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​​​Five Unfancied Englishmen The Three Lions Should Stop Ignoring

Tuesday 15th March 2016
As the England hype train gathers significant steam ahead of Euro 2016, most fans still have their bugbears about predictable picks and club cult heroes left out in the cold.

Yet, this Premier League season has been one of surprises, with a shock winner set to be crowned should things continue in this manner. Many of the usual protagonists (hint, hint Wayne Rooney) have not shown up, and perhaps it is time that the competition and variety in England's top-tier was represented by the national team, lest there be accusations of big club bias.

Of course few, if any, of our unfancied Englishmen here will make it on the plane to France, but caps should be coming their way, if the Three Lions fold is to be a level playing field.
So, without further ado, It's Round and It's White present our five top performing player picks that should be given a nod of international recognition with England...

Michail Antonio

West Ham United's rapid wingman has one of those stories everyone enjoys; from non-league loans to Premier League, lifeguard to Upton Park superstar. We bet Antonio is glad he didn't decide to ditch his football dream to become a PE teacher now...
Direct, daring, instinctive and with a burst of enviable acceleration, Antonio has emerged, just months after moving on from Championship club Nottingham Forest, into a Hammers hero alongside Dimitri Payet.

Still somewhat of a diamond in the rough at age 25, what makes Antonio exciting is his unpredictability; few expected the Englishman to be so fearless in his first top division season and score seven goals to boot. International football would be another huge step up, but regular Three Lions selections such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain aren't beating this outside shout for the end product.

Aaron Cresswell

With Luke Shaw out, Cresswell's continued England omission is rather eyebrow-raising. Leighton Baines brings set-piece prowess but can be a liability when caught too far up the pitch, while other options such as Danny Rose, Ryan Bertrand and Kieran Gibbs are hardly more polished than this Hammer.
One of the steals of last season, Cresswell has barely put a foot wrong since arriving in east London, either defensively or offensively, and has a more than credible case to be called up. Yet, almost criminally, the adventurous full-back appears not to be registering on Roy Hodgson's rarefied radar.

Danny Drinkwater

An unsung Leicester City hero, diligent Drinkwater has been nothing short of superbly consistent for the Foxes since they clawed their way out of the Championship.

N'Golo Kante may take the midfield plaudits for his more noticeable dirty work, but this Old Trafford-reared talent does just as much mopping up, contributing at both ends of the pitch.
The Manchester-born midfielder has matured and grown into his game, becoming a quietly effective piece in Claudio Ranieri's chess set, with his eye-catching passing range. Injury-prone Jack Wilshere is this England generation's midfield prodigy, but has he really done enough to grab that ticket to France? On merit, Drinkwater would at least be in contention.

Marc Albrighton

Another unlikely Leicester lad here, in-form Albrighton is admittedly not quite of the calibre to be an England starter, but the former Aston Villa lad is exactly the type of adaptable and industrious player that would be valuable to any international boss.
Driving down the wing, he cannot compare to Raheem Sterling for flair, but squad options are key, and Albrighton's seven assists have certainly helped the Foxes charge toward the league title. With a keen eye for a cross and the versatility to play in several positions, the 26-year-old surely deserves a shot on the fringes ahead of recent call-ups like the rather one-dimensional Andros Townsend.

Ryan Shawcross

Shawcross will go down as one of the Premier League's sturdiest defenders, and Stoke City's Mr Reliable, but that is no bad thing, despite the progressive penchant for centre-halves to be spectacular on the ball.

First and foremost, no-nonsense Shawcross knows how to defend, but the Man Utd academy product has never been in fashion and has arguably suffered from Stoke's previous hoof-ball reputation.
The old school centre-back is a true linchpin and leader at the back and, crucially, has not looked out of place commanding the spine of Potters boss Mark Hughes' flashier Stoke vintage. Yet, Shawcross still has just the one cap from Hodgson, with his brief friendly appearance meaning he is famously still eligible for Wales.

Take the current England roster - has Shawcross had a worse season than Gary Cahill or Phil Jagielka? Is he really a rung below Phil Jones for talent? John Stones has his silky skills but, at least for the moment, the youngster keeps blotting his copybook with rookie errors. Yet still, oft-overlooked Shawcross remains on the sidelines aged 28 and with time ticking on...

Agree or, more importantly, disagree with our shouts? Let us know your views on Twitter.

Stats and info via Transfermarkt and Wikipedia.

Main image by By joshjdss - West Ham Vs Birkrikara, inset by Hilton Teper.
Holly Thackeray
Full-time content writer, English Lit grad and long-time Manchester United fan with an affection for Japan and the Azzurri. Also, if you like darts, I definitely belong to the Barney Army ;)

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