England manager Roy Hodgson is experiencing a rare luxury of late, given that England are almost guaranteed qualification for the 2016 European Championships. Providing, of course, that the side avoids any major hiccups in their remaining fixtures.
The Three Lions overcame their toughest opposition, Switzerland, in their group E opener last month, before strolling to a routine 5-0 win over minnows San Marino on Thursday. Having maintained a perfect start to the qualification campaign, Hodgson's side are positioned at the summit of the table, with very little to prevent them from remaining unbeaten.
This has given the 67-year-old almost a year to build a team capable of competing against the continent's heavy-weights in France, as former England boss, Glen Hoddle, has been quick to point out. In his column for the Daily Mail, he highlighted Hodgson's license to experiment with his options, particularly in midfield.
"Given that we are almost certain to qualify, I believe there is an opportunity to be bold and try different players. Roy has settled on the diamond formation as one way of playing and, as such, that needs a good holding player."
Hoddle praised Jack Wilshere's performance in the holding role, versus San Marino, despite the quality of opposition faced, "Jack Wilshere did do really well there on Thursday night, though it is difficult to judge against San Marino when you have so much time on the ball. And it is not his natural game." The Arsenal midfielder has occupied this position for the Three Lion's last two fixtures now, with Hodgson seemingly experimenting in an attempt to find his best side.
However, he remains confident that Tom Huddlestone is the best man to sit at the base of the England manager's diamond system. "As a sitting player, there are few Englishmen who can match Huddlestone. He does that job of screening the back four and he has a range of passing that few can match."
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Huddlestone plays a more defensive role for Hull at club level. Already this season he has clocked seven appearances, completing an average 55 passes per match, of which 82% have proven accurate. Meanwhile, he has averaged a greater number of tackles and interceptions than current England first-choice, Wilshere.