Recent reports and leaked images from England assistant manager Ray Lewington have everyone guessing about how the Three Lions will line up against Russia this weekend, and there are suggestions that Jack Wilshere could be left out of the team (via the Metro).
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Lewington’s leaked teamsheet showed the attacking options available to Roy Hodgson this summer, with many suggesting it’s showing the starting lineup we could expect to see against Russia.
The key point that many are focusing on is Wayne Rooney in a midfield role, with Dele Alli and Eric Dier joining him as a three. Jack Wilshere and James Milner seem to be secondary options, with the Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley, Harry Kane, and Jamie Vardy making up the rest of a front seven.
If this is even close to the team Hodgson is going for (which seems incredibly unlikely), it would be a huge mistake. The Main reason we won’t see this lineup is because it leaves Hodgson with only three defenders, which he obviously isn’t going to do. That aside though, we’ve seen the positive impact Wilshere has had on England’s midfield in the past, a perfect example being the 20 minute spell he had against Turkey recently.
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Conversely, Wayne Rooney has really had a negative effect on the team when pushed deeper, slowing the game down and making things stale and predictable. The issue though, is that as England captain Rooney is unlikely to be dropped, even though there are arguably far better options in every position. This could end up being extremely detrimental to England’s Euro campaign, but we won’t know until we see the lineup this weekend.
Many are calling for a midfield trio of Alli, Dier, and Wilshere, which in all honesty seems like our strongest combination. If Rooney is being crowbarred in then someone more deserving is going to miss out, but hopefully it’s not Wilshere.
The team we’d prefer to see would be Dier and Wilshere in midfield, with Alli playing just ahead of them. Adam Lallana seems the best option on the left, with Raheem Sterling on the right and Harry Kane leading the line. Jamie Vardy has also shown that he can operate wide if needed, although he’s clearly much better suited to a striker’s role.
If Rooney really is going to be forced into the side, then a diamond seems a much more sensible idea. Dier in the holding role, Wilshere and Alli or Jordan Henderson in midfield, with Rooney at No.10. Vardy and Kane can then play as a two up front, although they’d then be heavily reliant on the full-backs to create width.
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Wilshere could be a key player for England this summer if he’s allowed to be, and although there’s definitely going to be some Arsenal bias here, we really can’t see how Hodgson can even consider leaving him out.
On a separate note, “Wilshire” is spelt incorrectly on Lewington’s notes; come on Ray, at least learn your players’ names.