Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Jamie Redknapp:- England strikers are as good as anyone's at Euro 2016...

Roy Hodgson named his final 23-man squad in what is the youngest ever England collection of players to head to the European Championship.
Teenager Marcus Rashford was a bold selection while Daniel Sturridge completes a group of five strikers despite fitness concerns - leaving Danny Drinkwater, Andros Townsend and the injured Fabian Delph as the ones to miss out. 
Here Sportsmail columnists JAMIE REDKNAPP, JAMIE CARRAGHER and MARTIN KEOWN share their views on the squad...
Roy Hodgson has trimmed down his squad to name the final-23 heading to the European Championship
Roy Hodgson has trimmed down his squad to name the final-23 heading to the European Championship
Assistant coach Gary Neville (centre) claims this is the boldest England squad he has ever been a part of 
Assistant coach Gary Neville (centre) claims this is the boldest England squad he has ever been a part of 
Manchester United teenage striker Marcus Rashford (centre) continued his incredible rise this year
Manchester United teenage striker Marcus Rashford (centre) continued his incredible rise this year
HAS ROY HODGSON PICKED THE RIGHT SQUAD?
REDKNAPP: It’s harsh on Danny Drinkwater. He’s won a title, he’s in the form of his life — I can’t think of many who have been more unlucky to miss out in recent years. If Roy was selecting on club form alone then it’s a no-brainer that he goes but Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and James Milner have been with this squad for some time and the manager trusts them.
CARRAGHER: We can forget the ‘negative, boring Hodgson’ tag now! Drinkwater is the most unfortunate but his performance against Australia and lack of international experience has counted against him. As for Andros Townsend, it came down to: ‘Do I pick the in-form club player, or stay with trusted regulars, such as Raheem Sterling and Henderson?’ Even with Jordan’s fitness worries, he’s made the right call.
Premier League winner Danny Drinkwater (left) can count himself unfortunate to miss the cut
Premier League winner Danny Drinkwater (left) can count himself unfortunate to miss the cut
KEOWN: I applaud him for going with the most technically gifted players. Marcus Rashford proved in 45 minutes against Australia that he could go to France as a striker, and in 18 second-half minutes showed he can play out wide as well. That meant Townsend wasn’t going as Roy didn’t need the extra winger. Drinkwater is a bit unlucky. It seems like he was there as stand-by for Wilshere or Henderson. It’s a gamble to leave him at home as England need to protect their defence better and he’s good at that.
IS TAKING DANIEL STURRIDGE A GAMBLE?
KEOWN: It is more of a gamble to not have him in the group. He is the player you can turn to in a difficult moment to do something out of nothing and score a wonderful goal. His sublime strike against Sevilla in the Europa League final was a piece of magic.
Taking injury-prone Daniel Sturridge is no bigger a gamble than picking Jack Wilshere or Jordan Henderson
Taking injury-prone Daniel Sturridge is no bigger a gamble than picking Jack Wilshere or Jordan Henderson
CARRAGHER: I think not — his quality is unquestioned and with four other strikers in the squad it means if he has fitness problems, we’re well covered.
REDKNAPP: No bigger one than taking Wilshere or Henderson, who have also been injured. We’ve got Kane, Vardy, Rooney and Rashford. Taking Sturridge isn’t a big gamble.
ARE YOU HAPPY THAT MARCUS RASHFORD’S IN?
CARRAGHER: Yes, he had to go. His pace will worry any defender in world football. It is completely different from the Theo Walcott choice in the squad I was in, in 2006. Rashford has been one of the stories of 2016 and hopefully it’ll continue.
Rashford gets the nod for his pace and intelligence after an incredible breakthough last season
Rashford gets the nod for his pace and intelligence after an incredible breakthough last season
REDKNAPP: He’s had a great season and what a story — when you think if Anthony Martial hadn’t got injured in the warm-up against FC Midtjylland we might never have seen Rashford this season.
KEOWN: I said during the FA Cup final that he was nailed on to go to the Euros. Roy wants him in the squad because he recognises Rashford has such intelligence for someone so young and I’m very happy he is there.

WHAT ARE ENGLAND’S STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES?
REDKNAPP: Our pool of forwards is as good as anyone’s. France are my favourites and their strikers aren’t as good as England’s. There isn’t a great deal of confidence in Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill or John Stones but they have a lot of talent and we shouldn’t use the defenders as an excuse. I’ve always been a big fan of Stones. He’s had a tough season but could well end up proving himself at this tournament.
Everton's John Stone's is one of three centre-backs
United's Chris Smalling will marshal the defence
Gary Cahill also gets the nod despite recent injuries
In John Stones (top), Chris Smalling (middle) and Gary Cahill (buttom), England have only taken three centre-halves
CARRAGHER: England are top-heavy on strikers and Roy is trying to compensate for the problems at the back. Where are all the defenders? Roy has gone with seven defenders and Eric Dier but only four of those defenders’ best quality is defending: Smalling, Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne and Dier. The others are more attack minded. England will have to score a lot of goals to proceed.
KEOWN: In attack we have very good strikers with plenty of pace and intelligence. There’s a good battle for the right and left back places, but Roy has taken a risk with the centre backs. I also fear we are a bit vulnerable with our goalkeepers if Joe Hart is injured.

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