Roy Hodgson has named 26 men
England to Win Euro 2016 Odds
in his provisional squad for the upcoming 2016 UEFA European Championship and there are some discussions around it, as always. England will announce the final squad of 23 players who will travel for France after both friendlies on home turf in May, when on 22nd of May "Etihad Stadium" in Manchester will stage the first one - game against Turkey, while few days later, on 27th of May, "The Three Lions" will return in the English North East where "Stadium of Light" in Sunderland will become stage of the friendly match against "The Socceroos" from Australia. Thereafter Roy Hodgson will declare his final decision as three players from current selection will step aside, so all players have enough motives to show their best in the remaining friendlies. "Wembley Stadium" will be the final venue at home turf which will sent the English national team with a game against another Pot 1 representative, when Portugal arrives for a friendly on 2nd of June. This will be England's last match before their trip to France and the Euro 2016 Group B engagement.
Road to Euro 2016 - The Three Lions and the new generation of English players were brilliant with 10 out of 10
England made it to the 2016 European Championship as Group E winner
and after the disappointment endured in Brazil two years ago, England believes in its new generation of players who managed to occupy the UEFA Euro 2016
qualifying Group E peak with 10 wins in 10 matches, respectively with 30 points won out of 30 possible, as their 100% record places England next to other strong nations which have won all their qualifiers - France (1992 and 2004), Czech Republic (2000), Germany and Spain (both 2012). Impressive record by Roy Hodgson's men, as England was in a group with teams of Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania
and San Marino, where they have scored 31 goals in 10 games against only 3 conceded.
England's best possible Euro 2016 lineup: Joe Hart - Nathaniel Clyne, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Danny Rose - Dele Alli, Eric Dier, James Milner - Wayne Rooney (c) - Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane. (4-3-1-2)
Really striking achievement, although England wasn't in the toughest group, they have demonstrated character when they had to and they have won against the other top teams in Group E - teams of Switzerland and Slovenia
, as they finished respectively 2nd and 3rd, as only Switzerland qualified for Euro 2016, while Slovenia was eliminated by Ukraine at the play-offs, but that's completely different thread. However, England had to deal with their resistance in the qualifying stages and everything in the group started with a clear 2:0 victory against Switzerland at the 2016 UEFA Europa League final
venue "St. Jakob-Park" in Basl, and it gave wings of England to proceed with the good results. Their trickiest match in the qualifying group was surely the visit in Slovenia
back in June 2015 where England conceded two of their overall three goals, but they still won with 3:2, after a brace scored by Arsenal's number 10 Jack Wilshere and a late winner from Wayne Rooney. Exactly Jack Wilshere's name has opened wide discussion about Roy Hodgson's selection since most of you know that Wilshere missed almost the whole season of "The Gunners" after suffering a hairline crack in calfbone, which ruled him out from August to April 2016, when he started training. Controversial call up by Hodgson as the 24-year-old midfielder can boast with not bad international experience for his age, but for example other names like West Ham's duo made pretty decent season under Slaven Bilic's management - Michail Antonio and Mark Noble maybe deserved some credit from Roy Hodgson, but anyway, it's his call. Nevertheless, as we already wrote, there are three players who can't make it for the Euro 2016 finals which means that if Jack Wilshere fails to impress, we won't be surprised if he stays in England, at the expense of other players who had very good season with their teams - players like Leicester City's Daniel Drinkwater, Tottenham duo Eric Dier and Dele Alli, Liverpool's skipper Jordan Henderson and most experienced midfielder in current English selection (second most experienced player in current English squad after Wayne Rooney at all) James Milner, as well as Everton's Ross Barkley - all names who are most likely to catch the plane towards France, if they're fit enough.
England's Euro 2016 squad and team review
Some other doubts regarding England midfield are coming from presence of few names who haven't impressed during season 2015-2016
, although they already took part in different games of the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend and Fabian Delph are among the players featured in that 26 names list, as this increase the number of questions from the football community to English team manager. Best answer which he can send is definitely through proper results and he that's the most reliable way to ending all critics.
English defense and goalkeeping selection
both look like the most uncontroversial links in Roy Hodgson's selection, as the 68-year-old former manager of several Swedish teams, Switzerland national team, Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Grasshoppers, Copenhagen, Udinese, UAE national team, Viking, Finland national team, Fulham, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion meets the expectations with goalkeeping trio that includes Joe Hart from Man City, Fraser Forster from Southampton and Tom Heaton, who comes from the newly promoted Premier League side Burnley. His presence is influenced from Jack Butland's injury as Stoke City's goalie will miss the Euro 2016 finals after he suffered a fractured ankle during the spectacular friendly match against Germany (why is spectacular? you will read the answer later in our review) last March.
England national team
's defense is formed by vice-captain Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and John Stones, who are all the centre-back options of Roy Hodgson, but however, he could include one more, at least in the provisional squad. At the backs Roy Hodgson can be very pleased with all options he has as names like Kieran Gibbs and Luke Shaw were dropped from the squad, while players like Danny Rose, Ryan Bertrand (left-backs), Kyle Walker and Nathaniel Clyne (right-backs) were all selected as a potential starters at the upcoming Euro 2016 finals.
Another place that arouses some discussions but also inspires hope is certainly the English attack. Only few months ago players like Jamie Vardy was completely out of contention, but here it goes, few months later after that remarkable Premier League success
of his club Leicester City, Vardy is in Roy Hodgson's selection and his presence is out of question. Jamie Vardy's national team efforts were marked with few games in 2015, but his best moment was definitely in 2016 when Vardy opened his scoring account for "The Three Lions", becoming one of the Premier League top scorers as well. Jamie Vardy equalized the score during the above mentioned March friendly against Germany, when "Die Mannschaft" took a 2:0 lead, but England made a full comeback and Vardy's back heel after Nathaniel Clyne's cross shows the great teamwork of current English selection. Only three days later Jamie Vardy strike again when he scored England's goal during the 1:2 defeat by Netherlands
at "Wembley". Vardy has open the score but "Oranje" repeated English exercise from few days earlier, as they made a full comeback to 2:1, but however, this couldn't spoil the good atmosphere after the memorable night in Berlin.
Harry Kane became the first Englishman
to become Premier League top scorer since season 1999-2000 when Kevin Phillips scored 30 goals for Sunderland. Sixteen years later, after some notable records by foreign strikers like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Didier Drogba, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nicolas Anelka, Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov, Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Sergio Agüero, Harry Kane finally left the English mark in that positioning in 21st century. His 25 EPL goals for Tottenham Hotspur awarded him with the top goalscorer crown and he's followed by Jamie Vardy, who has one goal less - 24. Great news for Roy Hodgson and for all English fans, as they have serious arguments to believe that these two can form a brilliant duo in a potential 4-4-2 formation, possibly used by Rodgson. Of course, most expectations are that Hodgson can stick to the 4-2-3-1
and the main question is will he dare to name Vardy-Kane or he'll use the captain and most capped player in current English generation Wayne Rooney. Undoubtedly, Rooney's presence in the squad is more than required but it's also true that Manchester United's striker is far from his best years and many people see good opportunity if he's a rotation player in the squad or if he's used in midfield.
Daniel Sturridge is another great option if he is fit and not fragile, as in most occasions, but Liverpool's striker deserved his call up here. The biggest surprise is surely another striker boosted by Louis van Gaal in Manchester United and that's the name of 18-year-old Marcus Rashford. He scored seven goals in the different competitions (Europa League, FA Cup and in the EPL) and his call up has been subject of discussions, especially when we consider that names who already have international experience have been left out of the squad after Danny Welbeck's injury.
Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andy Carroll were all candidates for Euro 2016 call up, and last but not least – Jermain Defoe, who has been outstanding and with vital contribution for his Sunderland, as savior of their Premier League status. But it seems that Hodgson prefers to follow Marcus Rashford and even if he is one of the dropped players before submitting the final 23 players, this will still be a lifetime experience for the young lad.
England will make another offensive in attempt to reaching first ever final at the European Championship. They were close to the final game on UEFA Euro 1968 when England appeared on the finals for the very first time and led by Alf Ramsey the legendary World Cup winner Alf Ramsey they lost from Yugoslavia in the semi-finals, before winning the bronze medals against the Soviet Union. 28 years later England was once again at the semi-finals but the structure of Euro 1996 was completely different and this was the first European Championship with 16 teams in. Moreover, England was the host nation when "football came back at home" and "The Three Lions" were led by Terry Venables. One thing is sure - England still regrets about the missed opportunity to reach the final as they lost to Germany after penalties in the semi-finals. That was maybe their best ever chance to reach the European peak as we can recognize lot of well known names in Terry Venables selection - players like David Seaman, Paul Gascoigne, Steve McManaman and Alan Shearer were in the UEFA Euro 1996 Team of the Tournament and their efforts are history. Nevertheless, England aims to one step higher and this is related with reaching the final, respectively to winning the trophy.
That is England's ninth ever appearance at the UEFA European Championship finals
and they were in Pot 1 where all top European football nations were. As a result of the good seeding and Pot 1 position England was drawn in Group B where "The Three Lions" are with teams of Russia, Wales and Slovakia.
Euro 2016 fixtures and schedule - England in France
First match of English football team at French turf is in match day two - 11 June 2016, when the renovated "Stade Vélodrome" in Marseille is set to host one of the most anticipated games in the Euro 2016 group phase - England against Russia
. This can easily become the breaking point for England in case they slip, as in the next rounds they have scheduled clash against rivals from Wales
, which is five days later and it will held at "Stade Bollaert-Delelis" in Lens. These two games have to be good indicator about England's capability to claim something bigger in France and if they want to do so, then their last Group B
match against Slovakia is a must win, no matter what will happen until then. On 20th of June England will play against Slovakia
in Saint-Étienne and Roy Hodgson must avoid any potential wrong steps, like it happened in Brazil two years ago, when England's last World Cup game against Costa Rica was meaningless, as a result of their previous defeats from Italy and Uruguay.
Well, this time that's unlikely to happen, not only because they'll play in Europe and against nations which they can follow quite well, but because of the new European Championship format.