As the selection of England's Euro 2016 squad was announced on Monday, there were many questions raised over the selection of Fabian Delph and Jack Wilshere, with both having played very little football over the past season.
Wilshere only started one game at the end of the season, making it through 70 minutes for Arsenal against Aston Villa, whilst Delph was only able to make nine appearances in total all season for Manchester City.
Despite this, Roy Hodgson's decision may be one that is owed to a cliché saying of 'if it is not broke, don't fix it.'
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The diamond midfield formation was one that was seen so often throughout the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, arguably most successfully when Wilshere was deployed as the holding midfielder at the base of the diamond with Jordan Henderson and Delph either side.
The 3-2 result against Slovenia may suggest as much, with Wilshere able to grab a brace of sensational goals in the match. The system is so effective, as it provides attacking intent of the attacking midfielder and two strikers, but it also provides security of the defence with the three central midfielders.
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The match against Slovenia saw Raheem Sterling deployed as the striker alongside Wayne Rooney with Andros Townsend in behind. The flexibility of this system is evident through the qualities that Wilshere, Henderson and Delph all contain as players. Wilshere is often able to produce a creative spark or driving run from midfield, whilst Henderson can often perform defensive duties as a high-energy midfielder always willing to close down.
Henderson has been able to develop his play over recent years with more creative passing and therefore can be deployed in any of the three positions behind the attacking midfielder. Delph possesses much of the same as Henderson and Wilshere.
All three players possess the key attributes required for a diamond midfield to be successful as it can often lack width and therefore needs the midfielders to work tirelessly to ensure the defence can cope with attacks and the attacks are well supported to produce goals.
On season form alone, it may be beneficial for Hodgson to play the two Tottenham men, Eric Dier and Dele Alli. Both midfielders were intrinsic in an impressive Spurs season, with Alli picking up the PFA Young Player of the Year award and Dier missing out on the team of the season to N'Golo Kante of Leicester City.
However, the two young midfielders could be said to lack experience on the international stage, an issue which may lead Hodgson to stick with Henderson, Delph and Wilshere, who have not quite had the seasons that they might have wanted, and certainly do not match up to the seasons of the aforementioned Tottenham duo, who's familiarity with each other might also provide extra reasoning for both to start at the Euro's alongside each other in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
History though suggests that Hodgson will opt to stick with his tried and tested diamond midfield formation that has served him so well over the course of the qualifying campaign as it led to an undefeated England side, able to qualify top of their group.
The decision ahead of Roy Hodgson is whether he sticks with the system and players who were able to achieve that over the long run of the qualifying campaign, or whether he chooses to stick with the form players who were able to beat Germany in a friendly back in March.
What formation should Roy Hodgson deploy during Euro 2016? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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