Roy Hodgson is all set to make a few crucial changes to his starting XI for England’s round of 16 tie against Iceland on Monday night. The England head coach is expected to start with Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge.
Hodgson is also expected to bring Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling back into the starting XI, despite his poor performances in the Three Lions’ first couple of matches of the group stage. Sterling was in fact, subbed out of the Wales game at half time, when England were trailing by a goal.
The England manager’s contract comes to an end after Euro 2016 and an extension will depend upon how well the team does in the competition. Hodgson believes that the Three Lions are good enough to go far into the competition despite the fact that they have traditionally not performed well at the Euros.
“Tomorrow’s result will be significant [not just for me], but most of all for the team and the country. We want to stay in the tournament, we’re good enough, but we must get results and that starts tomorrow,” he was quoted saying on Uefa’s official website.
According to the BBC, Hodgson is all set to play Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane up front again, with Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge taking up his position on the right wing. However, the England boss does have the option of Leicester man Jamie Vardy on the bench, and said that he is prepared to play the 29-year-old, if England’s original plan does not work out.
“I’ve been happy with the strikers I’ve gone with. You never know how someone is going to play, but you do know what you’re selecting. You see them in training and you try to choose the best possible players for that game. I’m fortunate that if something isn’t functioning as I would like, we have options on the bench,” said Hodgson.
“We have to accept the title of favourites, and they will be the underdogs, but regardless it will be a difficult game and they will be hard to beat,” he added.
England’s time to shine?
The Three Lions might have never won the European Championships, but this is probably their best chance in decades. Instead of having a squad full of stars who go on to under-perform on the pitch, they have a balanced side that is playing good football.
The presence of the likes of Harry Kane, who has scored 25 goals to become the top scorer in the Premier League last season, has given a huge boost to their attack, while captain Wayne Rooney has dropped into a midfield role, acting as the creator-in-chief within the side.
Although they have struggled to beat the likes of Russia and Slovakia, England have shown that they can defeat quality sides through a 2-1 comeback win over neighbours Wales in the group stages.
The Three Lions have adopted a passing game over their last three matches in the European Championship, playing more than 430 passes per game on average. These are indications that England have finally brought a side that can actually challenge all the other traditional favourites in the tournament.