Roy Hodgson has announced a provisional enlarged 26-man squad ahead of the European Championships, to be trimmed down to 23 by the end of May.
There are some potentially surprising inclusions in there, the main one being young Manchester United sensation Marcus Rashford. Andros Townsend also makes the grade over Theo Walcott, while Jack Wilshere is also included after making his first start on Sunday since the last game of 2014/15.
Of course, three players will be chopped from the current crop in order to meet the necessary guideline of 23, so who do TEAMtalk’s writers think will be told au revoir ahead of the trip to France?
Oli: I think Marcus Rashford will be the first name that Roy Hodgson will be looking to cut from the squad, purely because it might be a bit too soon to thrust him into a major tournament without any England experience. What Roy has done though is exactly right; he’s given the 18-year-old a chance to show what he can do across the one week he will be watched prior to the final 23 being named.
I also believe Fabian Delph probably won’t make the grade, just because he hasn’t had the game time to really showcase what he can bring to Roy’s camp. He has been riddled with injuries, but he’s only played 750 minutes in the Premier League season which isn’t really enough, and you could say the same about Wilshere, but he has far more England experience. Mark Noble will feel he might have had a case too…
Thirdly I think Andros Townsend will probably be cut. I don’t necessarily want this to happen, because Townsend offers something a bit different from the other 25 names, but it just seems like he is further down the pecking order. A shame really, as he can be a real asset when cutting inside from the right, and would allow us a bit of attacking depth.
Absolutely buzzing! I can't wait to meet up with the squad and start preparing for the euros. Thanks for all the messages. #England
— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2016
James: I agree Rashford is the obvious choice to make way, and the only way he can make that plane is if one of Daniel Sturridge, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy or Wayne Rooney pick up an injury. I would have preferred Andy Carroll to have made the cut just because he offers England something so different, and the step up to international football would be too big a step right now for Rashford to take.
One thing Roy won’t be looking to do is chop a defender, having only named seven, so it’s the midfielders and forwards that are vulnerable. With that in mind, I think either Jordan Henderson or Jack Wilshere could still be disposable – and he may decide to axe the least fit of this pair. I certainly expect training to be quite intensive.
Hodgson is obviously desperate to get Wilshere in there – a decision I can totally understand – so it’s Henderson – a player I have never really ‘got’ – who could get the chop for me.
For my third choice, and having covered the attack and the midfield engine room, Roy will probably be looking to sacrifice one of England’s creative players. Dele Alli is probably the only certainty not to be axed, so it’ll be one of Townsend, Raheem Sterling or even Ross Barkley who makes way. If you’re going on current club form, you’d probably keep Townsend in there – I do wonder whether Barkley might just drop out after a less-than-convincing finish to the season?
Michael: I think Rashford has only been included for the experience in the first place, so it’s tough to disagree with Oli and James here. He’s literally just making up the numbers and being given a small taste of what is hopefully still to come for him one day with England with England.
So, with just seven defenders, we are obviously looking at a couple of midfield players to make way. Townsend, for me, should go to the Euros. He has been producing for Newcastle and the squad isn’t overly blessed with natural left-sided players. He can offer something others can’t.
With Wayne Rooney looking ever more capable of dropping back into central midfield, the squad looks very overloaded in that area. I think Fabian Delph is the obvious one to drop out of the squad, not because he’s a poor option, but simply because he hasn’t played anywhere near enough football to justify inclusion. He’s an energy and rhythm player and how can we be certain he has either going into the tournament?
My third choice will be unpopular, but I’d ditch Danny Drinkwater. He has had a brilliant season, but is still very much an unknown quantity at international level and we shouldn’t be messing about. Fine player, superb season, but let’s stick with the lads who got us here for now and have another look at Drinkwater for the World Cup campaign.
Matt: Adam Lallana should be chopped. The Liverpool man is unlikely to start and he has made 21 appearances for England and is yet to score. That’s not a great record for a player who is in the squad to create and score goals.
I would also much rather have a plethora of forward talent that be stocked up on right-backs, so Rashford should go. Rooney can’t play up front anymore and Hodgson may well be considering playing the skipper in a deep midfield role and so that would only leave Kane, Vardy and the injury-prone Sturridge. Rashford has been brilliant and looks to have everything you need to become an international-class striker. Get him on the ferry.
My second player to get the boot would by Delph. As Oli says he has only played a handful of games and has struggled with injuries and also don’t think he has the ability to play at this level. I would rather have Drinkwater as the cover in central midfielder, so Fabian can head off to Dubai for the summer.
And finally, this one is a maverick choice. I would axe Nathaniel Clyne and take just six defenders. I know Roy is only taking three centre-backs, but he knows he can drop Eric Dier in there and similarly there are a whole host of other players in the squad who can fill in at right-back. Kyle Walker is likely to get the nod against Russia, but with John Stones, Chris Smalling, Jordan Henderson and James Milner all able to fill in there I think it would be more valuable to gamble on taking Rashford.
[of_poll name=’Which of these players is most in danger of being axed from England’s Euro 2016 squad?’ id=’1019675′]
Agree with our selections? Let us know the three players you would axe – and was there anyone not included that you feel Roy Hodgson was wrong to overlook?