England begin their preparations for Euro 2016 with a friendly against Germany in Berlin tonight.
Roy Hodgson should use this opportunity to experiment ahead of the France finals, and CaughtOffside has come up with three exciting lineups, any of which we would love to see at the Olympiastadion.
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The back five remains the same throughout our lineups. With Joe Hart and Ryan Bertrand injured, as BBC Sport reports, Jack Butland deserves a go in goal, and Danny Rose is the only available left-back.
According to BBC Sport, Hodgson has confirmed that Chelsea’s Gary Cahill will captain England in the absence of Wayne Rooney, and he will be given the chance to forge a partnership with Chris Smalling.
Right-back is interchangeable – there is very little to separate Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne and Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Walker. Where the excitement begins, is in the ways that the front six could line up.
This 4-2-3-1 formation would see Harry Kane lead the line, flanked by the pace of Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck on one side, and the guile Adam Lallana on the other. Ross Barkley would start at No.10.
Behind that quartet would be Spurs pair Eric Dier and Dele Alli, who have formed a great relationship at White Hart Lane. Equally, Alli and Barkley could dovetail to allow the former to link up with Kane, as he has done brilliantly at club level in Tottenham’s charge at the Premier League title this season.
This lineup has a good balance between flair and industry. Dier would be instructed to sit deep to allow Clyne and Rose, in particular, to get forward and provide width when Welbeck joins Kane in the box.
Hodgson used a 4-3-3 system throughout England’s qualifying campaign, although never quite like this. We would like to see him experiment with three genuine strikers – Welbeck, Kane and Daniel Sturridge.
Welbeck and Sturridge both have experience operating from wide roles. Welbeck has done it expertly for the Three Lions, and Sturridge made his breakthrough at Chelsea cutting in from the right wing.
This forward line could be devastating, but would need to be complemented by a hard-working and disciplined midfield. Jordan Henderson provides the legs, while Dier would sit and protect the defence.
In this formation, the full-backs have less license to bomb on. That isn’t their job here. They should not venture forward recklessly, and instead allow Sturridge, Welbeck and Kane the freedom to thrive.
It is a very attacking team, but England are not going to make any impact at Euro 2016 if they retreat into their shell and play cautiously. Their best chance is to get as many of their best players on the pitch.
This 4-4-2 diamond is arguably the formation that suits England’s personnel the best. Although Hodgson has forwards who are fairly comfortable playing out wide, he is short of quality, genuine wingers.
The Three Lions should stack their talent centrally, using Barkley as the creative maestro behind the front pair and Dier, looking increasingly likely to be a key player, as the holding midfielder.
Alli has spent most of this season playing as a No.10, scoring seven top-flight goals, but is easily combative enough to operate deeper, and can still provide a goal threat arriving late into the box.
It would be a waste not to give Danny Drinkwater an opportunity after his well-deserved call-up. The midfielder is a good passer of the ball and can try to pick out Leicester City pal Jamie Vardy up top.
Vardy has the pace to stretch defences, and this would create room from which Kane and Barkley could cause defence havoc. The width in this side would be provided by the full-backs. Having two strikers, Barkley and Alli in the team, mean that there will be plenty of targets to aim for with their crosses.
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