With just weeks to go before Roy Hodgson announces his final 23 for this summer’s Euros it is possible – give or take the odd place – to anticipate most who will be wearing the official suits with pride on the runway before losing out on pens in a quarter final before heading back home.
Yet though Roy presumably already has his squad locked down – complete with stand-by list – there are still three weeks of the season to compete for and with fatigue always an issue at the season’s close the threat of injuries becomes more prevalent.
Right now the players listed below stand little to no chance of making the flight to France this June but circumstances can change…
The emergence of the 18 year old as Manchester United’s go-to goalscorer has been as sudden as it was unexpected. With an explosive seven strikes in 13 appearances since his sensational debut against FC Midtjylland in the Europa Cup the raw but promising teen is only four behind Wayne Rooney and has the added benefit of bringing a surprise factor against Russia and Slovakia.
Hodgson has been understandably playing down Rashford’s chances but with Rooney and Sturridge both still precarious in their recoveries from injury it is not inconceivable a spot might yet develop.
For whatever reason it has now become indisputable that Roy Hodgson doesn’t fancy Mark Noble and with Shelvey suffering dire form at the worst time of the campaign and Henderson on the treatment table a midfield spot becomes available should others succumb to similar woes.
The Chelsea prospect has revelled in the trust and more advanced role that Ancelotti has afforded him and shown he has attacking attributes in abundance to go with his midfield discipline. A long shot perhaps but Loftus-Cheek should keep his passport within easy reach nevertheless. Want better odds in the meantime? Then try the Wizard of Oz Ruby Slippers slot with its numerous bonuses.
For a prolonged spell while at Spurs Townsend was a pivotal figure in the England set-up yet unable to string two games together for his club with Pochettino and Hodgson evidently having very different assessments of the winger.
After a rocky introduction to Newcastle’s relegation fight the 24 year old from Leytonstone has now found his top gears at just the right time to remind the national boss of the player he recently rated so highly.
A high-profile hat-trick against Arsenal prompted predictable questions Hodgson’s way on the possibility of the Geordie giant becoming a late inclusion.
Comparing the clamour for his selection as wanting ‘the latest ice cream flavour’ and stating he will not pick a player solely on one fantastic game was a somewhat tetchy and unnecessary response from the manager but the fact remains that Carroll has hit a rich vein of form at just the right time.
The chief reason that is always put forward whenever this rather stale debate starts up is that the West Ham strike offers an aerial threat the others lack and certainly stats back this up – Rooney, Vardy, Welbeck and Kane have put away five headers collectively this term. Carroll has the same amount.
There are several reasons to be extremely excited about this summer’s tournament for England supporters. An unbeaten qualifying campaign bodes well while the team’s decidedly youthful outlook offers a vibrancy and attacking ambition rarely seen from the national eleven.
Hodgson is expected to continue with his uncharacteristic trust in inexperience and it is hoped that he does. Yet when it comes to committing his final 23 for posterity there is always a chance he will stick an old head in there, a calming influence to steady the ship.