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Roy Hodgson has been forced to make some bold decisions ahead of Euro 2016.

Roy Hodgson edges tentatively towards a new era for England

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Roy Hodgson prides himself on not being afraid to make big decisions for England.

The Three Lions boss could not avoid raising a few eyebrows when he announced his squad for Euro 2016 on Monday morning. He was never going to keep everyone happy, but with England fans holding just a modicum of renewed optimism about this summer's tournament, the pressure was on for him to deliver.

Not all managers would get a second chance after the disappointment of the World Cup in 2014, but Hodgson has promised to change tact this time around.

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As expected, his latest squad is full of talented youngsters. Dele Alli, John Stones, and even Marcus Rashford all made the cut. 

For experience, there are Wayne Rooney, Gary Cahill, Joe Hart, James Milner, among others. 

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England fans have a lot to be excited about. Two of the Premier League's three top scorers this season were English, and both Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy will be on the plane. 

It is safe to say, however, that Hodgson has still left himself open to criticism. Of course, he has had to inject some experience into his squad, and elsewhere he has had to replace seasoned internationals with chancers. 

The big decisions 

Several of Hodgson's decisions are up for scrutiny, and he must be praying they perform in France. He has clearly attempted to usher in a new era, but the truth is that he has been tentative in bringing about the changes they need to have any hope of making it to the later stages.  

For every exciting prospect that makes the squad tantalising, there is another element that made his announcement distinctly underwhelming. 

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Jordan Henderson has retained his place despite having featured for Liverpool just 16 times since August.

Fabian Delph was another frankly bizarre inclusion. He has not made much of an impact at Manchester City this season, scoring just twice and creating no assists. At 26, he is not even especially young, which raises the question of why Hodgson has suddenly decided to re-involve him at international level. 

On one of the biggest challenges facing the England boss, it is difficult to tell what kind of a decision he has made. Wayne Rooney was always going to be included in the squad, as England captain and record goalscorer, but Hodgson insists he is under "no pressure" to start the Manchester United man. 

Based on merit? 

If he does start, Rooney must surely be played behind the strikers. If Rashford makes the final cut, he will be lucky to get much game time at all with Kane, Vardy and Daniel Sturridge for competition. 

But both United players have taken up a place in the squad that could have been occupied by Jermain Defoe, who has scored 19 goals for his country. He has also scored more than any other English striker other than Kane and Vardy this season, and played a pivotal role in saving Sunderland from the drop.

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League

He would have been the perfect choice in terms of an experienced head who would not demand a start, but could make an impact from the bench. 

Likewise, there is no place for the versatile Phil Jagielka, but John Stones, whose form dipped beyond recognition this season after Chelsea's bids, has been selected. Raheem Sterling, likewise, has walked into the squad despite disappearing since Christmas. 

Hodgson may have had a pre-conceived idea of who he wanted, and in places, that looks to have triumphed over common sense. He has said Jack Wilshere would be selected if fit, and has stayed true to his word. To sum up Wilshere's season, the Arsenal midfielder has been on the pitch for 142 minutes this season. 

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League

No place for Walcott

Andros Townsend is another favourite of Hodgson's, and he did impress in his first spell for the national side. He has been dubbed a 'shock' inclusion, but he should not be, as England need pace out wide, and he was mesmerising once again on the final day of the season against Tottenham. That means Theo Walcott is nowhere to be seen. His last year with Arsenal has been thoroughly disappointing, and the 27-year-old, who has never actually started a game at a major tournament for England, took to Twitter to express his disappointment: 

Elsewhere in the midfield, Danny Drinkwater earns a well-deserved call-up. Yet, whatever is said about West Ham's relationship with England making it easier for their players to earn caps, Mark Noble has somehow been overlooked again, as has Michail Antonio. 

Eric Dier, on the other hand, is an excellent choice, because he can also cover at centre-back and right-back. In defence, picking Cahill was also a wise choice even if he has under-performed for Chelsea, as few at the back have much experience in an England jersey. 

Ultimately, Hodgson's squad should be judged at the end of the tournament, as much will depend on who he starts. Much of his 'experimenting' is unlikely to amount to anything; Burnley's Tom Heaton will no doubt gain some valuable experience in France, but there is virtually no chance of him playing. All the same, he is a pawn in Hodgson's well-publicised policy of 'chance-giving'. 

With three players to be cut, he will tell his players who has made the final 23 after the friendly against Australia on May 22.

Atletico Madrid v Fulham - UEFA Europa League Final

Full squad: 

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Tom Heaton (Burnley).

Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Everton), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Andros Townsend (Newcastle United), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

Strikers: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Who should Roy Hodgson have picked? Have your say in the comments. 

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
England Football
Football
Daniel Sturridge
World Cup

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