There are a lot of big decisions Roy Hodgson has to make ahead of this summer’s big tournament, and with several central midfielders named in his preliminary squad – Dele Alli and Eric Dier will have their work cut out to get in the team, but they deserve to start.
Alli was named young player of the season in the Premier League and certainly deserves his place in the England line-up after a sensational debut season for Spurs. When he was banned, Tottenham’s midfield struggled to function. Void of fight and innovative ideas, Spurs looked a blunt, predictable force and it resulted in them losing 2nd place to Arsenal.
Dier can anchor the midfield like no other player in the England squad. He has the experience of being a defender and also playing alongside more expressive midfielders. He can take the defensive weight off of more creative players shoulders like Alli, maybe Jack Wilshere or Wayne Rooney, who may be playing alongside him. He’s 6ft 2’ and physically quite intimidating for a man of just 22 – he will give the England midfield balance and help protect perhaps the weakest area of their team – the defence. Hodgson can be confident that red-hot Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge will score goals, but defenders like John Stones and Gary Cahill have had contrasting seasons, at times left out of their respective starting line-ups. Dier, an experienced defender before joining Tottenham, can always slot back and create a more solid defence if required too.
Another reason, it goes without saying really, is the fact that the duo have good chemistry with each other and have worked so well in the Tottenham midfield this season. England have so often looked disjointed and lacked relationships and trust on the field in major tournaments – pairing Alli and Dier would allow for a solid midfield base upon which to build a fully functioning fluid side.
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