With the England squad for the upcoming European Championship qualifying matches being announced this week, I cast an eye at some of the possible names that could feature in the Three Lions’ line-up at Euro 2016.
Following a poor showing by anyone’s standards in Brazil, there were some big name departures as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard hung up their international boots in order to prolong their club careers. All England fans knew this time would come, and a phase of transition seemingly began – a step into the next generation some might say.
I would like to highlight a mix of both senior and youth players that I believe will have their time to shine. Here are some of the players I think will be crucial to a successful Euro 2016 campaign:
Personally, I think he will be a future captain for his country and will very much be a senior player by the time Euro 2016 comes around. Over the years he has had at Chelsea he has grown and grown, forming a solid partnership with fellow countryman John Terry.
Defensive stability is something England have always struggled with and I believe that Cahill can be the rock in the middle of defence, keeping a strong core in the team. The strong tackler is not easy to beat and can keep up with many in a foot race too, giving him all the assets to be a key player during the tournament.
A potential defensive partner for Cahill. Following his big money transfer to Arsenal, the nineteen year old has been heavily involved for the Gunners so far this season. He has shown great potential and maturity. Commonly used as a right back whilst at Southampton, Arsene Wenger has recognised his potential to play in the heart of the defence and possibly even in a midfield role.
If he continues to get the game time he has received so far, he could grow into a solid centre back to partner Gary Cahill in France.
With Stevie G hanging us his England boots, there is no better way to replace him than with a man who plays alongside him week in, week out.
Many fans and pundits questioned Henderson’s ability when he first joined Liverpool, speculating on whether he came to a big club to soon. However, since the arrival of Brendan Rogers at Anfield he has been a revelation and was one of the unsung heroes in Liverpool’s superb 2013-2014 season, which saw them finish in second place.
Henderson received a massive amount of praise for his energy levels and the way he dictated play alongside Gerrard. I believe Henderson will fill the gap left by Gerrard and take control of England’s midfield.
Raheem Sterling, another that has had a breakthrough season at Anfield. Like Henderson, he had a slow start to life at Liverpool. However, thanks to the man management skills of Brendan Rogers, he has been a star for the Reds over the past year, becoming a focal point in their attack.
Sterling has the ability to play wide and stretch defences or play in the number 10 role, behind the strikers. This role gives him the freedom to roam and get on to the ball, in order to make use his silky foot work. Roy Hogdson played Sterling in the number 10 role in previous qualifiers and his pace added another dimension to England’s game. This is definitely an option for Hodgson to think about.
There will surely be a number of break-through prospects to appear throughout the qualifying campaign, as well as a number of players who make the step up into seasoned internationals. Fabian Delph and Luke Shaw spring to mind.