Shearer Says: “There’s no doubt Jamie Vardy will go to the Euros, the debate is whether he will start or have to settle for the bench…”
Here is my 23-man squad for Euro 2016 and the starting XI to face Russia in their opener. These have all been selected on the basis that they are 100% fit and playing well for their clubs.
Jamie Vardy can crown superb season with trip to Euros
I thought the vast majority of England’s performance against Germany on Saturday was superb. Going forward they were excellent, they pressed the opposition, showed innovation and ambition. The inexperienced players came into the team showing no fear.
My one worry from the Germany match was defensively we are still weak. We conceded two goals and it could have been more. If you give good teams a two-goal head start in major tournaments, very rarely do you get back into it.
What we did get as a result of the game was a clearer picture of the players who will definitely start the tournament. Before these two friendlies you probably could only have been certain about Joe Hart being a starter (barring injuries, of course). Harry Kane and Dele Alli’s performances on Saturday have demanded that they should start and Eric Dier is another player you could say that for.
Jamie Vardy gave two very good performances. There is no doubt that Vardy will go to the Euros, the debate now is will he start or have to settle for a place on the bench?
Roy had to change his team last night. The Premier League managers would have been very unhappy at him for starting their players in two games during four days at this critical time of the season. He also had to change it to have a look at plan B.
It was disappointing that they lost the game against the Netherlands. I don’t think they showed anywhere near the same energy that they did in the Germany win. There were some positives though. I thought Vardy was fantastic once again, and Danny Drinkwater did his chances no harm.
The goal England scored was a very good one. Vardy was in the right place at the right time but he finished it off nicely. I thought his link up play throughout the game was excellent. If Roy does want to play two up front, then he will surely consider Vardy as a starter. I think we will play one up front, but at least Roy has options now.
Vardy has now launched his England career scoring against Germany and the Netherlands. It is a great success story and a lesson to every footballer out there who wants to make it to the top.
Forward options mean Rooney can take nothing for granted
The performances of Vardy and Kane over the last few days have given Roy a dilemma when it comes to Wayne Rooney. We should not be taking any player to the Euros if they are not 100% fit. We should learn from our mistakes in the past in that regard.
We’ve also tried too hard to accommodate players before, most notably with Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, where we ended up playing Paul Scholes on the left. That shouldn’t be done either.
The rule should also apply with Rooney. He has to get himself fit and be playing well for Manchester United again before he is considered for selection. It is not as simple as six or seven months ago when he was banging in goals.
If he is fit and playing well I would start him but that is a big if as he has a lot to do to get to that stage. It’s a big six weeks until the end of the season for Rooney ahead of the Euros.
Stones must cut out costly mistakes but Drinkwater impresses
John Stones played last night for England despite the fact he has not been playing for Everton. It was a big night for him and unfortunately it was his error that led to the penalty decision. I keep hearing fellow pundits saying we have to accept he is going to make mistakes but we can’t keep on accepting them. Sooner or later the penny has to drop. The problem is that he is still making the same mistakes that he was at the beginning of the season. In a friendly of course you can live with it, but what happens if we get to the semi-final at the Euros and he makes the same mistake there? I’m all for giving young players the chance and Stones clearly has great potential but he has to learn and don’t keep repeating the errors.
I thought it was right that Roy had a look at Danny Drinkwater last night and he did well. He was one of England’s best players. If he keeps on performing as he has been for Leicester from now until the end of the season, then he should go to the Euros too.
Plenty of positives but Euro success may have to wait
The signs have been encouraging over the last few days but my feelings towards England have not changed. I still feel it is too early for us to field a side that can win the Euros. My main concern is defensively. We are going to have to improve massively at the back if we are to get to the semi-final stages. We conceded four goals in two games and that is not good enough to expect to get through to the latter stages of the European Championship.
I think Roy will go with a very similar formation to the line-up we saw against Germany. Four at the back, two sitting midfielders, three ahead of them and then one up front. If you do play two out and out strikers like Kane and Vardy are, then you leave yourself exposed in midfield in international football.
Some of these England players are going to have a great end to the season in the Premier League, whether that is the Leicester or Spurs guys. The younger players should be looking ahead to Euro 2016, relishing the opportunity, and once they are there they should enjoy it.
Dele Alli has been absolutely superb for Spurs and England this season. This time last year he was playing for MK Dons. Jamie Vardy was in non-league football four years ago, while Eric Dier was playing in the back four for his club not long ago and is looks like he will be a key figure in the midfield for England. The season could be a great success story for a this group of players.
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