Can Hull City’s Tigers fit into new look Three Lions set-up?
Tigers and Lions never encounter one another in the wild due to their different geographical locations, but can the two come together as one in roaring harmony in footballing terms for England?
Hull City midfield maestro Tom Huddlestone believes so, and has made a plea to Roy Hodgson to pay more attention to talent at the KC Stadium, as the national side enters a new era.
“I don’t think Roy Hodgson’s been up here,” the 27-year-old said. “But there’s a few of us to watch.
“Curtis Davies and Jake Livermore had a great season, playing regularly and full of confidence, myself playing regularly and feeling confident in a good team – so there’s a few of us that are always hopeful.
“Jake has been in the squad before, I think Curtis has been in the squad but hasn’t managed to get on the pitch.
“So there are a few English lads at Hull who would be over the moon to get back in. Me? I will always remain hopeful. Obviously I have to have another good season for Hull.”
Coral writers therefore hunt through the Tigers’ squad for current and emerging English talent who could make future Three Lions squads.
There is no doubt that Huddlestone’s comments were also implied about himself wanting to be back in the England set-up, but with good reason. The four-capped Three Lions Tiger has been a revelation since signing for Hull for little more than £5m in 2013 from Spurs, helping his side to the FA Cup final as well as Premier League safety.
Another of last term’s success stories for the Tigers, also an acquisition from Spurs that season (although on loan), Livermore has a sole cap for England. He became Hull’s most expensive player briefly this summer and, with the international retirements of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, places are certainly up for grabs in midfield.
Club captain Davies has gradually moved further north throughout his football career, starting as a youth for Wimbledon, but his spell in Yorkshire with Hull has arguably brought the best out of him. The 29-year-old has been a stalwart in the Tigers’ back three and, if he can lead the pack to a top ten finish this term, an England call-up could be on the cards.
The Northallerton-born central defender has returned back to the county of his birth, Yorkshire, to try and revitalise his career. The 30-year-old was Spurs’ club captain up until being sold to Hull this summer and, like Huddlestone, has four England caps to his name. Not one for the future, but a reliable squad member if Hodgson’s backline is looking thin.
The son of former England, Manchester United and Liverpool midfield destroyer Paul is certainly an exciting prospect. Ince reportedly turned down the chance to play for the likes of Inter Milan and Monaco this summer, but has instead chosen to continue his development under his father’s former teammate Steve Bruce. Still just 22, a decent season for the tricky winger could result in a senior Lions call-up.
Maguire is another summer signing, and has joined from fellow Yorkshire side Sheffield United. He is a 21-year-old giant centre back, who has earned rave reviews in the lower leagues with his former side. Despite being at such a young age, the England Under-21 cap made over 150 appearances whilst at United, and certainly has the potential to wear the Three Lions senior jersey.