastic link with Harry Kane, who I’d hope will be our main man in France.
That’s all from me today – expect a lot more posts in the coming weeks ahead of the big kick off. COME ON ENGLAND!