England's team of the decade
- We're close to the end of the 2010's, so who makes England's team of the decade?
Central Midfield: Steven Gerrard
Since the beginning of the 2010’s England have struggled to find the correct blend in the central midfield areas, despite being able to call upon some truly fantastic players. So for this team, picking three worthy players is tricky. But as a deeper-lying midfielder – although not a true holding man - Steven Gerrard performed excellently in Euro 2012 and in the 2014 World Cup, despite the bitter ending to both campaigns for England.
The Liverpool legend could always be relied upon for an accurate ball into the box – as we saw when he assisted for goals for Joleon Lescott and Andy Carroll at Euro 2012 – and his experience often helped England through some tricky times, notably in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
Gerrard was always a formidable leader, too – taking the captaincy after the removal of John Terry in 2012 – and his goal against Poland in a 2013 World Cup qualifying game remains one of the most memorable at the new Wembley.
Central Midfield: Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson is a tricky player to put your finger on; too often it’s probably fair to say that it’s hard to see what he actually adds to the cause, particularly with England. But even his doubters – myself included – can probably accept that he had a tremendous World Cup in 2018.
Henderson acted as both a holding man and a deep-lying playmaker during the tournament, and in England’s wins over Sweden and Panama in particular, the Liverpool man’s passing at the base of the Three Lions’ midfield essentially made the whole side tick.
Question marks many hang over his England future given his limitations and his age (29), but for his performances in the 2018 World Cup – and his solid showing in 2014’s tournament – ‘Hendo’ is worth a place in this side.
Attacking Midfield: Wayne Rooney
This might be a controversial call, but none of England’s attacking midfielders have truly excelled in the last decade; Frank Lampard did, but his international prime came largely before the 2010s. So I’ve gone for a man who did excel for the Three Lions – albeit largely in a different position – in Wayne Rooney.
England’s record scorer – he plundered 28 of his 53 international goals in the 2010’s – tended to play as a forward for his country, but during Euro 2016, Rooney’s switch to a playmaker-type position was one of the few highs for England during their time in France.
The then-Manchester United man was fantastic in games against Russia and Wales, pulling the strings as England largely dominated proceedings. Better players may develop in this kind of position in the future, but I’d argue the Rooney we saw dictating play in 2016 deserves a spot above the likes of Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli.Published 20 Nov 2019, 16:41 IST