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Who should miss out on the England squad: Central Midfielders

Tuesday 31st May 2016
England have a wealth of midfielders to choose from for the tournament with a vast array of different styles in the provisional squad. With the blend of youth and experience in the team, Hodgson will be quietly confident in the ability of his midfield. Fabian Delph has been all but ruled out of the competition already, therefore he will not be discussed here. This leaves two players to be dropped from the squad, with one of them likely to come from the midfield.

The Midfielders:



Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Eric Dier, Danny Drinkwater, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Jack Wilshere.

There is a wealth of diversity in the England midfield coming into the Euro's and it is an exceptionally exciting time.

First of all is the Tottenham duo of Dele Alli and Eric Dier. The two began this season sitting next to each-other in central midfield before Alli was moved further forward. Even with the move they complement each-other fantastically. Alli is an all action player, as likely to be found making a crunching tackle and winning the ball as he is starting an attack or finishing one for that matter. Dier, on the other hand, is a superb defensive player. Strong in the tackle with a good range of passing and an intelligent footballing mind which allows him to stop attacks before they can progress. The two are the standout partnership in this England side.

Ross Barkley began this season very promisingly. He was scoring a lot of goals and creating chances for his teammates before both he and Everton began to go backwards. A below par 11th place finish is not good enough for a team with Everton's talent and Barkley will be hoping he can put his club form behind him with a good showing in France. Danny Drinkwater is another fantastic defensive asset for England. His season at Leicester has been one of unforeseen success as, alongside N'Golo Kante, he has been part of the engine room which has pushed Leicester to their title success. He is a player with an eye for a pass and the ability to break up an attacking move. His inclusion in the England squad alongside Jamie Vardy would have been an exceptionally questionable one this time last year, which just displays the incredible change in fortunes both man and club have been subject to this campaign.

Jordan Henderson and James Milner are another club pairing that Roy Hodgson will be pondering on over the next few hours. Both Henderson and Milner are players full of energy. They are willing trackers and have an eye for breaking up an attack. Their willingness to sacrifice their offensive output in an attempt to help defensively bodes well for games in which England will not have much of the ball, however they are both very similar in their style of play and England would benefit more from playing one or the other, along with a more creative midfielder beside them. Jack Wilshere is the final name in the provisional squad. Everyone knows Wilshere is a very talented player with the ability to pick a pass or dribble through the opposition midfield in a way not many of the England team can. However, this season he has played so little game time and has had even less of an impact on Arsenal's season. This is disappointing considering his potential.







































































































































Minutes played Goals  Assists Yellows Team Goals For/Against
Dele Alli 2482109369/35
Ross Barkley 308788459/55
Eric Dier 3268321069/35
Danny Drinkwater 303927368/36
Jordan Henderson 129323163/50
James Milner 2416511963/50
Jack Wilshere 14100065/36


The above stats shed a lot of light on those most deserving of a place at the finals. With regard to goals, Alli and Barkley have led the way with 10 and eight respectively. In recent tournaments, England have found goals difficult to come by and the pressure of being the main striker at a tournament has caused Wayne Rooney to struggle to find the net. However, England has an abundance of top class strikers to choose from this time and so goals from the midfield will not be as vital as they might have been. However, there are games where it doesn't happen for a striker and so having goal scoring midfielders means there is a threat across the entire pitch. Assists wise, Alli, Barkley and Drinkwater have been in fine form this season, being a huge source of creativity for their teams. However, it is James Milner's assist output that has been most prominent, notching 11 across the campaign. However, Hodgson will keep in mind that while Milner has had the most assists, there are far more creative players in the squad than Milner, while Hodgson should give players such as Alli and Barkley, who are still very young, a chance as they are the future of the English team and so should be afforded more game time.

While the discipline of the players is not really too much of an issue, it should be noted that both Eric Dier and Milner have had the most yellow cards this term. However, this is most likely because they spend most of their time behind the ball, attempting the quell opposition attacks before they can begin while both are comfortable slotting in just in front of their centre-backs. Playing this position heightens the likelihood of picking up a yellow card as, in the area of the pitch they play in, fouls are under much more scrutiny. All of the midfielders have played in teams where goals have been plenty. However, it is very interesting to note that the Tottenham pair of Dier and Alli have conceded 35 goals this season, the fewest, and Drinkwater has conceded 36 with Leicester. This is in comparison to Henderson and Milner who have conceded 50 goals this term, a worrying stat considering both play a deeper, defensive-minded midfield role.

Even with all these stats taken into account, on form, there is only one player who should miss out here. Jack Wilshere has only played 141 minutes in this Premier League season and, on this evidence, should not be taken to France. While Wilshere is a very talented player and, on his day is one of the most creative men in the England team, players HAVE to be picked on form. It is a dangerous precedent to set when a player is brought in for a major tournament without having played for the bulk of the season. Henderson too has missed a number of games at the end of the season due to injury while Barkley's form has dropped significantly since the beginning of the season and so he is not safe, regardless of how talented he is. However, there have been rumblings that it may be Danny Drinkwater that will miss out. The defensive midfielder has a lack of experience in International football and, with the talent of Dier in the same position and with Henderson and Milner' experience too, it seems the Leicester man will miss out.
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.


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