10 under-appreciated players that deserve to be in the England’s Euro 2016 squad reckoning
Roy Hodgson will only be able to take 23 players to Euro 2016, with competition for places rife given that England were the first team to qualify for the tournament.
A vast number of players starred during England’s perfect-10 qualifying victories, while others have impressed in friendlies since to add their name to Hodgson’s shortlist.
However, there are still plenty of players that are arguably deserving of a chance to be in contention that have been either overlooked or simply forgotten about in recent times.
Here are 10 that perhaps deserve a shot based on the way they have started the 2015/16 Premier League season (all stats mentioned are up to and including the 10th gameweek of the campaign).
There are seemingly only five central defenders in the running to be in England’s Euro 2016 squad – with four of Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Phil Jagielka and John Stones expected to make the plane.
But given Shawcross’ strengths in terms of leadership and organisation, it is a surprise that his only international appearance to date was in a 2012 friendly with Sweden.
England have had great success with committed defenders in the past, with Terry Butcher, Stuart Pearce and John Terry among the examples. Shawcross is currently the best available to follow in this mould.
Nathaniel Clyne and Kyle Walker look the prime candidates to be England’s right-back options, with Jones, Smalling and Stones no strangers to filling in as makeshift options either.
Ward may not possess the attacking foraging of others, but he is especially solid in the defensive aspects of the role, being particularly strong in terms of making his tackles and winning aerial duels.
Furthermore, an ability to play at left-back too would give Hodgson the option to drop a defender from his final 23 in favour of additional guile and versatility further up the pitch. All managers love versatility when picking squads for international tournaments.
Left-back has often been a position where England have lacked an abundance of options. However, Hodgson now has the choice between Luke Shaw, Ryan Bertrand, Leighton Baines and Kieran Gibbs for two spots at most.
Tottenham talent has been the talk of the town in England terms this season, with Eric Dier and Dele Alli joining Harry Kane, Walker, Andros Townsend and Ryan Mason among the squad possibles.
Rose is another, having won a higher percentage of his tackles and supplied more assists this season than Aleksandar Kolarov, Nacho Monreal, Marcos Rojo, Alberto Moreno and Bertrand, who are widely considered to be among the best in the Premier League at left-back.
Rose is arguably on the periphery of the squad, while in the left-back line behind him is Cresswell, who has stepped up to the Premier League impressively since signing for West Ham from Ipswich.
His debut season was so strong that Cresswell collected a hat-trick of accolades at the Hammers’ player awards ceremony at the close of the 2014/15 campaign and he has started the current season equally well.
With England also lacking in dead-ball quality since Steven Gerrard called time on his international career, this is a void that Cresswell could fill.
More so than at domestic club level, the necessity to maintain possession is considered even greater at international level.
Surman is largely under the radar at Bournemouth, but his distribution in terms of recycling possession and playing successful passes deserves greater recognition.
Only Spanish duo Santi Cazorla and Cesc Fabregas attempted more passes than Surman across the opening 10 games, and he completed these at a success rate of 86 per cent, which is a higher rate than Fabregas.
Leicester’s flying start to the season has largely been attributed to the goal-scoring exploits of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, with the former bursting into the England picture as a result.
But Drinkwater’s midfield consistency has gone unnoticed, orchestrating and linking play, alongside being no nonsense in the tackle. He has stepped into the void left by Esteban Cambiasso.
With Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey getting an England opportunity, one for Drinkwater should be forthcoming too.
True holding midfielders have been hard to find for England, with Jack Wilshere being utilised in a more defensive base when fit and Dier the latest to be given a try.
The only issue with Dier is whether he offers enough on the ball, given that he is naturally a defender. If Hodgson wants an all-round midfielder to fill this role, Cork’s name has to come into the equation.
Cork is the leading English midfielder in the Premier League for making interceptions, showing how solid he is in a positional sense and in his reading of the game.
England are not short of wide options that like to take on their opposing full-backs, with Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Townsend all capable in this regard.
However, each have been out-dribbled by Zaha so far this season, despite the Crystal Palace man being passed the ball less frequently by teammates.
Zaha debuted for England in the same game as Sterling, but his career hasn’t progressed in the same way since.
Another tricky winger is Norwich’s Redmond, who has been a regular in the England under-21 set-up since 2013.
He leads the way for chances created by Englishmen in the top-flight through 10 games, with Mesut Ozil, Dimitri Payet, Cazorla, Eden Hazard and Dusan Tadic the only players to supply more opportunities to teammates.
This suggests Redmond’s end product is improving and so a step-up to the full squad is deserved.
Wayne Rooney has described the current England striking options as the strongest since he made his international bow, with Kane, Vardy, Theo Walcott, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck competing for places.
Deeney scored 64 goals in three Championship seasons for Watford before their promotion to the Premier League this term and has adapted well, albeit in a slightly deeper role to accommodate Odion Ighalo.
He is an all-round striker that scores and assists goals, while maintaining the workrate that will allow England to defend from the front.