Oh Danny boy! Why Welbeck, Rose and Drinkwater could crash the party at Euro 2016
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | February 18, 2016
Good things are said to come in threes. After all, it’s a magic number.
Something mystical or just old superstition? Wherever you sit on it, three English footballers called Danny should feel they can press their claims for inclusion on Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 roster.
Welbeck, Rose and Drinkwater might sound like a solicitors’ firm, but here at Coral we sue only for their achievements to be kept in England manager Hodgson’s thoughts when he chooses which troops to take across the Channel to France this summer.
Timely reminder from Welbeck
At the risk of being accused of getting carried away, Arsenal attacker Danny Welbeck has, for the record, played just seven minutes of first-team football all season at the time of writing.
In so short a space of time, he has nonetheless shaped the Premier League title race, which is at its most compelling for quite some time.
Welbeck, thrown into the fray for a grandstand finish by Arsene Wenger with the Gunners drawing 1-1 with Leicester City, nodded in the deftest of headed winners to break the hearts of many neutrals.
Couple this headline-grabbing return after almost a year out because of knee problems with the fact that he scored six goals in five Euro 2016 qualifying matches, and Welbeck can no longer be a forgotten man.
Is it so sensationalist to suggest a conservative coach like Hodgson will have remembered that huge contribution made by Welbeck during the first-half of the Three Lions’ campaign to reach the France finals, and could well pick him on previous form?
The odds support this assertion with Welbeck narrowly odds-on at 8/11 to make the Euros, though it should be noted fellow forwards Wayne Rooney (1/20), Raheem Sterling (1/8), Daniel Sturridge and Theo Walcott (both 1/4) among others are all shorter prices.
At present, there are no signs Welbeck’s comeback will result in him breaking down, as Liverpool counterpart Sturridge repeatedly has this season.
During the two other tournaments (Euro 2012 and 2014 World Cup) that Hodgson has been in charge of England for, he has selected Welbeck, with the player rewarding that faith by averaging just under an international goal every two caps.
His ability to link play and bring those around him into the game, while being more mobile than a classic centre forward target man type, are attributes of Welbeck’s which some of the other attacking options simply do not possess.
We can credit a wily veteran coach like Hodgson with sufficient sense not just to pick outside individuals, but those who understand the value of teamwork. Welbeck fits into this category, so don’t be surprised to see him at the European Championship.
Rose blossoming at Tottenham
Uncapped 25-year-old defender Danny Rose, 11/10 to be selected for the France finals, has figured in Hodgson’s plans during Euro 2016 qualification and now possesses over 100 Premier League outings, as well as experiencing four continental campaigns at White Hart Lane.
Although he’s been involved in just half of Spurs’ 26 top-flight games to date, the rotation of this attacking left back by Mauricio Pochettino will be beneficial come the Euros.
If Hodgson is worried about burnout, then there is no danger of that with Rose’s Wales counterpart Ben Davies also profiting from being rested. Both Tottenham left backs should have plenty in the tank come the France finals.
This particular berth has been something of a problem position for England in 2015/16. Leighton Baines has been first-choice and successor to Ashley Cole, but spent the first-half of the campaign injured, yet remains most likely at an odds-on price of 1/4 to make the cut.
Understudy Luke Shaw broke a leg during Manchester United’s Champions League group stage opener and, although he may be the future in this position, it would be a big risk taking him to the Euros.
There are other injury doubts elsewhere, and Hodgson cannot risk the Three Lions being carrying too many walking wounded at a major tournament. Bearing this in mind, it’s not surprising to see Shaw is a 6/1 shot to be at Euro 2016.
Kieran Gibbs, available at half those odds (3/1), of Arsenal is injury-prone, however, and cannot dislodge unsung Gunners hero Nacho Monreal in Arsene Wenger’s starting XI.
While Ryan Bertrand (4/6) has done fine deputising towards the end of qualifying, unlike Rose he is not playing in European competition after Southampton’s Europa League play-offs exit.
Consistent West Ham United performer Aaron Cresswell is a 16/1 outsider to make the England’s Euro 2016 squad, but Hodgson has been keeping an eye on Upton Park teammate Mark Noble, so a cap or two in the build-up cannot be entirely ruled out.
Should Spurs sustain their Premier League title challenge or at least secure a Champions League return, surely this will reflect well on Rose, as it does on Harry Kane (1/10), Eric Dier (1/2) and Dele Alli (1/5) – all more certain-looking fixtures in the Three Lions setup.
Drinkwater displays fine form for Foxes
Central midfield is an area where England could also be light, if Fabian Delph and Jack Wilshere cannot prove their fitness this spring, so Leicester’s engine room operator Danny Drinkwater looks an outside shout to force his way into the side.
A potential Three Lions centre trio of Alli, Dier and Drinkwater was on no pundits’ lips as recently as six months ago; thus yet again are we reminded what a curious thing football can be at times.
Reports in the national press add credence to the clamour coming from the East Midlands for Drinkwater to be called up. Hodgson has attended games and seen what the player can do for himself.
At 4/1 to make the England squad for the Euros, Drinkwater does have a number of more established names to get past.
In addition to the Tottenham two quoted above, the likes of James Milner (1/8), Ross Barkley (1/6), Jordan Henderson (2/7), Wilshere (1/2) and Delph (8/11) all holds odds-on prices to be in France this summer.
Add in veteran holding player Michael Carrick (5/4) and Jonjo Shelvey (5/2), who have both also featured under Hodgson, and all of a sudden Drinkwater seems something of an outsider.
Yet the Foxes are flying high and Drinkwater has played his part in that, not struggling for fitness, nor labouring in a lethargic-looking team, nor worse being embroiled in a relegation scrap.
If leading Leicester marksman Jamie Vardy is one unfashionable yet in-form option that Hodgson will likely take to Euro 2016 at 1/3, then why not his King Power Stadium compatriot?
Drinkwater’s most notable display to date was a goal and assist man of the match performance in a 3-0 Foxes home romp over Stoke City.
Playing against a Potters outfit who had nine of their starting XI possessing tournament experience of one sort of another, Drinkwater outshone the likes of Switzerland star Xherdan Shaqiri, once of Bayern Munich, and one-time Barcelona and Dutch attacker Ibrahim Afellay.
On his day, then, he can take it to those who have represented Europe’s elite. Claudio Ranieri is right; Drinkwater is ready for international football.
Read more about Euro 2016 at our extensive archives, which look both back on qualification and forward to the tournament finals.