Wayne Rooney will miss the first two of England’s three group games, after being shown a straight red card for kicking Montenegro’s Miodrag Dzudovic during the last match of the qualifiers. A player like Rooney, who could single handedly change the game, is very important to any team and his absence will be felt. But England do have players who could step up and perform when needed. Here we look at such three players.
3.Danny Welbeck (Manchester United, Forward)
Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United teammate is the only striker – apart from Rooney himself – in the England touring party who has been inform for the whole season. The other two strikers – Jermain Defoe and Andy Carroll have shown only flashes of their form. Defoe has been used as a second choice striker behind Emmanuel Adebayor at Spurs, while Carroll showed flashes of his Newcastle form towards the end of the season. Danny Welbeck is expected to get the nod ahead of the above two and would be a good choice as the lone striker in the 4-4-1-1 formation that Roy Hodgson is set to use in Rooney’s absence. The United youngster has scored 12 goals for his club this season including goals against Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton and also netted his first England goal in the recent 1-0 friendly win over Belgium at the Wembley.
2. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, Midfielder)
Roy Hodgson doesn’t need to bring in new players to fill in Rooney’s boots for the first two matches, he can also encourage the old and experienced ones to step up their game and Steven Gerrard is one of those. The Liverpool skipper has been handed the England captaincy and he will look to be the inspiration figure in the England lineup. Liverpool’s no.8 has put in sub-par performances for Liverpool this season mainly because of injuries, but he fully fit for the Euros and raring to go. The England team will need him even more now with Rooney absent. Gerrard is expected to start in the center of the four man midfield behind Ashley Young. It’s position which would suit Gerrard very well and which he would surely love to play in, as he would be able to see more of the ball and dictate the game. Gerrard has inspired Liverpool to many important wins in the past and he certainly needs to do the same for England in Rooney’s absence.
1. Ashley Young (Manchester United, Midfielder)
Ashley Young has had a decent first season for Manchester United scoring six league goals, but he has been one of the top performers for England in the past year or so. The former Aston Villa winger has managed to score six goals and has six assists to his name in his twenty-games for the Three Lions so far. His England record is just brilliant as he averages a goal and an assist every three games. Young scored the only goal against Norway and assisted Welbeck’s first half winner against Belgium, in Hodgson’s first two games as England boss. The former West Brom boss is expected to play Young in Rooney’s role, as a support striker behind Danny Welbeck in the 4-4-1-1 formation and will be hoping that the Manchester United winger will continue his fine form for his country at the Euros and perform for the Three Lions, when they need it the most.