Three midfielders that deserve an England call-up

West Ham's Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang look dejected after FC Astra Giurgiu's first goal

We look at players from West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Leicester City.

 

It has been a time of change for the England squad. They will move in a new direction, under new leadership, with a new generation of players. But, thus far, it is almost impossible to predict what direction that will be, or who that leader will be. 

However, top English players have the chance to earn themselves a spot in this new squad, and these three midfielders have the quality to take that chance. 

Mark Noble

West Ham United's Mark Noble in action

West Ham United's Mark Noble is an all-round excellent central midfielder. He works hard, getting back to make key tackles and bombing forward to provide support for the attack - and he can really hit them too.

Moreover, he really wants to play for England. Over 12 years of consistent hard work for the Hammers, alongside the fact that he captained the England U21s to the final of the 2009 European Championships should have made him an ideal candidate to be an England regular.

Yet, he has not been called up to the England squad once. Technically, he is still available to join the Republic of Ireland. What a loss that would be for English football. 

The most difficult snub to take would have been the most recent one. Fresh off arguably the season of his career, Noble was snubbed for Danny Drinkwater, who was in turn snubbed for an unfit Jack Wilshere. 

Noble is 29 and in the prime of his career. It is now or never for him, and in a squad that is rapidly losing dressing room leaders, Noble would be a strong, commanding and experienced presence. 

Despite West Ham's disastrous start to the season, Noble has worked hard and acquitted himself well. He must do everything he can to help his side recreate the form they displayed last season, and force himself into the England manager's thoughts - whoever that may be.

Danny Drinkwater

Danny Drinkwater scores the first goal for Leicester City

A midfielder whose attributes are often underrated, Drinkwater very nearly made England's Euro 2016 squad off the back of Leicester City's unlikely title triumph.

N'Golo Kante stole the plaudits in central midfield for Leicester last season, with his hard running and thrust, but Drinkwater's combination of intelligent defensive play and cultured passing going forward were equally as vital to the team. His link-up with Vardy was particularly impressive, as Kante's frankly ridiculous energy allowed the Englishman greater license to break forward.

He was picked ahead of Mark Noble, but lost his place to Jack Wilshere in the final squad. Like Noble, he can offer both offensive and (more importantly) defensive qualities in a midfield that often houses more attacking talents. 

England are no longer a footballing nation that can expect to dominate possession against the biggest and the best, so players like Drinkwater who are defensively apt but can also contribute offensively in the centre are crucial for the Three Lions.

Wilfried Zaha

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring their second goal

Some may be surprised to see Zaha's name on this list, but he is an incredibly talented player.

It seems like such a long time ago that Manchester United signed what looked like England's next bright wing talent, but Zaha's time in Manchester was ill-fated.

He lost the confidence and the swagger that made him such a nightmare for defenders, and was an unfortunate casualty of the David Moyes era. 

However, Zaha's outstanding performance against Middlesbrough showcased all the qualities that made him such a hot prospect in the first place. He harrassed defenders, he used his searing pace well, and his contribution in the final third was assured, assisting Christian Benteke's opener, and scoring the winner.

If he can produce that kind of performace on a consistent basis, he will give himself a chance to break into the Englad squad.

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