Ahead of the upcoming international friendlies which England’s national football team will be playing during the weekend in what will be called a ‘friendly’ against bitter rivals and reigning world champions Germany in Berlin – a dress rehearsal of the European Championships in France, in June 2016, it’s only fair that we looked at Roy Hodgson’s best performing players in the Premier League. This list will rank players based on their importance to the side and their overall contribution to their side’s position in the league.
5. Chris Smalling
Arguably the most improved English player in the last 18 months, central defender Chris Smalling is Manchester United’s sole representative in the weekend’s friendly outing against Germany. He’s been a vital cog in United’s defence, playing a key anchoring role in what is statistically the second tightest back four in the Premier League this season. Much has been made of his recent exploits for Man United as a leader and a vocal presence at the back helping United to keep plenty of clean sheets and long may that continue as far as Roy Hodgson and England are concerned, going into the Euros in need of a strong presence at the heart of their defence.
4. Joe Hart
Joe Hart’s importance to Manchester City is one of English football’s most understated topics with the Englishman well on course for a fifth golden glove award in seven years for the blue half of Manchester. He may not make spectacular saves on a consistent basis to hog the limelight if you like, but his positioning and the calmness in 1v1 situations is unparalleled in the league and is one of the reasons why City have been so successful in recent years. At 28, there’s still plenty of years in him at the top level for England to benefit from and it will be interesting to see how he would fare in three months time.
3. Dele Alli
Arguably, the best young player in the league purely based on the impact of one’s performances on the side’s position in the league table. Dele Alli has been a revelation for Spurs and testament to the fact that youngsters can surprise you when given a chance. Credit to the Argentine Mauricio Pochettino for putting the faith in the midfielder and he is reaping the rewards now with the 19-year old directly involving in 16 goals for the North London side this campaign (9 goals; 7 assists) which is a spectacular return considering this is first full season in the English top flight. His partnership with Harry Kane is not only good for Tottenham but also something to look forward to when the duo come together for international duty this summer.
2. Jamie Vardy
In a season littered by stories worth remembering for years, the one surrounding Leicester City’s remarkable success – is one fairytale of epic proportions. Jamie Vardy, being its chief architect scoring 19 goals including a record consecutive 11 goals in the league breaking Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s previous tally of 10 goals across two seasons. He has also created 6 goals making it 25 in total in what has been an astounding season for him personally and professionally. His inimitable burst of acceleration and perfectly timed runs coupled with a devastating accuracy has done plenty of damage in the Premier League, even against the ‘big’ sides and stronger defences. It will be fascinating to see if he could translate his great domestic form into European performances for the country in a bigger stage when the wider world will be watching.
1. Harry Kane
No prizes for guessing. It has been another sensational season for the youngster with 21 goals in the league – his second season on the bounce with 20+ goals in the top division – a feat even Wayne Rooney has not managed in his illustrious career. Such has been the rise of young Harry Kane who was deemed a one season wonder by a many and someone that has been nothing short of remarkable for Tottenham in 2015-16, a pivotal player in their ranks playing the talisman role in a side that could potentially win the title come May. No stranger to scoring in big games, all eyes will be on Harry Kane when he steps across the white line wearing the white of England as he could play an equally important role for his country in June – if he could replicate his great domestic run.