It was an immensely underwhelming campaign for England who bowed out of the European Championships following an embarrassing loss to Iceland in the round of 16. TheHardTackle analyses the performance and rates each player who participated in the tournament for the Three Lions.
Fresh from a referendum that could see them leave the European Union, the English were forced another exit from Europe in the continental championships being staged in France after falling to tournament debutants Iceland in the first knock-out round. Going into the tournament, a relatively young English side carried much promise, housed an array of talented players for manager Roy Hodgson to choose from. The Three Lions were the only side with a 100% win record in qualifying, due to which the expectations were understandably high.
However, a familiar reel of big tournament letdowns played out in France, leaving many supporters disgruntled and frustrated. TheHardTackle breaks down what went wrong for the English in the competition and will rate the players from another disappointing performance in a major tournament.
Roy Hodgson’s Selection Blues and Tactical Mishaps
Quite every aspect of Roy Hodgson’s decision making has been questioned along the way from the build-up to the tournament to the side’s subsequent elimination on Monday. There were a number of players throughout the course of the past Premier League season whose performance would have warranted a spot in the English squad for the Euros. Mark Noble, Mikhail Antonio, Andros Townsend and Danny Drinkwater to name a few, were some of the deserving names Hodgson ignored instead opting for the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jack Wilshere
A manager’s squad selection need not be a major cause for worry if his decisions are backed by a tactical understanding of his style of play and a knowledge of how he is going to incorporate his players into his set-up. A case in point would be Italy’s Antonio Conte.
The incoming Chelsea boss came under a lot of scrutiny for his squad selection prior to the tournament, but the 46-year-old backed his decisions with a firm understanding of his style of play he expected from his players. His excellent tactical analysis and subsequent execution has seen the Azzurri outperform the likes of Spain and Belgium in the tournament and surpass the expectations of many back home.
Hodgson, on the other hand, didn’t seem to possess even the slightest clues of his best possible XI and formation. With only one natural wide man in Raheem Sterling, the choice of a 4-3-3 formation was baffling, considering the fact that strikers like Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge had to be deployed out of position on the wings where they could hardly have any major influence on the game. Hodgson had England’s top-flight’s two most devastating strikers in Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy among his ranks and for all the chances created in the tournament, the strike duo came back with just one goal between them.
The former Liverpool boss had a fair number of pre-tournament friendlies to test out various possible formations and line-ups with his provisional squad. Instead, he fielded the same 4-3-3 formation and provided his entire squad with playing time ahead of the tournament. Football is a game won both on and off the field and while England had decent quality to show for on the pitch, their work off the field wasn’t enough to make the best out of their resources.
Now, with the departure of Hodgson, the FA need to take their time out and appoint a manager with a winning pedigree and the experience to carry England back from the ruins through to a hopefully respectable World Cup campaign at Russia in 2018.
Joe Hart : 4/10
The Manchester City shot-stopper has looked a shadow of his former self in recent months and a dismal Euro 2016 campaign further highlighted the Englishman’s decline. Joe Hart had faced only 5 shots through the course of the tournament and let four of them past him.
Kyle Walker : 7/10
Among England’s better players in the competition, Kyle Walker constantly provided threat to the opposition from the flanks. He carried out his defensive duties well but lacked creativity in build-up play especially in the final third.
Nathaniel Clyne : 6/10
Delivered a solid performance in England’s game against Slovakia and wasn’t called upon in the rest of Three Lions’ matches. Clyne proved to be a terrific back-up option to Kyle Walker.
Chris Smalling : 6/10
Smalling was England’s best central defender in the tournament, but that speaks more about the lack of competition for the spot, than the player’s quality. The Manchester United defender still has some way to go before he’s considered the best in the business.
Gary Cahill : 5/10
Ably supported Smalling at the center of the England’s defence, but is far from the type of defender England need. He was good aerially but mostly looked off the pace when faced with pacy attackers.
Danny Rose : 6/10
Danny Rose was solid on the left-hand side of the English rear guard and probably provided more of an attacking threat than Raheem Sterling did throughout the tournament.
Ryan Bertrand : 6/10
Like Clyne, Bertrand was used only in the Three Lions’ match against Slovakia. His impressive performances in that game presented a solid case for selection for the Iceland game. Hodgson thought otherwise, and continued to field Rose.
Eric Dier : 6.5/10
Dier was solid as a rock in his defensive midfield position in the group games, but lost his way in the match against Iceland. At 22 years old, there is still a lot left to learn for the youngster and most certainly has a bright future ahead of him.
Dele Alli : 4.5/10
Dele Alli had a disappointing first major tournament for England. The youngster featured in 49 games for Tottenham Hotspur in a grueling domestic season may have taken its tole on the Alli. Still at a young age of 20, he represents the future of England’s midfield, but is far from a finished product.
Wayne Rooney – 5.5/10
Very influential in midfield, Rooney’s passing range caused a fair amount of problems to the opposition. However, his performances dipped as the tournament progressed. Starting off with a man of the match display against Russia, the Manchester United midfielder’s drop in form culminated in a disastrous display against Iceland, unbecoming of a captain of the side.
Jordan Henderson : 4.5/10
Looked unfit in his only game against Slovakia after suffering from injury at Liverpool. Defended well enough but did not manage to stamp his authority on the match and was a certainty to be replaced against Iceland.
Jack Wilshere – 3.5/10
His very selection to the squad is liable to be questioned. Yes, he has shown his ability playing for the national side in the past, but that is no reason to select a player who only played 141 minutes of Premier League football prior to his selection. Having said that, his performances weren’t completely off the mark. Lack of game time and confidence may have brought down the morale of a player who is otherwise supremely talented.
Raheem Sterling : 2.5/10
If the English fans needed a poster-boy to mark England’s poor European campaign, Raheem Sterling would be the one. Playing with a severe lack of confidence burdened by the expectations of a hefty price tag, Sterling has a lot to prove in subsequent seasons if he has to do away with the image and reputation he has gained through his performance in the Euros. His inclusion in the Iceland game was probably a leap of faith from Roy Hodgson that didn’t quite pay off. Barring the penalty incident, the Manchester City youngster had little to show for all the playing time he got over the likes of Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge.
Adam Lallana : 5/10
Lallana was among the victims of Hodgson’s uncertainty regarding the best team and formation. He was deployed on the right side of midfield in a 4-3-3 formation, and that didn’t quite work for Liverpool’s attacking midfielder.
Marcus Rashford : 6/10
Rashforf was among the bright sparks for the English in the tournament. The Manchester United starlet continued his remarkable rise at the club level onto the international stage. Has had a tremendous impact after coming on as a substitute against Iceland, prompting many to think what could have been had Hodgson brought him earlier on.
Jamie Vardy : 6/10
Criminally misused by Hodgson, Vardy’s tournament was disappointing in terms of the amount of actual match-time the player got as opposed to the amount he deserved. The striker managed only a solitary goal at Euro 2016, and clocked very few minutes on the field. The Leicester City striker was probably what England missed up front with a misfiring Harry Kane.
Daniel Sturridge : 6/10
Naturally preferring a role at the centre of the attack, Sturridge, like Vardy and Lallana, was forced to take a role in the flanks to aid Harry Kane. He played a crucial part in Vardy’s equalizer against Wales before netting the winner himself in injury time. He played the pass to Sterling early on in the game against Iceland that won the Three Lions an early penalty.
Harry Kane : 3.5/10
Very disappointing tournament for the Tottenham Hotspur striker. Bafflingly, he was placed on set-piece duty by the manager and did little to impact the opposition from such situations. Missed some glorious opportunities to score throughout the tournament. A campaign to forget for the 22-year-old.