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Ladbrokes News united behind Rooney’s Euro 2016 spot in their 23’s

| 15.05.2016

In the end, only Roy Hodgson’s opinion will matter. However, that won’t prevent every England fan and their dog picking their own 23-man squads for Euro 2016, or the Ladbrokes News team for that matter.

Here is how the editors would fill their planes to France this summer, in no particular order. Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe get a few mentions, but one thing stands out.

All seven of the Ladbrokes News dream team are swimming against the tide of public opinion gathered by our recent Twitter poll, where 40 per cent of those who voted found no place at all for England’s record goal scorer in the squad.

It’s not only Wayne Rooney’s inclusion or exclusion that gets combed over below though. See if you agree with some of the other big judgement calls made and feel free to post comments at the bottom.

Matt-Wiggins_avatar_1430929460-32x32 Matt Wiggins

Keepers – Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Ben Foster

Defenders – Kyle Walker, Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, John Stones, Danny Rose, Ryan Bertrand

Midfielders – Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley, James Milner, Dele Alli, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Michael Carrick

Forwards – Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge, Andy Carroll

Roy Hodgson has been a 4-3-3/4-3-2-1 disciple the last 18 months, so this squad is picked to fit that style. As many as five men in the 23 can cover at right back, so Kyle Walker is the only out-and-out in that position. That strategy allows for more varied options further forward.

The biggest of those, literally, is Andy Carroll, who is taken to provide Plan C off the bench if the impact of Jamie Vardy as Plan B fails to be felt. In midfield, Michael Carrick’s experience and superior ability to cover Eric Dier as the midfield anchor nudges Danny Drinkwater out.

Finally, I don’t want Jack Wilshere or Theo Walcott anywhere near the plane as they have been missing, either in fitness or performances, for too much of the season.

Richard-Marsh_avatar_1453199903-32x32 Richard Marsh

Keepers – Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Ben Foster

Defenders – Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Ryan Shawcross, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Nathaniel Clyne, Aaron Cresswell,

Midfielders – Eric Dier, Dele Alli, James Milner, Danny Drinkwater, Ross Barkley, Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon, Andros Townsend,

Strikers – Jamie Vardy, Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge

This is actually an England squad capable of going at teams. The goalkeepers pick themselves, but one mistake from Hart and he’s under pressure.

Ryan Shawcross deserves to compete for the centre-half places, while the four full-backs can cover the two spots. Leighton Baines and Ryan Bertrand missing out. There’s no room for ball-dallying John Stones either. Not at a major finals.

I’m throwing Theo Walcott in as a midfielder. With Eric Dier and Danny Drinkwater holding, Dele Alli and Ross Barkley can get creative, while Theo, Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend can add pace out wide if we need it.

I’ve got no room for Raheem Sterling and that’s his own fault for consistently failing to justify his price tag, while Lennon and Townsend showed much more enthusiasm this year.

Three of the four strikers have been known for months, and while Andy Carroll deserves serious consideration, he and Jermain Defoe are unlikely to get enough game-time to warrant a place, so it’s Daniel Sturridge who gets the nod.

Christian-Crowther_avatar_1431002406-32x32 Christian Crowther

Keepers – Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Ben Foster

Defenders – Kyle Walker, Nathaniel Clyne, Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, John Stones, Danny Rose,

Midfielders – Eric Dier, Jack Wilshere, James Milner, Ross Barkley, Dele Alli, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend,

Forwards – Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge, Andy Carroll

There’s certainly a reluctance to greatly alter the qualifying landscape for me. Nathaniel Clyne’s versatility to cover left-back – which he’s done several times for Liverpool – would ensure any injury to default first-choice Danny Rose would see the former slot in and his right-sided berth filled by Kyle Walker in the starting XI.

Unfortunately there aren’t too many quality cards to deal in central defence to displace the first-choice axis of Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling. This means other than opting to switch out criticised Everton pairing Phil Jagielka and John Stones, the duos’ combined weight of experience and ability win over any largely untried options.

Jack Wilshere over Jordan Henderson was my most controversial choice, but as lightly played as the former has been this season, he was brilliant for England during qualifying. Andros Townsend is a wild card of sorts too, though he’s shown for both Newcastle and England that he’s capable of grabbing that most vital of tournament commodities; a goal.

Danny Welbeck’s misfortune should allow Andy Carroll to give the Three Lions that dice-spinning option that could prove invaluable if circumstances dictate.

James-Curtis_avatar_1453200239-32x32 James Curtis

Keepers – Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Ben Foster

Defenders – Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Kyle Walker, Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Rose, Phil Jones

Midfielder – Ross Barkley, Dele Alli, Michael Carrick, Andros Townsend, Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard, James Milner, Danny Drinkwater, Jack Wilshere

Forwards – Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Jermain Defoe

The goalkeepers pick themselves but Roy will be hoping Hart avoids injury with Jack Butland unable to travel as back-up.

The first choice back four picks itself and while John Stones can rightly feel miffed at missing the cut, as Phil Jones’ no-nonsense style of play sees the fit-again Man United man given the nod instead.

England are blessed with a pool of quality midfielders and despite a lack of playing time Jack Wilshere is too good to leave at home. Michael Carrick can provide a calm and experienced head to lead a group of exciting youngsters with Andros Townsend and Jesse Lingard available as last-10-minute tormentors.

The debate over Wayne Rooney rumbles on but no manager is leaving the country’s record scorer at home, captain’s armband or not. Kane and Vardy are certainties given their form this season and given the last spot needs to be someone who can come on and take a chance Defoe – third highest scoring Englishman this season – gets selected over Sturridge.

Craig-Kemp_avatar Craig Kemp

Keepers – Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Tom Heaton

Defenders – Nathaniel Clyne, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Ryan Bertrand, Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka

Midfielders -Eric Dier, Michael Carrick, James Milner, Jack Wilshere, Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Andros Townsend, Raheem Sterling

Strikers – Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Wayne Rooney, Andy Carroll

The idea of taking seven defenders has generally revolved around taking a single recognised right-back, with one of the central defenders able to do a job in this position if required. However, Mauricio Pochettino has shown with his rotation at Tottenham that the modern-day full-back is a demanding position and so taking two naturals in each looks necessary.

Instead, taking three options in the less-demanding central defensive position makes more sense, especially with Dier able to operate in this role.

Jordan Henderson is the big omission in midfield, as he offers nothing different to others and the squad should be about having players for all situations. Dier holds, Carrick can dictate play, Wilshere dribbles from deep and Milner brings energy and versatility.

This is also the reason for the slightly surprise inclusions of Andros Townsend and Andy Carroll

Dave-Burin_avatar_1458563766-32x32 Dave Burin

Keepers – Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Tom Heaton

Defenders – Kyle Walker, Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand, Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Nathaniel Clyne

Midfield – Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Ross Barkley, Andros Townsend

Forwards – Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jamie Vardy, Jermain Defoe

After a number of tournaments where England’s experienced, established stars have struggled to replicate their best form, Roy Hodgson should look to put his faith in the exciting – somewhat untested – young generation coming through.

Joe Hart should still be the man between the posts, having managed seven clean sheets during the qualifying campaign, though Fraser Forster and Tom Heaton deserve inclusion for their excellent club form during the campaign.

Defensively, it’s hard to look past the rock-solid Cahill and cultured Smalling as the first-choice pair in the centre of defence, and I’d favour the pacy Bertrand and tough-tackling Walker on the flanks.

Central midfield is the one area where experience could be crucial, which is why Carrick and Milner should both make the squad and one or the other should consistently make it into the starting XI. The exciting Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard can play slightly more advanced, wider roles in a 4-2-2-2 setup.

For strikers, the game is all about confidence. And nobody is more confident right now than Harry Kane, the Premier League’s current top scorer.

And the flair of Kane would work well with the know-how of Jermain Defoe or Wayne Rooney, while lively Marcus Rashford and Leicester star Jamie Vardy both possess the pace to make them natural super-subs.

William-Geldart_avatar_1453220247-32x32 William Geldart

Keepers – Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Tom Heaton

Defenders – Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Rose, Ryan Bertrand

Midfielders – Eric Dier, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Ross Barkley, Dele Alli, Andros Townsend, Danny Drinkwater

Strikers – Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge, Jermain Defoe

Joe Hart is the undisputed number one with Fraser Forster an able enough deputy although his kicking remains a little suspect. Then it’s Tom Heaton over Ben Foster who has hardly shone in a very average side.

At the back I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon and pan John Stones. He remains a very exciting, albeit raw, talent and one that should be exposed to a major tournament of this magnitude as soon as possible.

Having said that, Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill are the preferred starting partnership with Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Betrand all pushing each other for a place on the flanks.

And then we come to the midfield conundrum. It’s all about form and fitness. For too many tournaments we’ve carried passengers and that cannot be case in France.

For that reason alone Jack Wilshere misses out despite his previously eye-catching performances for the Three Lions.

Meanwhile, I’m ignoring the clamour for Michael Carrick. James Milner provides more than enough experience in the engine room with the other selections exciting and solid enough to cover a multitude of scenarios.

Up front, this squad has so many options. Whether Roy Hodgson will find the right combination is still open to debate but in Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe the gaffer is spoilt for choice.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



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.