Drinkwater’s Euro 2016 hopes hang in other options’ injury balance
Robbie Purves | May 16, 2016
Fresh off Leicester City’s historic Premier league winning campaign, midfielder Danny Drinkwater has been included in Roy Hodgson’s 26-man provisional Euro 2016 squad.
However, Drinkwater may face tough competition to keep his berth because of call-ups for Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and Fabian Delph, ahead of the Three Lions roster being cut to 23.
The Foxes finished 10 points ahead of closest challenges Arsenal, and engine room operator Drinkwater proved a vital component of Claudio Ranieri’s league-conquering battalion.
Drinkwater, who made his England debut against the Netherlands in March, will hope to get the nod from Hodgson; however, in international terms recently returned Gunners midfielder Wilshere and Liverpool box-to-box player Henderson are more established.
Eric Dier looks locked into England’s plans and is a threat to Drinkwater’s squad place. The Tottenham anchorman possesses the sort of versatility that comes in handy for a nation that often experiences shattering injuries and suspensions. Dier impressed duringthe triumph over Germany in March, shielding the back four superbly.
Injury-prone duo key to sealing squad selection
A glimmer of hope is offered to Drinkwater by the fact he has remained fit all season, while Henderson and Wilshere have endured a torrid time with injuries.
Wilshere made his only league start this season on the final day of this term – his first for club Arsenal since in 12 months – and seems totally vulnerable to injury in any sort of collision or challenge, which is a side of the game he has found difficult to resist.
Used to great effect on international duty by Hodgson as a deep-lying playmaker, Wilshere could easily get hurt in training or the upcoming international friendlies.
Should he stay fit, though, then Wilshere is likely to be picked and perhaps at the expense of Drinkwater. This explains a 5/1 price on Wilshere missing the Euro 2016 finals by being cut from the England squad.
Henderson looked set to be out for the rest of the season after he damaged knee ligaments, but is now back in contention for a full squad selection after recovering.
The Reds skipper was ruled out for six to eight weeks, but has got back ahead of schedule and hopes to be part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad to face Sevilla in the Europa League Final.
However, Henderson has endured a torrid campaign this year and the energetic, hardworking midfielder is also 5/1 to not make the full selection.
Henderson has managed just 16 Premier League appearances this term, but Hodgson has shown faith in the former Sunderland man by including him in his provisional squad and throughout Euro 2016 qualifying.
A surprising inclusion was the presence of Delph. Making just eight Premier League starts, the former Aston Villa captain has been a bit-part player for Manchester City this term and is firmly odds-on at 1/4 to lose his squad place.
Drinkwater relying on other players’ injuries and being cut is perhaps rather shocking. A linchpin on which the league winners operated, he may be knocked out of the selection by other coming off the back of injury-hit or disappointing campaigns.
Playing almost every game of his Leicester’s title triumph, Drinkwater should be an obvious choice. If Hodgson gives him the nod, he will hope to bring his winning mentality into the England fold that has been bereft of success since 1966.
Townsend to pip Rashford?
Andros Townsend has been championed by England boss Hodgson, but has completed just one 90 minutes in his 10 national caps, mainly providing cameos from the bench. Despite this, the Newcastle United winger has scored three his senior international career and enjoyed a good end to the season, albeit with his side getting relegated. Townsend is 2/1 to lose his place.
Marcus Rashford was a selection that set social media alight. The 18-year-old was given his Manchester United first-team debut amid an injury crisis in late February. He scored twice that evening, against Midtjylland and has now gone on to score seven in 16 games.
Despite being the overwhelming odds-on 1/8 favourite to lose his squad place, Rashford has shown he can perform at the highest level, in high pressure situations and shouldn’t be overlooked by Hodgson.
On Rashford’s chances of making the final selection, Hodgson said: “There’s no reason why he can’t knock someone off their perch, but it will be harder than some people might expect.”
Townsend is the more likely of the two to seal a full squad place, and could provide England with much needed width. Only Raheem Sterling can be put in the category of ‘winger’ and may prove a crucial weapon stretching the Russia’s elderly Euro 2016 team, in the opening fixture.