England have confirmed their team for tonight’s friendly against old rivals Germany.
As BBC Sport reports, Roy Hodgson has included four Tottenham Hotspur players, handing a debut at left-back to Danny Rose, alongside Eric Dier, Dele Alli and 21-goal striker Harry Kane.
Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland deputises for Joe Hart, while Chelsea’s Gary Cahill will captain from defence alongside Chris Smalling for the pre-Euro 2016 fixture against the world champions.
Liverpool trio Nathaniel Clyne, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana, and Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck complete the lineup, which can handily be seen in full via this BBC Sport graphic.
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But, we smart alecs at CaughtOffside reckon that we could have done a better job than Hodgson. Here is a more experimental lineup that we would liked to see fielded at Berlin’s Olympiastadion.
The biggest difference that we would propose is a change in shape. Hodgson used a 4-3-3 formation throughout England’s qualifying campaign, but his personnel is more suited to a midfield diamond.
England are not blessed with an array of high-quality wide options. As with Welbeck regularly, Hodgson has shifted forwards out to the wing in order to force players into his preferred system.
The Three Lions boss would be better off finding a formation in which his most talented players can play in their best positions. Adam Lallana and Welbeck are not England’s most talented players.
Everton playmaker Ross Barkley could possibly lay claim to sharing that title. The 22-year-old has scored a career-best eight goals and contributed seven assists in the Premier League this season.
Hodgson should find a way of fitting both him and Alli, seven goals and nine assists of his own, into his midfield. They would provide England with a real attacking threat from the centre of the park.
That is why Dier and Henderson also play an important role in our lineup. The Reds skipper is perfect to do the heavy lifting, and Dier will protect the back four to give Barkley and Alli freedom.
Dier’s relationship with Tottenham teammate Kyle Walker should see him picked over Clyne. There is a great understanding at Spurs of when the full-backs go forward, and thus when Dier needs to sit.
We would make another swap in the back five – bringing in John Stones for Cahill. Hodgson needs to settle on his Euro 2016 centre-back pairing, and should not go cold on the Everton man’s potential.
Another of Mauricio Pochettino’s youngsters – Kane – appears to be in Hodgson’s, and every wannabe England manager’s, Euro 2016 plans, after successive seasons of 20-plus goals in the Premier League.
But Wayne Rooney will also play if fit. How Hodgson accommodates them both into his forward line is a dilemma, and therefore it would be worth experimenting with two up front in this week’s friendlies.
In Rooney’s absence, Jamie Vardy could have been given a chance to play through the middle. The Leicester City star has been shafted out wide for most of his four previous international caps.
Partnering the Premier League’s two top scorers together would provide England with a real goal threat, and Vardy is an unknown commodity to most international defences and deserves his opportunity.