The news that Andros Townsend, Fabian Delph and Danny Drinkwater have been dropped tells us a lot about the possible tactical plans of Roy Hodgson. It is generally agreed that England will play a 4-3-3, or a 4-4-2 diamond, in France this summer. Both formations have been tested in the warm up games and the squad announcement suggests that Hodgson is leaning towards the 4-4-2 diamond. He has included five strikers, while the decision to drop Townsend is particularly interesting as he was the only out and out winger included in the original squad.
There have been rumours that Hodgson has been instructed to play a more offensive style of play and make an impression at the Euros, which he has failed to do at his previous two tournaments in charge. It looks likely that Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane will be the starting strikers, with Wayne Rooney used in a withdrawn position, either at the tip of the diamond or even deeper. It will be exciting to see the best two English strikers this season in tandem and they should complement each other quite well. Vardy is hard working and will chase every loose ball, while Kane is excellent in the final third and he will guarantee shots on goals. They are the positive options up front that England have been lacking for years.
The midfield is interesting as it is likely to include Eric Dier as he can slot in between the centre-backs when England are attacking. This will allow the full-backs to push forward and provide the width, which is crucial as England lack natural width in the attacking positions. Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli and Jack Wilshere will be competing for the two central midfield spots. Ross Barkley and Rooney are also options to fill those roles. Hodgson has a number of choice to play at the tip of the diamond, with Rooney, Barkley, Alli, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling all capable of playing as a number ten. They are all different players, which should be the cause of excitement for England fans.
The defence and goalkeeper picks itself. As stated above, the full-backs have a crucial role in England’s European Championship campaign. They need to be solid at the back, and have a high work rate to provide the width going forward. The full-backs in the squad are all capable of filling that role and it will be interesting which two get the nod to start against Russia.
England do have the options to play a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, with Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling capable of playing on the wings. However, the lack of other wingers suggest these formations will be a plan b or c, rather than being central to England’s tournament plans. It may have been wise to keep Townsend in the squad and drop one of the numerous players capable of playing in the number ten role, as it would have provided more tactical flexibility.
The match against Portugal will be a huge indicator of how Roy Hodgson plans to start the tournament. It looks likely that the 4-4-2 diamond will be the primary tactic and it is an attacking choice from Hodgson playing with two strikers. However, players need to know their roles to the letter to ensure England aren’t caught out defensively. This formation relies heavily on both full-backs and Eric Dier. If the latter got injured, it is difficult to see another player in the squad capable of carrying out the defensive midfield role as effectively.
Whichever formation Roy chooses and I’m sure it will be an exciting tournament for England with a lot of young talent in the squad. Make sure you are following all the betting previews and Euro 2016 news at That’s a Goal.