Are intriguing additions of Ings and Alli to England squad so surprising?
Roy Hodgson regularly makes headlines whenever his latest England squads are announced and this roll-call was no exception, with recent inclusions of Liverpool striker Danny Ings and Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli causing somewhat of a stir.
Last time around it was Swansea City schemer Jonjo Shelvey’s call-up making waves in the Three Lions camp but, as the crafty conductor looked inspired against San Marino and still tidy versus Switzerland, it looked to be a shrewd decision packed full of potential.
Whereas former coaches in the Wembley dugout have been accused of pandering to the immediate rather than future at England’s expense, following the 2014 World Cup calamity, Hodgson (11/1 to steer England to the Euro 2016 trophy) has clearly had one eye on progress.
Though these recent recruits may not initially appear to have the France finals in their thinking, however, with the Euros mere months away, Hodgson’s picks make sense. So, to celebrate, Coral have come up with some cracking odds for customers to back Alli, Ings or Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish (4/1 to with the Three Lions squad in France), who recently announced international allegiance to England, to make the final cut for Euro 2016.
To make England's Euro 2016 squad: Danny Ings: 5/1 Dele Alli: 13/5 Jack Grealish: 4/1 pic.twitter.com/YIvkih5Tht
— Coral (@Coral) October 1, 2015
Having eased through a smooth Euro 2016 qualifying Group E, England have earned the right to experiment, and final fixtures against Estonia and Lithuania are an excellent opportunity to give fringe players and young-guns a taste of competitive outings.
Granted there is little at stake, but the chance to blood promising additions before three prestige friendlies featuring France, Germany (3/1 to win Euro 2016) and Spain is too good to miss.
Spurs’ impressive Alli is just 19 but a top prospect, as proven with former club MK Dons, before officially switching to Spurs in summer.
The adaptable midfielder has taken to the top tier with gusto so far, looking composed from deep as one of the London club’s best performers in an early thorny patch, in a position where England are lacking.
As Arsenal playmaker Jack Wilshere’s worrying injury woes continue and, with two of the Three Lions most familiar midfield faces in Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard having hung up their international boots, places in the middle of the park are up for grabs.
Ross Barkley and Shelvey have both made credible claims, but Alli, in his brief outings, has looked to no less exciting.
It is attacker Ings over who the real question marks hang, however. Though it is reasonable to assume the Reds striker would not be in the ranks, were it not for a dearth of forward options.
Bournemouth poacher Callum Wilson was widely tipped to be chosen for England, had it not been for an unfortunate injury, with recent call-up Charlie Austin still awaiting a first cap having been similarly sidelined.
This chance has proven timely for Ings, then, especially since the arguably superior Saido Berahino has only recently returned to regular playing time after blotting his copybook at The Hawthorns.
The internationally ignored West Bromwich Albion sharpshooter has similar striking stats to his called-up counterpart with two goals in five league appearances with, in fact, one less outing than Liverpool’s Ings.
With both predators reaching double figures last season in struggling sides and having equally outgrown the England Under-21 set-up, it appears Hodgson perceived preference for Ings could be down to mentality rather more than marksmanship.
Though former Burnley and Bournemouth forward Ings has not been drafted in without merit. A hard-grafting goal-seeker, Ings has shown he has the work-rate to track back for Brendan Rodgers, which will no doubt have gone down well behind the scenes at Wembley.
Liverpool have also looked much more fluid with Ings in the starting XI rather than expensive Christian Benteke and, with rivals for a squad striker spot Austin and Wilson injured, plus concerns over recently returned clubmate Daniel Sturridge and Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck, integrating reliable Ings can do no harm.