Paul Ince believes Sunderland veteran Jermain Defoe should have been included in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad instead of Manchester United teenager Marcus Rashford.
Ince, 48, who won 53 caps and played in three major tournaments for England before retiring from international football after Euro 2000, insists Defoe would have guaranteed Hodgson’s side goals in France.
Defoe, 33, last appeared for England as a substitute in a 2-0 friendly defeat to Chile at Wembley in November 2013 and was controversially left out of Hodgson’s squad for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
“For me Jermain Defoe should have gone,” said Ince.
“When you look at Jermain Defoe, he’ll always score goals and he’s played at international level.
“The last three or four months, back end of the season, he probably kept Sunderland up on his own with the goals he scored. He’s a natural finisher.
“As much as everyone’s gone over the top about Rashford, I would have taken Jermain Defore first before I would have taken Rashford, if I’m being totally honest.
“Rashford’s one who for me it’s too early. You look at the Turkey game and yes he scored after three minutes, but after that he wasn’t really in it and didn’t do much in the rest of the game, which is what you expect of a young kid.
“He seems to have a good head on his shoulders and I hope he does get on and can do a Michael Owen, but I can’t go too over the top about that at the moment.”
Ince took time out from promoting a short film entitled ‘The Guv’Nor’, in which he stars alongside Jimmy Bullard as part of a Carling advertisement campaign, to offer his views on Hodgson’s 23-man squad selection.
Ince, still keen to get back into management following his departure from Blackpool in 2014, said he would have preferred to have seen one or two older heads in the England side, who will face Russia in their opening Group B game next Sunday (June 11).
“I think Michael Carrick would have been ideal in there, maybe Phil Jagielka for John Stones and for me Mark Noble’s consistency warranted selection, but apart from that Roy’s probably got it spot on,” he said.
“At the start of the season Stonesy was playing really well, but all the Chelsea stuff came out and he kind of lost his way a little bit.
“But it’s all about opinions at the end of the day and we’ll soon find out if Roy’s got it right.
“When you look at his best XI then we have a chance for 2016 that’s for sure.”
Ince supported Jack Wilshere’s inclusion despite the Arsenal midfielder’s lack of game time, but fancies Tottenham counterpart Dele Alli to emerge as star of the show.
“He’s had a wonderful season at Tottenham,” Ince added.
“At times he’s been a little bit petulant and done things which we all do, I did when I was playing, but he’s got a bit of arrogance which I like.
“Some referees won’t tolerate some of the stuff you might get away with in the Premier League.
“But if he can just calm that a bit and play the way he’s been playing then I think he can go on to be a great player and I say ‘great’ because sometimes we use that word too easily.”