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3 ways Hodgson can make his England side more exciting

| 11.11.2014

After three games of Euro 2016 qualifying, England have won three times, including their toughest match away at Switzerland, and are yet to concede a goal.

It is fair to say the Three Lions are coasting towards the tournament in France, where they are just 1/9 to win their group.

Their next match is at home to Slovenia, where they are 8/11 to win to nil again, and the focus will be more on how Roy Hodgson tries to extract some attacking flair from his side.

With a boatload of exciting youngsters available, here’s three changes Hodgson should try in order to make international breaks less dull for England fans.

Out with the old, in with the new

Half of England’s 24-man squad is aged 24 or younger, with five of them under 21 and Hodgson must ensure he prioritises the starlets in his squad over journeymen unlikely to even feature at Euro 2016.

That means playing the likes of Saido Berahino instead of Rickie Lambert, and Ross Barkley rather than Stewart Downing.

Pacy, skilful youngsters will get the fans’ blood flowing more easily than tried and tested flops, and gametime will help iron out the kinks in their game.

Put the Ox in centre-midfield

The 21-year-old’s adaptability has counted against him for both club and country in the past, but adding his powerful, driving presence to the heart of England’s midfield will make them a far more enterprising side.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a very direct player, one that accelerates the play, a more useful asset than the tidy passing brought to the table by the other central-midfield options in Hodgson’s squad.

The Arsenal player’s future likely lies in the centre rather than on the flanks, and learning this role in a straightforward qualification group might be easier than at the Gunners.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree…

England’s surfeit of impressive attacking playmakers, coupled with captain Wayne Rooney’s unassailable position in the side, means some of Hodgson’s best players are sidelined every game or pushed out to the flanks.

A Christmas tree will allow him to play two men behind the striker, adding one of Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Ross Barkley in alongside the skipper.

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Alex Fortune