Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Wilshere’s Inclusion Unsurprising: Three Talking Points from England’s Euro 2016 Squad

Manager of England men’s national football team Roy Hodgson announced his final 23-man squad for the European championship earlier today, following UEFA’s deadline. And just like his Balon d’Or choices, controversy found its way to the subject.

Key factors behind the significant level of the discontent aimed at the former Fulham Boss were Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater.

Below, we discuss these factors and other areas of concern.

Wilshere in Drinkwater out, how justifiable?

You know that popular saying about the three guarantees of life: death, taxes and some ridiculous feature, event or otherwise that cannot seem to go away. Well that ridiculous feature is Wilshere always getting the nod for the England team whenever he seems mechanically fit.

It has been the case since he made his full England debut in a friendly against Denmark in February 2011 and even more so since Roy Hodgson was appointed manager in May 2012 following Fabio Capello’s resignation.

Hodgson favours Wilshere ahead of the other England midfielders, just as he does Rooney, and for good reasons.

Wilshere remains the best technical central midfielder at Hodgson’s disposal and with all due respect to Drinkwater, he’s not a particularly talented footballer. He, just like the majority of the Leicester’s squad rely more on hard work and the force of will to deliver top level football.

Then you look at the kind of system in which he excels: sitting deep, defending resolutely and always looking to hit on the counter. That completely contrasts the kind of football the former Inter Milan manager wants his team to play.

Wilshere on the other hand, thrives at keeping the ball. He demands for it and is quite good at breaking tight defenses with his direct, mazy runs that often catches opposing teams unaware.

In general, Hodgson trusts Wilshere—every coach has such players—and believes he can manage the midfielder’s fitness considering the nature of the tournament.

Three games or thirty, Wilshere was always going to be picked as long as he was fit enough to play. It shouldn’t have surprised anyone.

Three centre halves five strikers, what’s the method to that?

Away from the midfield and the vanguard and rearguard must have gotten England fans wondering what on earth is going on in Roy Hodgson’s head.

Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill and John Stones are the only recognized central defenders in Roy Hodgson’s final 23-man squad and then he went with five strikers. Who does that?

Not even Guardiola could come up with a formation weird enough to warrant calling up five strikers but apparently, Roy Hodgson can.

There’s no denying that his hands were forced a little. Marcus Rashford’s sensational debut against Australia made it impossible to omit the towering youngster. One way or the other, you get the feeling that Rashford was always supposed to be the sacrificial lamb—that’s until he changed his fate.

Whatever the case, taking three centre backs looks a big risk, especially when none of the three players is particularly very good.

England will attack at the Euros—a lot

Of all the outfield players to be included, only three (Smalling, Cahill and Dier) aren’t really known for their attacking abilities and of these three, only the former two do not really possess any major ball-playing powers.

From John Stones, to the full backs, to the midfielders, every other player picked by Hodgson has a certain degree of attacking flair, be it in spates within the game like Jordan Henderson or almost all through like Barkley.


This might be the last tournament for Roy Hodgson with the England team, and he seems set to go all out to attack the competition in France, one final push, in the hope that it gives him a parting hurrah. 

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