Paul Scholes is relishing the prospect of watching England’s Euro 2016 campaign and sees no reason why they cannot progress deep into the tournament – but hopes Jamie Vardy is used an impact sub.
The former Manchester United midfielder, who earned 66 England caps and featured in the 2000 and 2004 European Championships, will be an interested observer in his country’s fortunes this summer after admitting he has not been upbeat about their chances in recent tournaments.
Scholes sees a youthful vigour in a squad which has an average age of 24 years and eight months among the 23 outfield players selected by Hodgson, and believes they should be eyeing England’s first spot in the semi-finals of a major competition since Euro 96.
“I’m really excited – more than I have been over the last three or four tournaments,” Scholes told the Daily Mail.
“The team spirit is brilliant. In the last four or five tournaments I don’t think the team spirit was at its strongest, but these players are willing to learn. They’re young players, they listen to coaches and they are listening to team-mates.
“We probably won’t win it yet, but they’re not too far away from possibly the semi-final when you look at the talent in the squad. We’ve got exciting players and if they can find a way of playing and gel together, we’ve got a great chance of getting to the semis.”
Scholes on England strikers
Scholes would keep faith in England’s all-time leading goalscorer and captain Wayne Rooney up front, despite the form of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy this season.
While Rooney has struggled for form and fitness, Kane topped the Barclays Premier League scoring charts with 25 goals for Tottenham while Vardy’s tally of 24 went a long way to securing Leicester a shock title success.
However, Scholes added: “I’d probably still start with Wayne in a number 10 or a number nine role up front with Kane. I’d maybe keep Vardy as sub for the last 20 minutes and see how it goes.
“If it doesn’t start great then there are options. It’s the best thing about this squad – so many options.”