This summer, Roy Hodgson’s England will travel to France as they look to win a major tournament for the first time since 1966. The Three Lions breezed through the qualifying campaign and many believe this could finally be their year to shine on the big stage, especially after earning an impressive 3-2 victory over Germany in March.
However, Hodgson HAS to get his squad selection spot on if England are to stand any chance of success this summer.
The former Liverpool boss has been criticised for his selection policy in the past but that could all change this year, particularly as the 68-year-old may stand down after the tournament. Here are a few players that are on the cusp of breaking into the 23-man squad this summer – and why they SHOULD be included on the plane to France.
What an opportunity this is for Tom Heaton. Jack Butland’s loss could be the Burnley goalkeeper’s gain after the Stoke City shot stopper was ruled out until the beginning of next season with a fractured ankle. The youngster was pushing Joe Hart close for the starting role but will be forced to sit at home and watch on.
Now, Hodgson will have to choose between Ben Foster and Heaton but the England boss may opt for the latter, especially as he will most likely be the third choice behind Hart and Fraser Forster anyway. If nothing else, he’s there as cover.
The Burnley star has been a key reason for their resurgence this season and the Clarets are on the verge of securing an automatic promotion spot. And while Foster is a more than competent goalkeeper, Hodgson has nothing to lose and could give Heaton the opportunity to gain an insight into a major international tournament
If Henderson was fully fit, there’s absolutely no doubt that he’d be in Hodgson’s squad. The key word being if. With the Liverpool midfielder out for approximately six to eight weeks, it’s going to be touch and go on whether Hodgson will look elsewhere. With Jack Wilshere in a similar position, the England boss may now compare those two players directly for one spot in the squad. Ideally, the entire 23-man roster will be match fit but both players have too much nous, experience and talent to miss out completely.
And although Henderson hasn’t been brilliant this season, some of his best performances in recent times have been in an England shirt and the Reds captain deserves his chance on the big stage. While he’s no Steven Gerrard, the 25-year-old could provide some reassurance and aggression in the middle of the park.
The Manchester United starlet has netted seven goals in 12 appearances since bursting onto the scene and whispers suggest he could be a surprise inclusion in Hodgson’s 23-man squad this summer. On current form, it would be difficult to argue against his inclusion – especially as he has held his place in United’s starting line-up.
At just 18 years old, Rashford is still very raw and some would claim that his lack of international experience should go against him. While that is a fair argument, the teenager could be the fresh, enthusiastic centre-forward that England need to emulate the World Cup heroes of 1966 and win a major tournament.
Rashford’s time will come but Hodgson could do much worse than the United youngster this summer. Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck are struggling to inspire confidence whilst Daniel Sturridge has been in and out of the team due to injury and Divock Origi’s resurgence. Who knows, it could be Rashford’s time to step up on the international stage.