With England through to Euro 2016, now is the perfect time to assess who would fit the bill for Hodgson in France.

Qualification for the showpiece event in France was relatively straight forward but Hodgson would already be thinking ahead to the main event, a tournament at which he would like to end the barren drought for the Three Lions, a run which dates back to 1966.

Here TheHardTackle assesses what combination of players would help England have the best chance of going deep into Euro 2016.


If there is one spot, which is a nailed certainty, it is this one. Joe Hart is not only the best English goalkeeper, but also one of the best in the world. Though Jack Butland is an exciting prospect, he is still far from the finished product.


Now is the time for Hodgson to give youth the chance to prove themselves. And in defence, England have a surfeit of players who have the talent to make the respective positions their own for the next decade.

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John Stones could be the man leading the England defence at Euro 2016

Nathaniel Clyne should get the nod for the right full back berth, given his form for Liverpool, and the lack of an alternative in the position. The only competition he faces is if Hodgson decides to use John Stones on the right to make room for the experience of Phil Jagielka or Gary Cahill in the centre.

As far as centre backs are concerned the former Switzerland manager could go with the reliability of Jagielka and Cahill. But a far more exciting and forward looking partnership would be of Stones and Chris Smalling. The former is looking very much like a young Alessandro Nesta while the latter is probably the most improved defender in the Premier League, today.

Luke Shaw would have been a certainty on the left, but his long term injury should open the door for Leighton Baines. He will not only add experience to the back four but would provide an excellent option for set pieces.


Michael Carricka s international career covers a span of 14 years, but only 33 caps. There is the oft-mooted theory that a player of his ilk is not given his due in Britain. Coaches in the past have often overlooked the Geordie to accommodate the likes of Steven Gerrard & Frank Lampard, who are more of your traditional box to box midfielders. But the point is that to win international tournaments these days, you need a Xavi or Andrea Pirlo, orchestrating the play from the base of the midfield, and England has no one better than Carrick to perform this role.

Jack Wilshire gave ample demonstration of his talent in Englanda s 3-2 win over the Slovenians in June and Hodgson will be hoping that this prodigious talent can keep himself injury-free March onwards. Put simply, when Wilshere is fit he plays, as he gives England that chutzpah in the middle of the park.

On the right, Hodgson would have to choose between Jordan Henderson, who would offer extra solidity in midfield, and Ross Barkley, who many tout as a future England captain. If Hodgson were a romantic, he would definitely go for the Evertonian, but considering that he has a tournament to win, he might go for the Liverpool man. Barkley could be used as a very dangerous weapon off the bench.


England vs Estonia

Sterling could give opposition defences a torrid time in France next summer

Despite garnering so much negative publicity over the last few months, Wayne Rooney still remains the main man for England. The Manchester United & England captain would also have extra motivation for France 2016, knowing that this could well be his last chance of making a major impact at an international tournament. He also offers Hodgson the option of an extra body in midfield, when England come up against superior opponents.

Assuming Hodgson decides to go in with a 4-3-3 Raheem Sterling and Theo Walcott would give England the option of playing with 2 players, who have pace to burn. Both of these players have their flaws defensively, but given the right kind of service have the ability to tear defences apart.

Final Verdict

Hodgson knows that he has the talent within his squad to compete at the Euros, but England have always had that going into major tournaments. Perhaps, to succeed, he finally needs to give youth a chance, but will the conservative in him allow him to take such a step.