We’re in the final stretch of the Premier League season and with Euro 2016 just around the corner, Roy Hodgson probably has an idea of which players to pick for the England national team. The tournament in France could be a make-or-break deal for Hodgson after a disappointing performance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
England failed to get out of the group stages and managed to get only a single point after a draw with Costa Rica in the final game – one that was inconsequential to the Three Lions as they had already lost to Italy and Uruguay.
They will be looking to right the wrongs in this edition of Euro, especially with a younger team after the international retirement of players from the so-called ‘Golden Generation’. The squad looks in good shape after having qualified with a perfect 100% record in the qualifiers – the only team to do so – and will fancy their chances of reaching the knockout stages after being drawn with Russia, Slovakia and neighbours Wales.
So who does Hodgson pick? He has already stated that Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will be captaining the team after he scored 7 goals in the qualifying campaign. But Rooney’s knee injury sustained last month has thrown a spanner in the works with regard to his preparation for the tournament.
The 30-year-old has been seen wearing a brace on his leg and United boss Louis van Gaal had also confirmed that he would most likely return only in April, ruling him out of England’s matches in the international break.
EA SPORTS Player Performance Index decided to pick a team based only on Premier League statistics this season and a number of England regulars are missing from the list, replaced by some surprising names. Some of them do come as a bit of a shock.
While Joe Hart has been England’s number one for quite a while now, there is no denying Jack Butland a spot in the squad. The Stoke City goalkeeper has been the best English keeper in the Premier League, competing with Arsenal’s Petr Cech for the Goalkeeper of the Season award.
The 22-year-old has played all 29 matches so far and has 10 clean sheets. He has also made 97 saves in the process, conceding a goal once every 76 minutes only. He has been crucial to 8th-placed Potters’ chances in the League and could help them finish in their highest position ever by season end.
Bournemouth sees two defenders in the back four. Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis make the squad. Francis himself has won an incredible 72 tackles while also making 169 clearances and 67 interceptions. Daniels has also done well at the other end of the pitch, scoring 3 goals this season.
But no defender has scored more crucial goals than Crystal Palace’s Scott Dann. His five goals have either helped the Eagles win a point or, in some cases, all three. The fourth defender to make the list is West Bromwich Albion’s Craig Dawson who has made 71 interceptions.
Big names who failed to make the list include Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, John Stones and Nathaniel Clyne.