How England should line up at Euro 2016

Roy Hodgson on air

After defeats to Italy and Uruguay, England are already out of the World Cup. The current squad was unable to deliver, so who should play in Euro 2016?

Roy Hodgson has already asked Steven Gerrard to continue as England captain, but surely now it is time to move on? After a bitterly disappointing World Cup for Gerrard personally, it seems now would be the right time for him to retire and let the younger generation take over to form a new look England. 

No one is doubting the talent that England have at their disposal, but who will still be around for Euro 2016 and which of the younger players will have become regulars? 

Let us start in goal. Joe Hart is still by far the countries best goalkeeper and has performed well in Brazil. He was not at fault for any of the goals conceded and his club form has been excellent in 2014.

Still only 27, he is approaching his prime years as a goalkeeper and there are few waiting in the wings to dethrone him as the country's No.1. Jack Butland and Fraser Forster could provide some competition but you would expect it will be Hart lining up in France.  

In front of Hart is where most of England's problems lie. Phil Jagielka, 31 and Glen Johnson, 29, are both good Premier league defenders but have shown in Brazil they just are not good enough at the highest level.

They will both be well into their thirties by 2016 and there are better alternatives. Jon Flanagan, Johnson's teammate at Liverpool, could be his replacement at right back. If he continues to develop at the same rate he will be a great option for Hodgson in two years time. 

Like Johnson, Jagielka may find his place in the national side taken by someone at his club. John Stones covered for him last season with aplomb and many see him as a future England centre half. Gary Cahill is still the country's best central defender so should keep his place but the other options are Manchester United's Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, who have both flattered to deceive in recent years and still look a little out of place in the England squad.

At left-back, a position where England always seem to have plenty of options, should be Luke Shaw. Leighton Baines' fine performances for his club over the last few years justified his inclusion at the World Cup but he has struggled to replicate that from for his country, and with Shaw only going to get better with time, Hodgson would be wise to bed him in during the qualifiers. 

In midfield England have a number of talented players but if Gerrard does retire from England duty, it should be Jack Wilshere to replace him in central midfield. The Arsenal play-maker has not kicked on as many hoped due to injuries over the last few years but if he can play regularly for Gunners, he could become one of Europe's finest midfielders.

Alongside him should be teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who was deployed more centrally by Arsene Wenger last season, and offers a lot more on the ball than Jordan Henderson.  

On the right wing Raheem Sterling will have developed even more by 2016 and should have made the position his own.

The left-hand side has always been a problem for England but with his pace and ability to get at players, Ross Barkley could solve that problem. It might not be his best position, but his cameos this summer has shown he adds something going forward and is too good to sit on the bench. 

In the middle, despite claims he should be dropped, should be Wayne Rooney. Still England's best player, he should be made captain and have the team built around him.

Every other team does it: Argentina with Lionel Messi; Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo; Brazil with Neymar. It helps get the best out of them and Hodgson should do the same with the Man Utd forward. 

Daniel Sturridge should continue to lead the line after scoring five goals or his country in 14 games and he is the best striker England have produced in years. Playing for Liverpool in the Champions League next season should only further his development into one of Europe's finest front-men. 

Formation 4-2-3-1

GK: Joe Hart

RB: Jon Flanagan

CB: Gary Cahill

CB: John Stones

LB: Luke Shaw

CM: Jack Wilshere

CM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

RAM: Raheem Sterling

CAM: Wayne Rooney

LAM: Ross Barkley

ST: Daniel Sturridge


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