The second international tournament out of 3 this summer will begin in France, which is EURO 2016. This tournament generally is considered one of the best tournaments around the world, on par with the World Cup in the eyes of many, as it has most of the top teams in the world. UEFA wanted to have more countries develop their football, so they have extended this years competition to 24 teams as compared to 16 historically, which should make for some great viewing.
England are going to be starting as one of the favourites to win their group and accordingly, their biggest weakness comes with the lack of depth & experience in midfield that they are taking along with them to the tournament.
England are expected to play with Kane, Dele Ali and Wayne Rooney as the furthest 3 players up the pitch; which leaves 2 or possibly 3 slots up the field, considering on how much width Roy Hodgson wants to give this team. Eric Dier is the only player who has locked in his spot as a specialist defensive midfielder and then the other spot is up for grabs.
The contenders for the spot are Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere and James Milner.
Ross Barkley has not started a single game so far in the 3 friendly games, so that can effectively rule him out. His inconsistency in form towards the back half of the season, had Dele Ali replaced him as a certain starter in the team.
Jordan Henderson had just recovered from injury late in the season, and is lacking a lot of game time. He started 1 game, and came off as a sub in another game, but didn’t look like Hodgson’s choice in their final warm-up game.
Jack Wilshere has been questioned by a lot of people as to why he is included in the squad, considering his severe lack of game time. While he has started 2 games, he didn’t deliver a strong performance that would make him an automatic selection in the team.
James Milner is the 2nd most experienced player with 60 caps behind captain Wayne Rooney. James Milner is that tireless working midfielder who will give his all in order to ensure the teams success is delivered. He came off the bench for 45 minutes against Australia in place of Wilshere and started out the final warm up against Portugal which looked like Hodgson setting out his best team to see how they perform.
In case the formation changes to a traditional 4-4-1-1 ; 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-2-1 or even a 4-3-3; the only person in the England midfield team who can fit any formation whether width or centrally and deliver a good performance will be James Milner. For those reasons, for his hard-working ethic, for his starting in their last game and for the experience in the England team, I expect James Milner to start the first game for England.
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