Ahead of the European Championships, we take a look at what the England starting XI would look like if it was picked purely on this season’s form.
Various factors are taken into account when selecting the first team such as reputation and leadership skills but here we look at a side based purely on form.
At first glance, Joe Hart looks to have this place cemented despite his recent injury especially since his main rival Fraser Forester missed the first half of the season.
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The Man City stopper has kept a league-high of 13 clean sheets which is even more impressive given the fact that Vincent Kompany has missed much of the season. However, as Man City’s form continues to deteriorate and Southampton go from strength to strength, in no small part due to the return of Fraser Forster, Hart’s position may be under more threat than first assumed.
Verdict: Joe Hart
Given Spurs' impressive campaign, Kyle Walker's form would put him in a strong position for a starting spot for England in both the upcoming internationals and the Euros in the summer.
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Nathaniel Clyne has nailed down a starting spot for Liverpool and may well be Walker’s main competitor for the spot. The tried and trusted Phil Jones has become too injury prone to build up any type of consistent form.
Verdict: Kyle Walker
Chris Smalling is nailed on for one of these positions without doubt. In a dire season so far for Manchester United he has been one of the few positives and has real come into his own this season.
The second spot is much trickier when based on form. Gary Cahill, a regular for England, found himself edged out of Chelsea’s side by young Kurt Zouma before his horrific injury and he appears if he is on the decline.
Phil Jagielka has formed a major part of an incredibly shaky Everton defence which sees them lingering in the bottom half of the table. His Everton team-mate would appear to be the final contender, namely the young pretender John Stones. The young defender has hardly produced performances of enough quality to justify the massive figures that were floating around during his transfer saga during the summer and has recently found himself on the bench under Roberto Martinez. However, he has shown the odd glimpse of potential and this alongside the decline of Jagielka and Cahill sees him edge the second starting spot.
However, he has shown the odd glimpse of potential and this alongside the decline of Jagielka and Cahill sees him edge the second starting spot.
Verdict: Chris Smalling and John Stones
Possibly the toughest position in the team pick if completely injury free. However, that is not the case as Luke Shaw and Leighton Baines have struggled for fitness all season.
It would appear that two men are fighting for the position if based on form. Like his fellow Spurs full-back, Danny Rose has proved as solid going forward as he is defensively in Spurs’ title bid.
His main opponent for the spot seems to be Ryan Bertrand who has come into his own after Christmas as Southampton aim for a Europa League spot.
Verdict: Danny Rose
Given the lack of impressive English wingers this season, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain severely struggling for form, Hodgson may benefit from playing a narrow diamond formation in midfield.
On form, two of these players should be a no brainer. If this was the first Premier league season you had ever seen you would assume that Danny Drinkwater and Dele Alli would be guaranteed starters for England. However, given their lack of international experience, it is very unlikely that Hodgson will select both, if either, of the two.
The final man in this midfield trio, based on form, is James Milner. No matter what midfield both Brendan Rodgers and Jürgen Klopp selected for Liverpool this season it was usually built around James Milner. The English midfielder has been rock solid in midfield despite his lack of goals and assists.
Verdict: Dele Alli, Danny Drinkwater and James Milner
Centre Attacking Midfielder
The man to spearhead this diamond shape has to be Ross Barkley.
This season has finally been the season where Barkley has kicked on from being a youngster with potential to being a key member of his team. He has formed a formidable partnership with Romelu Lukaku in an Everton side that certainly hasn’t struggled going forward and possesses the ability to skip by players as well as unleashing a devastating finish from distance. The only other man to potentially filled this role could be Adam Lallana who has shown patches of form with Liverpool but as he is often forced to play wide he may struggle to dislodge Barkley from this position.
The only other man to potentially filled this role could be Adam Lallana who has shown patches of form with Liverpool but as he is often forced to play wide he may struggle to dislodge Barkley from this position.
Verdict: Ross Barkley
This is the position where we really see the big names left out. The two strikers selected can only be Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane. The two play for teams occupying first and second in the league respectively and are playing with astonishing confidence.
Harry Kane occupies the top spot in the goal scoring charts and recently surpassed 20 goals for the second consecutive season and has to be one of the first names on the sheet. The rise of Jamie Vardy has been truly meteoric, from non-league to second top scorer in the Premier league with 19 goals his form has surely earned him a shot at starting for England.
Like with Drinkwater and Alli, however, it is unlikely that Hodgson will start both or indeed either of the two due to players with more experience being trusted more. These are namely Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge. Two of England’s biggest names have been unable to produce form of years gone by, largely due to injury in the case of Sturridge. Despite this, one or both of these are more than likely set to start at the Euros, especially Rooney given that he is the captain after all.
Verdict: Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy
Overall Verdict: While this side may not possess names that will have the likes of Spain, France and Germany shaking in their boots it certainly contains a group of players currently playing at their very best.
Established names such as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and many more have failed to bring glory to England in the past and now may be the time to take a
gamble on players who have little to lose and it all to gain.
What would be your starting XI? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!