Euro 2016 Scouting Report: What you need to know about England
Another summer and another big tournament for England to go in to with hope and expectation, but just what can the Three Lions achieve this summer in France?
Roy Hodgson’s side dealt with a non-too challenging qualifying group professionally and efficiently, claiming 10 wins from 10 against the likes of Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia and San Marino.
Handed a Finals group with Russia, Slovakia and old enemy Wales, England have been posed with a winnable trio of opponents yet each have potential to cause the Three Lions problems.
We’ve done the scouting for you and laid out what you need to know about the Group B favourites…
Danger Man – Harry Kane
The figurehead of Tottenham’s best season in a generation, Harry Kane has emphatically proved he is no one-season wonder.
Time and time again this term Kane has showed intelligence to his game to match his clinical finishing.
Adept in a striking duo or as a lone man, the 22-year-old’s excellent link-up play and movement makes Kane one of the first names Hodgson should be putting down on his team-sheet.
Under the Radar – Dele Alli
Another hero of Tottenham’s campaign, Dele Alli signed for the club from MK Dons last summer, but he’s proven plenty capable of playing at the highest level.
Alli only made his international debut in October, but riding the crest of a wave and improving seemingly week after week, he could just be the star of the summer.
His goal against Crystal Palace was one of the strikes of the season, and England would be wise to utilise his growing partnership with club team-mate Harry Kane.
The Lynch Pin – Chris Smalling
Say what you want about Manchester United this season, but for all of their criticisms, Chris Smalling has largely been excluded from most of them.
Performing admirably for the majority under trying circumstances at Old Trafford, the 26-year-old is showing exactly why Fulham thought enough to bring him straight from non-league into Premier League football before he was 21.
With Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill enduring trying seasons, a solid tournament from Smalling will be imperative if England are to go far.
As always, there’s reason to fancy England could do well, and with the expanded format seeing just six teams exiting at the group stage, a second round spot will be a must.
Outright odds of 11/1 will be a reminder that England are still maybe not quite equipped to oust Germany or Spain should they come face to face this summer, but there’s enough about the Three Lions to suggest a strong run to the latter stages is well within their grasp.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.