Roy Hodgson’s wounded lions – Will England compete at the Euros?
England fans are used to the same old pre-tournament concerns. Nervousness when key players seem to turn into glass dolls and shatter on the eve of major tournament’s. Hodgson’s men have a real opportunity to challenge the big guns this summer in the European Championships. Injury concerns is always a troubling trend especially amongst English players, as the gruesome club season comes to its conclusion. Currently; Rooney, Shaw, Oxlade-Chamberlian, Delph, Wilshere, Austin, and Young are all sidelined with long-term injuries. At least four of those are almost nailed on to probably make the squad. But can Hodgson take the risk on players who have not featured for their club sides in months? Many will argue that you can or cannot.
Rooney and Wilshere would ideally be in England’s starting 11 come the first match against the Russians in Marseille. Wayne Rooney, without any relapses will defiantly lead the three lions out. Nonetheless, will the Manchester United forward be at his free-flowing best? The united skipper’s injury could not have come at a worse time. Goals and performances alike have again silenced critics whether England’s go-to-man still has the sparkle of quality he once had. If fit, Rooney will go, and will defiantly start.
As for the Arsenal pair off Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlian. Both are highly rated by Hodgson, but constant injury set-back’s is a massive problem for club and country. Yet, the pair are supremely talented, offering a different dimension when called upon. For all of Wilshere’s injuries, Hodgson will be desperate to take him. Recent performances for England have proved that he can cut it within international football, however he still has much to prove. Oxlade-Chamberlain will likely to be picked as a squad member, as his power and pace could be useful as a late substitute.
Potential squad members Delph, Austin and Young all would state a claim if fit to challenge for a place. Mainly, Manchester City’s Delph after a promising start to life as a international footballer he’s gained Hodgson’s trust. A poorly timed calf injury ruled Delph out until April, just as it seemed he was finding this bearings at the Etihad Stadium. Sadly, for Austin a summer transfer to the Premier League never came, plus injury woe’s, along with fierce competition in the striking region. Unfortunately, Austin will not be going. As for Young, a lively start to the season gave the former Aston Villa player hope of a recall. But, a rise in the standard of English wingers and more injury heartache condemns Young to near-enough international extinction.
Finally, poor-old Luke Shaw the horrific leg break sustained against PSV in Manchester United’s woeful Champions League run has more-or-less ruled him out. June might ultimately be too soon for Shaw. However there’s no doubt the former Southampton man will feature in many more major tournaments.
As the Premier League enters its final stages Hodgson’s mind will unquestionably be fixated on France, who and who not to take with him. Injuries in the past has caused a multitude of dramas. Most notably, David Beckham’s metatarsal brake in 2002 and the carbon-copy incident involving Rooney back in 2006. For a successful tournament, Hodgson must have all his quality, dynamic players available and raring to perform on the european stage. With this, and only this, can the three lions mount a serious challenge for silverware this summer.