Roy Hodgson’s decision to leave Danny Drinkwater out of his squad for Euro 2016 was met with much derision.
Jack Wilshere, who played only 146 minutes in the Premier League this season, was included at the expense of a title winner who made the most tackles in the league.
Fans reacted hysterically on social media. Hodgson was branded an idiot by some, brainless by others. We can only wait to see whether his decision to exclude Drinkwater is justified but the general consensus is negative.
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The 26-year-old played the entire 90 minutes of England’s 2-1 friendly win over Australia on Friday and Hodgson’s decision to cut him from his provisional squad is rather surprising.
But those who might have expected a bitter response from the defensive midfielder got the complete opposite. Drinkwater’s reaction on Instagram was immensely dignified and will do his chances of making future England appearances no harm.
Along with a picture of himself at a recent England training session, Drinkwater wrote: “Disappointed not to make the final 23! Would of been a fantastic experience to go to the euros as a player... But I'll be supporting the country like I always have! The seasons been a huge positive for me.. Going into next season as a premier league champion! Good luck to the lads... Bring it home #england."
Drinkwater's Instagram post
Drinkwater was dropped along with Andros Townsend and Fabian Delph. Hodgson will no doubt have to explain his decision at some point but the England manager clearly sees Wilshere as more of a difference-maker.
It’s not for lack of talent that the Arsenal man’s inclusion has raised eyebrows, but more a concern that he will stay healthy throughout the tournament. Wilshere’s track record is terrible and it will surprise nobody if he is forced to limp off during one of England’s games after lunging into a challenge.
How pivotal that brace in England’s 3-2 win over Slovakia last June has turned out to be, though. The 24-year-old scored two spectacular goals in his last competitive game for England.
That’s the only real talking point in the England squad. There were fears for Daniel Sturridge’s place but Hodgson has decided to take five strikers, including Drinkwater’s Leicester teammate Jamie Vardy and Manchester United’s breakout star Marcus Rashford.
After winning every one of their 10 qualifying games and seeing a number of impressive performances from emerging stars such as Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Rashford and Harry Kane, there’s reason for England fans, including Drinkwater, to be optimistic.