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Leicester midfielder leading charge of the Euro 2016 dark horses

| 09.02.2016

It feels as if football only has room for one storyline at the moment, but Leicester City’s astounding charge towards the Premier League title is inescapably linked to the only other subplot to rival it; Euro 2016.

Alongside the mastery of Riyad Mahrez, the Leicester fairy tale has been epitomised by the rise and rise of Jamie Vardy, the Foxes’ irrepressible force up front.

Since breaking Ruud Van Nistlerooy’s Premier League record for scoring in consecutive matches, Vardy’s lust for goals has shown no sign of abating.

Vardy’s latest brace against Liverpool put him on 18 league strikes for the season (two clear of Romelu Lukaku) in the top scorer stakes, making him a shoo-in to be selected for England’s Euro 2016 squad.

With Vardy’s exploits taking the lion’s share of Leicester headlines however, there is another Englishman whose part in the Foxes’ phenomenal season is beginning to gain the sort of acclaim Roy Hodgson cannot ignore.

Danny Drinkwater has started 23 of 25 top-flight games for Claudio Ranieri and alongside Dele Alli at Tottenham, has been one of the most pleasantly surprising success stories of 2015/16 where England are concerned.

Although Drinkwater can’t match Alli’s eye for goal, his diligent defensive work and ability to spark Leicester forward on their trademark counter attacks marks the former Manchester United man out as arguably the most complete English midfielder on show this term.

As yet uncapped, the 25-year-old might just get a call up for the next set of Three Lions friendlies, especially as Hodgson is clearly yet to settle on his chosen midfield personnel.

Not far behind Drinkwater in terms of rapid development this season is Man United forward Jesse Lingard, who has seized his opportunities under Louis van Gaal since breaking into the team, grabbing vital and spectacular goals.

Danny Rose has also been flying on the left of Tottenham’s defence, where he is benefiting greatly from the freshness being rotated with Ben Davies provides, while West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell has also staked a claim.

Given Luke Shaw’s injury and Leighton Baines’ apparent decline at Everton since suffering his own long-term absence, both the aforementioned left-backs have to be in the reckoning.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.