Capping unproven players is damaging England's chances of success

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There seems to be a consistent trend unfolding with the England national team, whereby if someone has a couple of good games for their respective club, they're handed a first international appearance.

Such a theme has been apparent for quite some time now - but just how much is such generosity damaging England's chance of success at major tournaments?

It's probably fair to say that the Three Lions endure their fair share of troubles prior to each and every tournament, whether it be off-field drama, injuries, poor form or controversy with the media, but let's play the devil's advocate for a moment here.


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England have an astonishing 349 one-cap wonders on their books. Excluding those that nor you or I can remember, the likes of Francis Jeffers, Michael Ricketts, Frazer Campbell and Jay Bothroyd have all been handed their international debuts.

Take nothing away from some of these players, though, whose form once suggested they were perhaps fit to make the step up, but is a decent run of games or potential really enough to warrant a call up? Not really.

Today, we have the likes Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jamie Vardy and John Stones, all of whom brimming with potential and fully deserving of their call ups. Conversly, though, you have Steven Caulker, Jesse Lingard and Matt Jarvis, who perhaps hadn't justified their inclusions.

The problem is that, coincidental or not, a worrying trend is forming whereby players receive their England call up far too easily and fall into obscurity.

Don't believe me? Just ask Martin Kelly, Frazer Campbell, Andros Townsend, Calum Chambers, Jon Flanagan, Wilfred Zaha, Danny Ings, Jake Livermore and Jay Rodriguez. It wouldn't be entirely fair to say an England call up has jinxed the above, but the trend cannot be ignored.

The sheer hype surrounding players upon their call ups is evidently having an effect, to the point where it must be questioned whether more must be done or shown before a cap can be awarded.

As a result, Roy Hodgson must be smart when preparing and picking his 25-man squad for Euro 2016. Friendlies in the build up to major tournaments are supposed to test different squads, formations and tactics, yet for England, such experiments have often resulted in their demise.

The solution is quite simple for Hodgson: pick a squad early and stick with it. 

If England are to see success this summer, it's vital Hodgson ditches his ethos of capping every hot prospect and familiarises himself with the idea of a strong and proven 25-man squad.

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