As we edge closer to this summer’s European Championship, England football fans are going through the usual pre-tournament ritual of getting genuinely excited about the prospect of their side finally giving them a reason to turn up in their thousands to support the team at a major competition.
While we all know how this story usually ends, with England on an early flight home, you could be forgiven for getting caught up in the hype as we near this summer’s tournament in France. As well as the faultless way in which Roy Hodgson’s men cruised through qualification, winning 10 out of 10 games, this current England squad certainly has the talent to make a decent run at the title.
While the so called Golden Generation might have failed to live up to the hype, this current crop showed during qualification just how well they are playing together. So, let’s have a look at those that will be key players for England this summer.
Joe Hart: Now firmly established as England’s number-one goalkeeper, Hart is preparing to appear at his second European Championship. As well as what he brings to this team in terms of his ability between the sticks, the Manchester City number one is a big voice in a defence that conceded just three goals in qualifying. Without the likes of John Terry or Rio Ferdinand in the backline, Hart’s experience and organisational skills are going to be very important to any hope England have of ending their 50-year wait to win a major tournament. They are at odds of 11/1 of achieving this goal the international football betting. Could it come true?
Ross Barkley: Long tipped to be one of the best English players of his generation, Ross Barkley looks to be finally fulfilling some of the potential that has followed him throughout his young career. The creative midfielder has become a crucial part of Roberto Martinez’s Everton team over the past couple of seasons, catching the attention of a number of bigger clubs. Having established himself as a regular under Hodgson during qualification, it looks as though the 22-year-old is going to be an important part of the head coach’s plans this summer. It could be that Barkley is the sort of player England have been missing at major tournaments over the years.
Harry Kane: Having a prolific goalscorer heading into a big tournament is always a huge boost for teams, and Harry Kane looks set to be the man tasked with scoring the goals that see England reach the latter stages of this summer’s European Championship. On the back of a sensational season in which he scored 21 goals in the league, Kane was being labelled as a potential one-hit wonder by some sections of the media. Having already notched up 17 league goals this season, the 22-year-old has comprehensively proven that he is the real deal. The next step now is for the Spurs hero to do it on the international stage at a major tournament. He’ll have the perfect chance to do that this summer.