Roy Hodgson didn’t really throw any surprises into his England squad ahead of internationals with Germany and Holland, the only real bit of excitement coming from the inclusion of Danny Drinkwater. That was hardly shocking considering he’s been one of the division’s most impressive players. Nevertheless, there are some exciting players in the manager’s plans, with the likes of Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jamie Vardy, Ross Barkley and the aforementioned Drinkwater all set to be handed game time.
Many saw this as the last chance to take a look at some of the Premier League’s brightest performers ahead of the Euros, but it seems the manager is, perhaps understandably, happy with his lot. However, that got me to thinking what an XI of players that deserve Three Lions call ups this term but haven’t received them would look like. So here it is. I reckon this side may give the current crop a run for their money on recent form.
Ben Foster - Goalkeeper
This is the hardest position to fill, after all there are the three usual suspects in Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Fraser Forster, plus Burnley’s Tom Heaton. It’s three from four no matter what the occasion. Or is it?
The other option is Ben Foster. The West Brom stopper has been excellent since returning form an injury at the turn of the year, keeping clean sheets against the likes of Man United and Everton. The Baggies have had a huge upturn in form since he returned, losing just two of their eight top-flight matches with Foster between the sticks.
Danny Simpson – Right-back
When he was allowed to leave Newcastle in 2013, it seemed very unlikely that Danny Simpson would have expected three years later to be on the verge of lifting a Premier League title with Leicester City.
Away from the fairytale, the former Man United trainee has formed a superb rearguard with Robert Huth, Wes Morgan and Christian Fuchs. The 29-year-old is very much a defence first type of full-back but he is decent on the ball and regularly feeds Riyad Mahrez and Mark Albrighton down the right flank.
Ryan Shawcross – Centre-half
He may have only played 14 games this season but in half of those matches Stoke have kept a clean sheet, which says all you need to know about Ryan Shawcross.
Yes, he’s aggressive and a bit nasty but so are most good central defenders. In his one cap so far Zlatan Ibrahimovic seemingly ended his England career. If he’s fit, then looking at Hodgson’s defensive options, it is hard to see how he cannot be given another chance.
Scott Dann – Centre-half
Another man who deserves a shot at wearing the famous white shirt. He has been Immense for Crystal Palace over the last two seasons and even in their dire run in 2016 he always seems to be one of their better performers.
It’s strange that a bigger club has never taken a gamble on Dann. He is a no nonsense presence who, much like Shawcross, seems to have been ignored be that for his style of play or the club he represents. England aren’t exactly awash with excellent central defenders either.
Aaron Cresswell – Left-back
England could field a team of left-backs, such is the plentiful bounty in this position. One man who has been getting a lot of credit but still deserves more is Aaron Cresswell.
He was sublime last term and has gotten even better under Slaven Bilic in this campaign. He has a marauding style of play and you would struggle to find a better crosser of the ball. His defending can be a little suspect at times but he is developing rapidly. He won’t be ignored forever.
Mark Noble – Central Midfielder
How Noble has never played for England is a little baffling. Even Leon Osman got a cap! The West Ham legend, and he is, has been the heartbeat of the Hammers side for years and this season that heart is beating stronger than ever.
The emergence of Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Danny Drinkwater have probably put paid to his dream of a trip to the Euros but if he is consigned to a list of good players never to have represented their country, that would be a sad state of affairs.
Jonjo Shelvey – Central Midfielder
Jonjo already has four England caps to his name and at the start of this season he looked a shoo-in for a spot at the Euros this summer. However, disagreements and behind the scenes goings on at Swansea saw him lose form and ultimately fall out of favour.
Since his arrival at Newcastle he has looked a class above his team-mates and has dictated play in the centre of the park. If Rafa Benitez can keep the Toon up he is sure to become a key part of the Magpies side and is destined for more games for his country.
Marc Albrighton – Left Wing
The Leicester flyer was released by Aston Villa in 2014 and subsequently signed for the Foxes. How the tables have turned in 2016. Still only 26, Albrighton has enjoyed his best ever campaign in the Premier League and if it wasn’t for the ridiculous season Riyad Mahrez is enjoying he would be getting a lot more praise.
The former England U21 man has six assists this season and is a constant threat on the wing. He possesses genuine pace and a decisive final ball, something the current crop of Three Lions widemen seem to lack.
Michail Antonio – Right Wing
You would be hard pushed to find a better winger in the second half of this season than the burly West Ham man. Antonio joined in the summer but it is since the turn of the year that he has really shown his pace, power and eye for goal.
The 25-year-old has scored seven goals for the Hammers this term and is a regular threat both on his wing and coming in from his flank to double up as a potent weapon in the box. He has already rejected the chance to play for Jamaica, and such is his confidence, you cannot rule him out of playing for England in the near future.
Troy Deeney – Attacking Midfielder/Striker
The Watford skipper was seen, somewhat lazily, as a big man up top by many when the Hornets arrived back in the Premier League, but those who have seen him play this season will now realise how very wrong that is.
Yes, he can win the ball in the air and hold up play but he almost operates as a number 10 In behind Odion Ighalo for the majority of the time. Deeney has laid on six assists in the league this term and scored 10 goals in all competitions. His strike partner gets most of the glory but the 27-year-old is just as, if not more crucial to the London club’s success.
Saido Berahino - Striker
Ok, he is not exactly great for morale but since the troublesome youngster returned to the fold at West Brom there has been a distinctive rise in the quality of the Baggies’ performances. Berhaino adds pace, guile and a massive goal threat.
He will almost certainly represent the Three Lions in the future, such is his quality. He also has the ability to drop off, as well as play wide and would fit excellently both into this team and the current England set up.
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