Given the nature of the stereotypically underwhelming campaigns the nation has had to endure over the years whilst following England, we can be forgiven for greeting every stumbling block with negativity.
But although we failed to turn over Russia and allowed Wales the lead against us yesterday, England have had – for all intents and purposes – a solid start to Euro 2016.
A component to our squad is missing, though, and it stands the difference between a solid start and a formidable one. That difference is the absence of a hard man in midfield, someone with the mettle to match the might of any nation’s passion.
Now, as a Sunderland fan, I’d love to be able to say that Lee Cattermole is the omission that Roy Hodgson could so easily come to regret as the tournament ticks on – but realism won’t allow me the joy that entails. There are many other more realistic candidates who deserve a nod ahead of our beloved Lee.
Before I get into who, exactly, should be anchoring the middle of the park, let’s get into who is unjustly filling up the vacancy. Such a question effectively answers itself – Jack Wilshere.
I won’t deny there’s quality present in Wilshere’s game, that much is clear. What isn’t clear is why so many midfielders with skyrocketing form are swept aside for a man who roams the infirmary rather than the pitch.
Roy Hodgson’s decision making has always been stubborn by nature, and as such we see fame over form year in year out. Even when the ‘fame’ his favourites are branded with isn’t something that instills confidence. *cough* smoking *cough*
Who do I take over Jack Wilshere? Another simple question - it’s Mark Noble or Danny Drinkwater.
Noble is somewhat renowned nowadays for still being cap-less despite his best efforts; I can only imagine how it looks from the West Ham perspective.
The Hammers captain gives his all for his club, and given his fine form in their campaign this season, you can imagine he’d replicate this on the world stage. Intuitively, his eagerness to get a first cap would make him all the more hungry to prove himself.
Danny Drinkwater needs little introduction, given the results yielded from his performances. Any English player who contributed to Leicester City winning the league is worthy of consideration, and given the magnitude of Drinkwater’s performances in particular, it should have gone further than just debate.
To conclude, the heart of England’s midfield should have been in contention between Noble and Drinkwater – two players capable of offering quality and passion for two different but compelling reasons.
Jack Wilshere shouldn’t have got a look in as far as I’m concerned, but the only thing that can affirm or contradict me is the results to come.