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5 players who can force their way into England’s Euro 2016 squad

12 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
5 players who can force their way into England’s Euro 2016 squad

The qualifier in Lithuania might be Roy Hodgson's side's final competitive fixture before next summer’s tournament, but it is not too late to impress

Dele Alli

It is predictable that awarding a first England cap to a player who has made just four Premier League starts has been queried.

The selection of Dele Alli for the qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania, however, was valid.

England do not have a myriad of outstanding midfielders, while the current first-choice trio of Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere and Fabian Delph are all absent with injury.

The 6ft 2in Alli, meanwhile, has every attribute to be superb.

He is athletic, tenacious in the tackle and composed in front of goal.

It is inevitable that the 19-year-old, who is already close to making 100 club appearances, will become an England regular.

The only uncertainty is whether it will be by next season’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers or before.

Ruben Loftus-CheekRLCRuben Loftus-Cheek has only played seven first-team games but, like Alli, is an England player in waiting.

The 6ft 3in deep-lying playmaker possesses a grace and intelligence that is not necessarily synonymous with young English players.

And even though the 19-year-old has only started once for Chelsea this season – producing a man of the match against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League – he will be, according to manager Jose Mourinho, in the team against Aston Villa on Saturday.

The fitness of Wilshere cannot be relied upon, while Delph has already suffered two hamstring injuries at Manchester City.

There is, therefore, the potential requirement for another dynamic and powerful midfielder – two qualities Loftus-Cheek also boasts.

If he establishes himself at the Premier League champions – especially if the club’s form improves – then a call-up to the senior team is the natural progression.

Eric DierDierIt is needlessly stubborn of Roy Hodgson if he decided against selecting Eric Dier for these two qualifiers because of the player’s decision to opt out of the Under-21 squad last season.

Dier’s excellent form for Tottenham this campaign certainly merits senior recognition.

A defender being deployed in midfield is often an uncomfortable transition – just ask Phil Jones – but the 21-year-old’s spatial awareness and intelligence has enabled him to do so adeptly for his club.

And while his goal in the 4-1 win against Manchester City was excellent, it was his overall display of authority and maturity against world-class opposition that demonstrated his long-term suitability for the role.

Michael Carrick is the only defensive-minded midfielder in the squad, but his ability to remain fit – and commitment to the national team – is questionable.

Providing Dier continues his fine form, it would be remiss of the England manager to not give him an opportunity before naming his final 23.

Jamie VardyVardyWhen Jamie Vardy was introduced for the final 15 minutes of the dour 0-0 friendly against the Republic of Ireland in May, it felt like a gesture of goodwill in recognition of his impressive ascent from semi-professional star to solid Premier League player.

Had he joined David Nugent, Francis Jeffers and Michael Ricketts as one-cap wonders – elite company indeed – it would not have been especially surprising.

And despite Vardy following that cameo with an enterprising start against San Marino and selfless assist against Estonia, his place in the squad is still very much precarious.

That is because all of his appearances have been in the absence of Danny Welbeck, a favourite of Hodgson on the left of England’s 4-4-3 and one of England’s most reliable performers.

The Leicester City striker’s seven top-flight goals this season is already more than Welbeck scored in the previous campaign, though, while a stellar performance in Lithuania on Monday will further improve his chances.

Vardy needs it. Turning 29 in January, next summer’s tournament in France is realistically going to be his only opportunity to play at a major championships.

Jack GrealishGrealishThere was something admirable about how Hodgson refused to publicly woo Jack Grealish when the player was deciding which international team to represent.

Even after the Aston Villa midfielder chose England, only an offer of training with the seniors for this meet up – suggested by FA technical director Dan Ashworth – was offered, as opposed to an actual call-up.

Privately, though, the manager will be delighted with the choice, especially if his services are retained beyond the Euros.

The 20-year-old is immensely gifted, as indicated by his caressed finish against Leicester last month – his first Aston Villa goal – and the responsibility and courage he displayed during Aston Villa’s run to the FA Cup final last season.

Having been injured over the summer, Grealish’s first priority, of course, should be returning to the Villa first-team.

And while England have a slew of talented attacking midfielders, there is always room for a playmaker who is talented enough to pull off having slicked-back, coiffed hair and wear child-sized shin pads.

Lithuania v England

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