Jimmy Bullard pieces together his England side – Tottenham and Leicester men included

Jimmy Bullard Ladbrokes

The former squad member tells HITC Sport that he would have Dele Alli and Jamie Vardy in his England XI.

Jimmy Bullard Ladbrokes

Regardless of how the England national side fares, we all believe that we could do a better job of guiding the country forward if given the opportunity to do so.

Admittedly, our coaching experience may be a little limited, but who is to say that success on Football Manager cannot be replicated in the real world? How are we supposed to prove otherwise if never given the chance?

The likelihood is that we will continue to be overlooked, with Roy Hodgson currently occupying the hot-seat - and doing a decent enough job, to be fair.

His track record at major tournaments is, as yet, not the best, with the Three Lions having defended their way, backs to the wall, to penalty shoot-out elimination against Italy at Euro 2012, before plumbing new depths at the 2014 World Cup as they crashed out at the group stage – setting the tone for the rugby boys this year.

They will, however, get the opportunity for redemption next summer when the European Championship rolls into France.

A faultless qualification campaign has helped to raise morale and expectations, even when taking into account the mediocre opposition faced, and Hodgson will have some important decisions to make when it comes to selecting a group to go in search of continental glory.

Who he has in mind is anyone’s guess, with the tournament still some eight months away and there any number of injury and/or suspension issues to be taken into account before then.

If everyone was fit and available, though, who would you have in your favoured England team?

Speaking as part of Ladbrokes Rugby’s ‘Who’s Got The Balls’ campaign, HITC Sport put that question to former squad member Jimmy Bullard during a recent phone interview, and this is what he had to say: “I’m a big believer in in-form players. I’d have (Daniel) Sturridge and (Jamie) Vardy up top – pace in abundance. I’d play (Wayne) Rooney behind them, go very attacking. I’d go with them as my front three.

“I’d go (Michael) Carrick sitting, dictate the pace of play from there. I’ve got to have someone who can pass the ball side to side, not frighten the game – all this forward business at pace is doing my head in. He can own the game for me.

“I’d have Dele Alli. I really like (Fabian) Delph as well. Plenty of energy in there from those three. I like those three – two energetic and experience. I know it’s narrow, but it’s good and I’d have the full-backs pushing on. I’d go with (Nathaniel) Clyne, the right-back at Liverpool, he can gallop on and I’d go left-back, (Leighton) Baines.

Jimmy Bullard Ladbrokes 3

“That’s not bad is it? You’re going to see energy, forward possession, you’re going to see ball retention. I don’t know who I’d have at centre-half. I like that side. I want my full-backs to offer width and be packed out in the middle.

“I could be England manager couldn’t I? Seriously, pace in abundance, Vardy and Sturridge up top! Rooney just behind them. That’s good, I really like. Shall we post this to the FA?”

Hodgson may already be leaning that way.

He has drafted in-form Leicester City frontman Vardy into the set-up three years on from playing non-league football, while Dele Alli’s meteoric rise from MK Dons starlet to Tottenham Hotspur first-team regular could be completed with a first senior cap in the coming days.

This may be an experimental period, with the real challenges to come further down the line, but at least England are looking to explore all of the options available to them and acknowledge that fresh faces are required if a reversal in fortune when results matter most is to be achieved.

Watch Austin Healey and Jimmy Bullard challenge the values of football and rugby in 'Who's Got The Balls?' at LadbrokesRugby.com #RealBalls

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