Hodgson names Euros squad

Roy Hodgson has named his provisional 26 man squad for Euro 2016, with the inclusion of Marcus Rashford proving the biggest talking point. Jack Wilshere has also made the squad after making just one Premier League start this season.

rashford

Rashford was supposed to be on Under 21 duty this summer. Image: Manchester Evening News.

Rashford has scored 7 goals in 16 since breaking in to the Manchester United first team, but his inclusion has surprised many due to his lack of experience. Fabian Delph is another surprise call up, alongside Newcastle’s Andros Townsend.

Leicester have two representatives in the squad, Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater, whilst there are five players from both Spurs and Liverpool.

Theo Walcott is perhaps the biggest name to miss out, with Hodgson citing lack of first team football for his omission, whilst Jermain Defoe also misses out despite his 15 league goals for Sunderland. West Ham’s Mark Noble and Aaron Cresswell have also missed out after good seasons.

The final 23 man squad has to be named by 31st May, meaning that 3 players will face an agonising cut.

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England ease to Euros spot

England have booked their place at Euro 2016 thanks to a comfortable 6-0 win against San Marino. Wayne Rooney joined Bobby Charlton on 49 England goals, whilst there was also a brace from Theo Walcott as well as goals from Ross Barkley and Harry Kane. This will be a relief for Roy Hodgson, as this squad in particular has been described by many as England’s worst ever. Despite this, England have qualified with three games remaining, a feat that no England team has previously achieved.

Rooney's goal leaves him on an identical record with Bobby Charlton, 106 caps, 49 goals

Rooney’s goal leaves him on an identical record with Bobby Charlton (106 caps, 49 goals)

England started brightly, with Jonjo Shelvey demanding plenty of the ball and dictating play. Only eleven minutes had been played when they broke through, albeit in controversial circumstances. San Marino players were left bewildered after the referee awarded England a penalty, despite John Stones handling from the free kick. However, both Stones and Phil Jagielka appeared to have been held back, so the hosts could have no complaints. Captain Wayne Rooney stepped up, and sent the keeper the wrong way to become England’s joint top goal-scorer.

England went two up through an own goal, as Luke Shaw delivered an inviting cross, which Brolli could only glance past his own keeper. San Marino’s keeper Simoncini managed to keep the score at 2-0 going in to the break, first denying Rooney his second, and then producing a fantastic save just before half time, diverting the ball over when Oxlade-Chamberlain looked certain to score from six yards.

It didn’t take long after the break for England to extend their lead, just fourteen seconds in fact. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain reached the byline before delivering a cross straight to an unmarked Ross Barkley, who headed home his first England goal from six yards. It would not be a record breaking evening though, as Rooney was brought off with half an hour remaing. After the game, Hodgson confirmed that it was just a precaution given the state of the pitch, but the striker would have been confident of adding to his early strike.

Harry Kane produced a magnificent chip to open his account this season

Harry Kane produced a magnificent chip to open his account this season

The game was well and truly sealed as England added three more goals in just over ten minutes. Theo Walcott, less than a minute after coming on, met a driven cross from Fabian Delph to convert at the far post. Harry Kane produced a delicious finish to open his account for the season, breaking the offside trap to latch on to Shelvey’s ball through and chip over the onrushing keeper. Walcott added his second a minute later, placing in to the bottom corner after a being set through by Ross Barkley.

Walcott should have completed his hat-trick with ten minutes left, shooting wide after latching on to a gallivanting John Stones’ pass. Harry Kane could also have added to the scoreline, but he struggled to control the bouncing ball as he tried to round the keeper, who dealt with the danger well. Joe Hart was forced in to a late save, as Della Valle cut in on to his left foot but curled it straight to the England stopper.

Although it’s hard to gauge a performance against San Marino, there were some shining lights. Jonjo Shelvey continued his club form, proving a competent replacement for Jack Wilshere, whilst Ross Barkley also showed glimpses of quality through the middle. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked a lot stronger when he stuck to the wing, whilst Luke Shaw’s performance will do his push to be first choice at left back no harm. However Jamie Vardy did not look England quality. Although a willing runner, he was never heavily involved, with his only real involvement being two clashes of heads with Brolli.d

Player Ratings:

Hart 6; Clyne 7, Stones 6, Jagielka 6, Shaw 8; Shelvey 8, Milner 7 (Delph, 58, 7), Barkley 8; Oxlade-Chamberlain 8 (Walcott, 67, 8), Vardy 6, Rooney 7 (Kane, 58, 7)

Welbeck brace boosts England

England kicked off their Euro 2016 campaign with an encouraging 2-0 win away to Switzerland. Danny Welbeck netted a brace as Roy Hodgson’s men put in a much improved performance against a Switzerland side who are likely to be their main challengers for top spot in the group.

England fans could have expected a more counter-attacking mentality, with the pacey Raheem Sterling and Danny Welbeck starting up front. However the visitors controlled most off the first half as it was the Swiss that sat back. Danny Welbeck ran clear down the right, but he couldn’t pick out either Sterling or Rooney who were waiting in the box. New captain Wayne Rooney forced a save from the Swiss keeper, as his whipped shot from the corner of the box was spooned unconvincingly wide by Sommer. But the keeper made up for it as he superbly kept Phil Jones’ low header out from the resulting corner. Despite not having many goalscoring opportunities, Switzerland had the best chance to take the lead as Haris Seferovic was left 1-on-1 with Joe Hart, but the City stopper made the save with his legs.

Switzerland came more in to the game in the second half, with right back Stephan Lichtsteiner shooting over and a Seferovic volley being well saved by Hart. But as the hosts looked in the ascendancy England hit them on the break. Wayne Rooney picked the ball up on the halfway line and drove forward before slipping in Raheem Sterling down the left. Sterling squared the ball across the six yard box for Danny Welbeck who shinned the ball into the empty net.

The hosts almost levelled immediately, as Leverkusen striker Josip Drmic was fed through and rounded Hart, but Gary Cahill slid the ball off the line. Although replays showed Drmic was just offside, it stood as a reminder to the England defence about the strength of the Swiss attack. Switzerland continued to attack, but were unable to create anything other than long-range efforts. Gokhan Inler shot over after finding space, clipping the top of the net, and Rodriguez’s shot deflected straight up to Joe Hart. England confirmed their victory in stoppage time, as Sterling played the ball up to Lambert, who slipped in Welbeck through the middle to power past the keeper.

It was an assured performance at both ends from a relatively inexperienced England team against a team ranked 11 places above them in the FIFA rankings, offering a lot more cause for optimism than last week’s friendly against Norway.