Gav - Same Old S**t!
I've heard varying opinions on this very subject over the course of the last few weeks, and I feel like I'm in the minority of people that just don't want Jack Wilshere anywhere near the England squad for this particular tournament.
I'm not expecting many people to agree with me, but I'm a firm believer that England should select their twenty-three man squad purely based on how well each player has performed for their club sides over the course of the season. To me it sends a clear message that if you are passionate about playing for your country, that you have to earn your spot and if you don't graft your bollocks off to be there, then you don't deserve your place on the plane.
Jack Wilshere has been injured for ninety-nine percent of the season, yet after one start at the end of the campaign he's selected without a single second thought by Roy Hodgson, who is clearly a massive fan of the Arsenal midfielder. Elsewhere, players like Danny Drinkwater and Mark Noble are overlooked having shown week on week that they are more than good enough to be playing for their country in an international tournament.
It just doesn't sit well with me. I'm not for one minute suggesting that Mark Noble and Danny Drinkwater are better footballers than Jack Wilshere, but selecting players that are there on name and reputation alone has never served England well for a number of years now. Isn't it about time that we tried something different?
I'm beating a dead horse here, I know - Roy Hodgson is the same as the rest of them and will continue to select players that play for big clubs. With the exception of Jamie Vardy - a player that has made it virtually impossible for Hodgson to ignore him - the entire England side that starts against Russia will be made up of Southern-based media favourites and big names that barely deserve to be there. It's annoying.
The fact Hodgson still didn't know which system he'd be playing by the last warm up game against Portugal says it all really. He's picked a side that completely lacks any semblance of balance because he's always going to favour the likes of Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere and Wayne Rooney. Mental, especially when you consider that players like Antonio and Noble at West Ham, Defoe at Sunderland, Townsend at Newcastle, Drinkwater and Albrighton at Leicester and so many others have played so well this season yet have barely been given the recognition on a national scale that they deserve.
I guess I'll wait and see how it pans out, but I'm not hopeful. I just wish I could watch an England side that I can relate to, and unfortunately I'm sat yet again pinning my hopes on players that have done very little to earn their place on the plan to France.
Rory - Roy Was Right!
Right, I don't expect this one to be the popular opinion but I totally understand why Roy picked Jack Wilshere. You can't constantly just chop and change your squad, you have to keep something of an identity when playing at international level and Wilshere is a player who has consistently performed for Hodgson. Look at the Slovenia game, during qualifying, where the Arsenal midfielder scored two crucial goals and put in an excellent performance as England won 3-2. It was a game where England needed someone to step up and take control, Wilshere did that and that goes a long way with a manager.
You need to try and have as many players who are familiar with the set up as possible too. With Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Erik Dier, Danny Rose, Ryan Bertrand, Dele Ali and Marcus Rashford, there's plenty of fresh blood coming into the side. You can't afford to have too much inexperience in a major international tournament and Danny Drinkwater, regardless of his form this season, would have been a major risk in the starting XI. Jordan Henderson, along with Wilshere, provides the necessary intentional experience that you need at such a high level. It's vital that Hodgson has players he can trust through the middle, especially in a team where there are doubts over the central defenders.
It's also not Wilshere's fault he's been injured, either. If Harry Kane had been sidelined for so long, would people still not want to see him involved? It's a very harsh reason to have for not picking someone. As long as he's fit for the tournament and can do what Roy needs him to do, then I don't see the problem.
I know I'm kind of playing devils advocate a bit with this argument but people are writing off Wilshere as some sort of Sunday League player. He's a fine midfielder who plays with intensity and has a great deal of skill. I'm not saying he's perfect but he's still a good player to have in the squad.
Who do you agree with? Vote below.