The English outsiders who might have played themselves into Euro contention

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As the European Championships edge closer, the places up for grabs in England's squad for the European Championships come under ever-growing scrutiny. With a squad looking like it will the be the most inexperienced for a generation, we take a closer look at the outsiders who might be worth a shout.

Mark Noble

Mr consistent in a very impressive West Ham side, Noble has led the team on the pitch. Approaching their first major tournament without the old guard of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, England could well do with a vocal presence in the middle of the pitch.

Regularly chipping in with goals - four in his last two appearances - and assists, Noble always looks to get the ball forward and is a neat and tidy passer of the ball. There could be a spot in the starting 11 for him given the injury to Jordan Henderson and the lack of football Jack Wilshere has played. Could be well worth a punt.


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Andy Carroll

The forgotten man of English football, Carroll has been unlucky with injuries since he swapped Anfield for Upton Park.

Big Andrew is currently enjoying his best goal-scoring season since he persuaded Kenny Dalglish to pay £35 million for his services, with nine league goals to his name.

Carroll would certainly offer a plan B for England, should they be chasing a game late on. Has the added bonus of previous experience in these championships, scoring against Sweden in a 3-2 England win. His movement in the box, teamed with his unparalleled heading ability certainly makes him an interesting option.

Troy Deeney

Whilst it may have been Jamie Vardy who has grabbed all the headlines this season, Deeney has made an equally incredible rise to the top flight. Sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment in 2012, Watford stuck by Deeney and he resumed training with the Hornets after his release.

At 27, his introduction to Premier League football came later on than most, but he hit the ground running. Two goals at the weekend against Aston Villa took his tally to 11 for the season.

What's more impressive, is that he's reached that target playing in a team who do not create many chances. Where Vardy has the luxury of Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater setting up chances aplenty, Deeney's industrious style of play means he has relied on old-fashioned centre-forward play, bullying defenders and combining his physicality with lethal finishing.

Would probably rely on injuries to a few of England's current striking options to merit an inclusion in the Euro squad.

Andros Townsend

Has the rare distinction of playing better for his country than he does domestically. Though some may see him as a fairly one-dimensional player, Townsend would offer genuine width and pace to an England side lacking in wide options.

He showed enough to convince Newcastle to pay £12 million for him in January and since joining the Magpies Townsend has put in a string of impressive performances, including a smartly taken free kick this weekend to take all three points in a must-win game against Crystal Palace.

Playing regularly has done Townsend the world of good, and should he save Newcastle from relegation, could well be in with a shout of going to France.

Jermain Defoe

An elder statesman of the Premier League, Jermain Defoe was scoring goals when Marcus Rashford was still in nappies. You'd be forgiven for thinking Defoe's Premier League career was over when he swapped Tottenham for Toronto in 2014. However, just 12 months after being persuaded to head to Canada by chart topper Drake, Defoe was brought back to England by Dick Advocaat and hasn't looked back.

He's been clinical all season, scoring 17 goals in all competitions in a Sunderland side battling relegation. Defoe showed just how composed he is as he slotted home a 93rd-minute penalty to rescue a valuable point against Stoke on Saturday.

At 33, the Euros could be the swansong that Defoe's career deserves.

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Troy Deeney
England Football
Jermain Defoe
Premier League
Mark Noble
Andros Townsend
Andrew Carroll

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