Shearer Says: “I’m surprised Danny Drinkwater was left out. Once again we have gone for reputation rather than fitness and form”
Drinkwater can count himself unlucky to miss out on England place
Sadly for Fabian Delph the decision to leave him out of the final 23-man England squad for Euro 2016 was easy for Roy Hodgson because he was injured, but I am surprised that Danny Drinkwater has been left out.
Once again I think we have gone for reputation rather than fitness and form. It’s a big gamble from Roy to take two injury-prone players and another player who has been injured in Jordan Henderson.
Jack Wilshere has not shown anything in the two friendlies he has played recently, while Daniel Sturridge has been injured for the last couple of weeks. Drinkwater has had a magnificent season for Leicester, would have been full of confidence after their title win, and I do not think he deserves to be left out
Roy may not heave learned lessons from previous mistakes
I hope Roy does not live to regret it. I admire his loyalty but I also feel that Andros Townsend could have offered them something different to what they have gone with. He’s been the one shining light for Newcastle at the back end of the season, even though they were relegated. We have regretted taking players who weren’t fully fit before, so I thought we would have learnt from previous mistakes.
Rashford impossible to ignore after debut goal
The big positive from the win over Australia on Friday was Marcus Rashford’s performance; while on the other hand, the negative was Jack Wilshere, who sat in front of the back four. I don’t think that worked at all. They had too much of the ball in front of our back four, which was a worrying sign as we will face much better teams in France than Australia.
Rashford’s goal in the FA Cup final and then his goal against Australia forced Roy’s hand. He had to include him after those performances. There is no doubt that the youngster has benefited from the last few weeks.
I remember Michael Owen breaking onto the scene in 1998. Just like Owen did 18 years ago, he’ll bring a great amount of energy to the camp. It will be great experience for him. I don’t think he’ll start the first game but he might be able to come on and make an impact. What a meteoric rise it has been for him. Four months ago nobody had even heard of the kid. He’s now played in a FA Cup final, scored for England and is in the squad for a European Championship. It just goes to show, if you’re good enough, it does not matter about age.
Some people are comparing Rashford’s inclusion to that of Theo Walcott in 2006. I think it is different as Rashford is in form going into the tournament. The World Cup came a bit early for Walcott and he has struggled since then to live up to the pressure on his shoulders. I don’t know Rashford personally but I’ve seen plenty of players show promise at 18 and then fall by the wayside at 23, so let’s hope Rashford does not do that. He’s had a tremendous start to his career with Manchester United and England so good luck to him.
Plenty of strikers but defensive concerns remain
Roy has five strikers in his squad but I do still think he will start with just the one striker for that opening game against Russia and it looks like it will be Harry Kane, with Wayne Rooney playing in behind in the number 10 role. Roy will know his starting XI in his head now and only he knows who he will go with for that opener.
I still think England could get to the semi-finals of this tournament but my concern still is with the back four. I’ve seen nothing in the two games recently to suggest I shouldn’t be worried. I’m going to the game against Portugal on Thursday at Wembley and I am looking forward to that. Hopefully they can put on a good show before they depart for France, and head off on a winning note.
The one thing that does stand out to me about this England squad is that they seem to have a good team spirit. We had that in 1996 and 1998. You need that if you are going to be successful. It should stand them in good stead for the tournament.