Until last season, the Premier League trophy had been in Manchester since the end of the 2010-11 campaign.
The continued success of Manchester United under legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the emergence of their “noisy neighbours” Manchester City has seen many of their stars feature in the England national team.
Prior to the upcoming friendly game against Euro 2016 hosts France, this article asks whether Roy Hodgson’s side is too dependent on a handful of players from Manchester by presenting some of England’s most important stars.
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Joe Hart is establishing himself as a world-class goalkeeper and he’s been in consistently good form for both club and country. The Manchester City man kept 14 clean sheets in the league last season to earn the Golden Glove award for the fourth time in his career, more than any other keeper.
This term he didn’t concede a league goal until September 19 and he only let in three in England’s record-breaking Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
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Hart is also becoming a real leader and has taken the England armband on numerous occasions to date. His presence in the dressing room has grown over the years and the 28-year-old seems to have benefitted massively from his spell on the bench in late 2013.
Whilst Stoke shot-stopper Jack Butland will be the clear first-choice keeper in the future, there’s no doubt that Hart well and truly is England’s number one.
Chris Smalling has arguably been the best centre-back in the country so far this season with his consistent, dominant displays for Manchester United.
He played in all of England's most important qualifying matches which shows Hodgson trusts the 25-year-old to replicate his Red Devils form on the international stage. Not only is Smalling strong and quick but he reads the game well and he’s becoming a genuine leader on the pitch.
Phil Jones has recently made his way back into the Man United team after being injured and he looks much more composed in a United shirt. He’s always been involved in Hodgson’s plans because he’s a versatile, strong and very talented player who loves to defend.
The 23-year-old is of a similar ilk to his former club teammate Nemanja Vidic in the sense that he’s a tough-tackling defender who’s never afraid to put his body on the line. Over the past few seasons he’s made a habit of making vital blocks and interceptions for both United and England.
As he’s proved during his near decade-long spell at Old Trafford, Michael Carrick keeps it simple and he possesses the technical quality to dictate a game on his own. England are currently blessed with some talented young midfielders and Carrick could provide the perfect counterbalance for the likes of Ross Barkley and Dele Alli to express themselves.
Over his career, the 34-year-old he hasn’t played for England as much as he should have but, with the retirement in recent years of both Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, the experience that Carrick brings has become priceless for his country.
Raheem Sterling’s performances for his country during the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign suggested that he is going to be a huge player for England for a very long time.
The 20-year-old winger has blistering pace, a direct style of dribbling, skill and natural ability on the ball – things that most English attackers have lacked in recent times.
The only thing that is still missing from Sterling’s game is composure and quality in front of goal. However, he is improving all the time and the City star has begun to answer his critics not only with a hat-trick against Bournemouth but also with a Champions League goal at Sevilla.
Not only is Wayne Rooney the captain for both Man United and England but he is now his country’s all-time leading goalscorer with 50 international goals from 108 appearances. Considering he only turned 30 last month, to break the record that quickly really was a remarkable effort.
His early season club form has been criticised but in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign Rooney scored seven goals in eight matches. The United and England talisman also brings a wealth of much-needed experience to this England side having represented his country at five major tournaments.
Smalling and Jones look set to become vital stalwarts in the England team because Hodgson seems to have lost faith in Everton captain Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill has performed poorly in Chelsea’s disastrous start to the season.
There’s no doubt that John Stones has the potential to succeed at the highest level, but at the moment he is relatively inexperienced on the international stage.
From all the players in the current England squad, only five players have earned more than 30 international caps and three of them represent either Man United or Man City (Hart, Carrick and Rooney).
England need to rely on their experienced campaigners like Hart, Carrick and Rooney to help bring through the undeniable young talent that Roy Hodgson currently has at his disposal.
How important are these five Manchester United and City stars to England? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment
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