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EURO 2016 REVIEW: Rating England's Group Stage Performance

June 24, 2016

| The Hype Train |

Euro 2016 has dominated the football landscape for the past fortnight and England have just played their final Group Stage match. Facing Russia, Wales, and Slovakia in Group B, the English have laboured through in second place despite beating the side that eventually finished top. The Hype Train provides its players ratings for the squad members that have seen game time in the Group Stage round of fixtures, as well as some general analysis regarding the Three Lions as they prepare for life in knockout tournament with Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, all pooled in the same half of the draw. All aboard.

 

 

General Ratings

All players that played a significant amount of time have been given a proper rating. All players that have made cameo appearances have been given 1/10’s just for the sake for an appearance.

 

Goalkeeper(s)

 

Joe Hart (Man City)

5/10

 

England’s number one really didn’t have a lot to do in the group stages, but when called upon, the Man City keeper either had to deal with a handful of easy shots to deal with, one of which was Bale’s free kick in the second game. Has been questioned about his starting birth, but will obviously remain between the sticks.

 

It’s truly a shame that Jack Butland was injured near the tail end of the season, the Stoke shot stopper would be the ideal back up, even if Fraser Forster is a towering and domineering keeper in his own right.

 

 

Defenders

 

Gary Cahill (Chelsea)

6/10

 

We are going to post exactly the same thing for Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling, because in truth it’s been fairly straight forward. It’s a partnership that has been ok thus far, but will be challenged more often in the latter rounds of the competition, if England are to make it past the last 16. Both were ball watching for the goal against Russia, and both men have seen a lot of the ball. For us at The Hype Train, defending isn’t the issue, it’s being ruthless in front of goal.

 

Chris Smalling (Man United)

6/10

 

We are going to post exactly the same thing for Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling, because in truth it’s been fairly straight forward. It’s a partnership that has been ok thus far, but will be challenged more often in the latter rounds of the competition, if England are to make it past the last 16. Both were ball watching for the goal against Russia, and both men have seen a lot of the ball. For us at The Hype Train, defending isn’t the issue, it’s being ruthless in front of goal.

 

Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool)

7/10

 

England’s reliance on an attacking minded right back was ever-present against Slovakia, with Liverpool’s Clyne putting in a man of the match performance (along with Eric Dier). The speed of attack and reliability in defending positions is exactly what Southampton and Liverpool fans have come to know. A potential option could be to play Clyne and Walker down the same side at the same time, but it’ll never happen.

 

In the Fantasy Premier League, Nathaniel Clyne was prolific for Southampton in the 2014/15 season, but his point’s returns were much worse for Liverpool in the 2015/16 season. Was often yellow carded.

 

Kyle Walker (Spurs)

9/10

 

The Spurs right back has been a sensation at Euro 2016, and is definitely among the best full backs to arrive at the tournament. England’s last 16 opponents will have to sit deep with Walker constantly in advanced positions, always willing, and usually winning, attacking duels. Deserving of his place after missing out on the last 2 tournaments due to injury.

 

Danny Rose (Spurs)

8/10

 

Tackles hard, tracks back, and attacks with force. Danny Rose is proving a worthy left-back for England at the tournament, so much so you almost forget that the English side hve managed with Leighton Baines for so long. Unlike the Everton full back, Rose doesn’t struggle with the pace of opposing wingers. The combo of Rose and Walker gives England a good balance on either side, making the English harder to beat.

 

Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)

6/10

 

Bertrand drew some criticism for his performance against Slovakia. Was booked and had his arms flying about all night, but overall, we believe his performance against the Slovaks was composed and steady. Could have been a liability on the yellow card, but ultimately contributed in another strong (if not dull) performance)

 

Midfielders

 

Eric Dier (Spurs)

9/10

 

Was Wayne Rooney England’s best player at Euro 2016? No. Eric Dier is top of the pile.

 

Scoring the opening goal against Russia just adds to a rock-solid tournament, providing ample cover for a back-four that was heavily criticised heading into the tournament. Indispensible to the team, England will need Eric Dier in good form if the island nation is to win the tournament.

 

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

3/10

 

It was never a good idea taking Wilshere to Euro 2016, and even after being unconvincing during the warm up matches, as well as the Group Stage itself, Roy Hodgson still hasn’t got the message. Drinkwater should have gone in his place after winning the title with Leicester, providing the winning mentality that England so desperately need.

 

Instead Roy backed his faith in Jack, and we have succumb to looking laboured in midfield, and heavily reliant on Eric Dier as the defensive rock for the multiple times Wilshere and Henderson gave away the ball.

 

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

3/10

 

Liverpool fans know all too well what Hendo has been bringing to the table for a while; set-piece after set-piece without an end product. Passes, usually stray, and non-existent shooting skills, are just a few features that England fans came to groan.

 

Another midfield inclusion that was probably best left at home.

 

Dele Alli (Spurs)

6/10

 

Alli’s rise to the England’s national team has been more inspiring than his performances in a Three Lions shirt in France, but there has been a hard graft to Alli at the tournament. Has covered the most ground in the England team, and was unlucky not to score against Slovakia if not for a heroic block from Liverpool’s own Martin Skrtel.

 

Has been restricted in an attacking nature, but did manage to pinch the pass to Sturridge for England’s winning goal against Wales.

 

Wayne Rooney (Man United)

7/10

 

We’re glad that Rooney has been utilised in a formation that helps accommodate our better attacking players, but we haven’t been overly convinced that Rooney is the world-beater that BBC Sport tell you he is. Rooney started the tournament with a good performance against Russia, pinging balls like he’s been watching a highlight reel of Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard, but his impact begun to evaporate as the Group Stage went on.

 

Against Slovakia as a substitute Rooney’s passing was off-key and on the few occasions the Captain was able to run at the back four, he wasted possession, and several attacking chances.

 

Overall, not a lot to complain about, but nothing to cheer about until Rooney helps the side hit top gear in the knockout rounds. That’s where Rooney will be judged as the player chosen to lead the national side.

 

Adam Lallana (Liverpool)

7/10

 

The Liverpool midfielder has had a decent time of things at Euro 2016. Playing all 3 group stage games, Lallana has been one of Roy's favourites that has actually been half decent.

 

The only downside is converting shots to goals. Lallana has hit some sweet strikes at goal, but has been unable to find the net in 7 attempts. Add goals to the game, and you have a player with flair, skill, a high work rate, who is versatile enough to play across the midfield or forward line.

 

Raheem Sterling (Man City)

0/10

 

Just hasn’t turned up at the tournament, was never worthy of a place in the first place, wasteful in front of goal. On a positive note, can only get better, right?

 

James Milner (Liverpool)

1/10

 

Milner’s lone substitute appearance against Russia was a wasted one, with him and Wilshere unable to help England hold onto a 1-0 lead against the team that finished bottom with just one point. Could have been utilised as a winger against Slovakia, as the Liverpool player has good set piece and crossing abilities (unlike counterpart Henderson).

 

Forwards

 

Marcus Rashford (Man United)

1/10

 

Rashford came on and did a good job against Wales, helping England swarm a stubborn Welsh backline. However, we can’t really give Rashford a proper rating because at best his appearance was a cameo appearance. If we were forced at gunpoint to give a rating, it’d probably be a 5-6 at best.

 

Will struggle for game time in the knockout rounds with Kane, Vardy, and Sturridge, all ahead of the Man United prodigy.

 

Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

7/10

 

No Vardy, No Party! That was the message after England blew their 1-0 lead against Russia. When introduced against Wales, the title winning forward changed the game, scoring with his third touch of the game.

 

Slovakia played deep and minimalised Vardy’s running power, but the man set to shoot Arsenal down in favour of a stay at Leicester was the first line of defence up top, stifling many potential attacks before they even happened. Should be playing in the first 11 for every game.

 

Harry Kane (Spurs)

4/10

 

There is a sense of the familiar with Harry Kane. The Spurs forward struggled for momentum and goals at the beginning of the 2015/16, but eventually hit his stride, scoring 25 goals to help Spurs to 3rd in the Premier League. The same is happening at the Euro’s, with Kane’s impact minimal as of right now.

 

The Hurrikane can only get better, and perhaps playing without Raheem Sterling might benefit his goal output in the last 16 and beyond.

 

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

7/10

 

A definite match winner, the gamble to take Sturridge has been proven a good one. Scoring the winner against Wales, D Studge has been getting the ball from deep, and charging at defenders. More of the same will be needed in the knockout rounds, but we believe that Sturridge will have to settle for a place on the bench in favour of Vardy and Lallana.

 

 

Who didn’t feature in the Group Stage games?

 

Tom Heaton (Burnley)

 

Fraser Forster (Southampton)

 

John Stones (Everton)

 

Ross Barkley (Everton)

 

Our Man of the Match Picks

Danny Rose vs. Russia

Kyle Walker vs. Wales

Nathaniel Clyne & Eric Dier vs. Slovakia

 

Are any England players catching the eye?

Adam Lallana

Kyle Walker

Eric Dier

Danny Rose

Jamie Vardy

Daniel Sturridge

 

 

The players who should have stayed home?

 

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Perhaps colour-blind, unable to distinguish between white and red, Wilshere has been an unfit liability at Euro 2016. To think that he made the squad ahead of Danny Drinkwater is exactly the reason England won’t have the legs to eventually compete with the powerhouse nations in the latter part of the competition.

 

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

Passing? Average at best.

Playing with purpose? Hell no.

Set piece abilities? Non-existent.

Does Hendo love a back pass? You bet.

Likely to play again at Euro 2016? Not if common sense has its say.

A better option than Mark Noble? Laughable.

A better option than Danny Drinkwater? See above.

 

Raheem Sterling (Man City)

Antonio and Townsend must be wondering what might have been at Euro 2016. Sterling just hasn’t showed up, has been wasteful in front of goal, and above all else, is just not going to help this England team progress at the tournament.

 

Ross Barkley (Everton)

Might as well should have taken Carroll as a different forward option. Even Townsend as another wide outlet. Exactly the type of player England could have utilised against Slovakia. Barkley isn’t going to see game time, and is not the player to come off the bench and change the game.

 

Marcus Rashford (Man United)

Man United fans will defend Rashford’s inclusion to the end of days, but this might have been a step too early for the youngster. Won’t see excessive game time, especially in the knockout phase. We’re not criticising the ability of Rashford, but England really could have done with a powerful unit up top to call upon.

 

 

Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Equivalent

As specialists in the FPL community, we have a certain affinity towards certain players. Fantasy darlings such as Alli, Kane, and Vardy, are impervious to criticism due to the massive points returns they provided for players during the 2015/16 season. How would have the current squad got on in terms of fantasy points?

 

The FPL awaits points for appearance minutes, goals scored, assists, clean sheets, whilst bonus points are awarded to the best contributing players in a single game. For the sake of the article, we have not used bonus points, but we will speculate.

 

England Starting 11

 

Joe Hart: 10 (2, 2, 6)

 

Kyle Walker: 4 (2, 2, 0)

Gary Cahill: 9 (1, 2, 6)

Chris Smalling: 10 (2, 2, 6)

Danny Rose: 4 (2, 2, 0)

 

Eric Dier: 12 (7, 2, 3)

Wayne Rooney: 5 (2, 2, 1)

Dele Alli: 8 (2, 5, 1)

 

Raheem Sterling: 3 (2, 1, 0)

Harry Kane: 7 (5, 1, 1)

Adam Lallana: 7 (2, 2, 3)

 

Rest of Squad

 

Nathaniel Clyne: 6 (0, 0, 6)

Ryan Bertrand: 5 (0, 0, 5)

 

Jack Wilshere: 2 (1, 0, 1)

James Milner: 1 (1, 0, 0)

Jordan Henderson: 3 (0, 0, 3)

 

Jamie Vardy: 7 (0, 5, 2)

Daniel Sturridge: 7 (0, 5, 2)

Marcus Rashford: 1 (0, 1, 0)

 

Who would have got Bonus Points?

Based off the 2015/16, here is who we think would have achieved FPL related bonus points over the course of the 3 games.

 

England vs. Russia: Berezutski (3), Dier (2), Kane (1)

England vs. Wales: Bale (3), Vardy (2), Sturridge (2)

England vs. Slovakia: Skrtel (3), Kozácik (2), Smalling (1)

 

 

England Evaluation

By Hype Train Chief Writer, @SamAustin45

 

Leicester City in the Premier League won the league without dominating possession, meanwhile Manchester United scampered along and scraping by with a tedious and boring possession based system that removes all attacking impetus from the team. Liverpool had more shots on goal than any other team in the league and they scored one of the lowest goal tallies of all twenty teams. The 2015/16 season has proven that possession doesn't mean success, no does shots on goal. Skip forward to Euro 2016 and England are personifying all that was predictable for their performances in the competition so far. Granted, they have qualified, but do they stand any real chance of progressing into the quarter or semi final's? History tells us no, and the signs of the English performances so far support this notion. 

 


Only England could qualify in second place with an unbeaten record, whilst the team they beat finished above them. The team were dismantling everyone in qualification, and when it comes to a real tournament and the same jitters and concerns echo from tournaments past. The supporters are rightfully pessimistic because once again a group of insanely talented players are under-performing, and there is no way you can say otherwise. England were expected to win the group stage, and after beating Wales it was only natural to top the group. All credit to Wales in their performances as they have shown to be winners, they have a compact team with a style of play that threatens teams. Russia were dismantled, Slovakia unlocked, and even England were shaken by Gareth Bale before their comeback. Wales were deserving winners through and through, there isn't even an argument about it.

Thinking back to watching Match of the Day and every week the words of Alan Shearer ring our ears: 'If you don't put away the chances do you really deserve to win?' 

 

As much stick and as general and Danny Murphy and Alan Shearer make it they have a point, consistent teams with a recognized style of play win more than clueless teams who waste possession and chances. Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Everton are the best examples of teams that usually dominate in terms of possession only to be caught out by their own hubris. Wales are becoming the Euro's Leicester equivalent, a few marquee players combined with a team of hard workers and grafters, England resemble the combination of the inconsistency of Manchester United and Liverpool. The best forty five minutes were when England overloaded the pitch with strikers, with Vardy, Sturridge, Rashford, and Rooney, injecting some chaos to the Wales team formula and we got the result.

 

It isn't so much about having a good team, but opposition teams are always better placed to pinpoint exactly how England will play, their patterns, their predictability. England's slow passing allows teams to reform quickly and defending, not allowing the likes of Vardy and Kane to exploit the space between the defensive line. This leaves awkward and frustrating midfield passing between Dier and the defense as we probe our way into the final ten minutes. The transparency of our team is so vivid that it allowed Russia to steal a point and Slovakia to just discipline themselves, and there is nothing worse than seeing Martin Skrtel be compared to Paulo Maldini because that is how it looked. 
 


Taking Danny Drinkwater would have made a lot more sense than Wilshere, that is evident after the Arsenal midfielder barely looked fit, sharp, and unable to retain possession. Rooney coming off the bench wasn't the plan as Marcus Rashford could have injected more chaos into the team, but his performance warranted some composure in midfield, something that Drinkwater could have provided in a pressure situation.

Speaking of composure, Joe Allen could be making the England team, the Liverpool midfielder has been easily one of the best central midfielders of the tournament so far, his heroic performances at the heart of the Wales team have not gone unnoticed. He was prepared to go above and beyond in attack and defence for his team and made a link between the attack and defence that is sorely lacking in England's team. For all the midfielders Hodgson has taken none of them seem to be connecting the team in a way that Allen has done so flawlessly. Jurgen Klopp must be reconsidering the Welshman's position in midfield next season for the Red's after these performances, and also looking at Jordan Henderson who added almost nothing to the attack for England which was the reason why he was on the pitch. 

Perhaps Brendan Rodgers was right after all, he could become the Welsh Pirlo if he continues having a good tournament, and Northern Ireland in the last 16, there is a real chance Allen could continue to star.

 


The moral of the England story doesn't look to have changed much, but there is great optimism. The Three Lions are through to the last sixteen and will be facing a team from the weakest group of teams. There is still time and room to change things up, and that is what England need so desperately to do. Converting to having two strikers makes sense, overload the attack from the first whistle and allow the possession play to have a direct purpose of occupying the defence and applying pressure in getting the ball back. Momentum isn't going to be the issue, it will be the consistency of our play, the second England changed things against Wales (just like Roy did against Germany) and field a wildcard system England looked deadly in front of goal.

The advice to Roy Hodgson would be let the lions off their short passing possession based leash, throw in the chaos and watch the goals flow.

 

 

Squad Verdict

Everything the media, pundits, and fans alike have said about England’s Euro 2016 squad has been spot on. The players who shouldn’t have boarded the plane have been woeful, and we haven’t taken enough game changing outlets, such as wingers or an alternative forward option such as Andy Carroll. The defensive still has question marks above its head. Roy will no doubt be in charge for his last tournament, and that is perhaps for the best.

 

England managed just 3 goals in their group stage, despite taking 4/5 forwards. Think of the national team like a pick and mix vendor. Instead of picking variety (wingers, alternative forwards) the buyer has stuck with his chosen few sugary favourites. It’s like picking a car without too many accessories, and like going food shopping only to realise that you’ve forgotten half the ingredients for your big weekend dinner, then winging it anyway.

 

Danny Drinkwater, Andros Townsend, and West Ham's Antonio (to a lesser extent) would have been our definite inclusions into an England team that is lacking width and a fully fit, title winning players (hence Drinkwater). We’d have also gambled on Andy Carroll over Marcus Rashford, and would have gone back in time if possible to stop Butland playing against Germany in an international friendly.

 

 

How far can England go?

The runners up of Group F, Iceland, lay in wait. England's route to the final could includes France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, instead of B8 sides that have never won a major European trophy.. The point being, we can’t avoid the big boys, and it could be business as usual. And by that we mean elimination, probably by penalties. There’s certainly room for optimism though, especially as the English side have dominated each game they’ve played. It’s just turning that corner, and applying the finishing touches (and by that we mean goal scoring prowess) into results. A Quarter Final appearance must be the minimum requirement for the squad, and against Iceland we know that they'll sit back and sting us on the counter if given an inch.

 

The tournament is there for the taking, but does England have what it takes to mount an actual title winning challenge? Question marks still linger, enough to warrant the idea that England will struggle to break down Iceland, let alone one of the 4 powerhouses on our side of the draw, whilst the competition slowly figures out a winning formula. History would suggest against the idea as England has never won the European Championship, and perhaps, so would we.

 

All aboard.

 

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