Learning your tournament fate can be a weird process -- Roy Hodgson has made the wrong call with Danny Drinkwater

 
Trevor Steven
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England manager Bobby Robson
Source: Getty

I feel for the players who have been left out of England boss Roy Hodgson’s final Euro 2016 squad. There isn’t any way to dress it up, it must be hugely devastating and extremely demoralising.

Fortunately, I always made the cut when in that situation but I remember being there on the last day with then manager Sir Bobby Robson when the England squad used to stay up at High Wycombe. You’d come back from training, go to your rooms and just wait.

Bobby would then pull you into a room, sit you down and talk for a bit. All the while you’d be holding your breath. It was a really weird and horrible position to be in.

Afterwards, Bobby would get everyone together and after some hand-shaking the guys who had been left out would get in their cars and go. It was as cold as that.

Thankfully I always had good news ahead of a tournament, three times with Bobby and once with Graham Taylor, and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for those who did not make it.

BAFFLING

Of the three players Hodgson has opted to axe, I can understand the omissions of Newcastle winger Andros Townsend and the injured Fabian Delph, but I struggle to agree with dropping Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater.

Former Manchester United academy graduate Drinkwater has been in unbelievable form over the last 18 months and I cannot see how he has not done enough to force his way into the final 23 that will go to the European Championship in France.

BETTER PLAYER

Overlooking the 26-year-old, who won the Premier League title with the Foxes last term, is all the more baffling given that we have a number of players who have been injured and are not match fit going into the tournament.

Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge all fall into that bracket and it’s a concern. You’ve got to be at your absolute best going into a tournament and those three cannot possibly be fully ready for England’s opening match against Russia on 11 June.

Irrespective of Henderson’s lack of match sharpness, if I was to put my cards on the table I would say that Drinkwater is a better player anyway. I’m not a massive fan of Henderson. His game is about covering every blade of grass, he’s just a midfield presence. Hodgson has gone for continuity in that regard and what Henderson has got going for him is that he was a part of England’s qualification process.

Henderson also went to the World Cup in Brazil two years, although I cannot recall anything he did there. While Arsenal midfield man Wilshere was injured for most of last season, he has got a creative gene, something you need at international level.

Everton’s Ross Barkley was also mentioned as somebody who may miss out but he too is more arty, as opposed to a regular midfield player. I feel Drinkwater has been very unfortunate.

Ending on a positive note, a big thumbs up to Hodgson for selecting Manchester United’s teenage striker Marcus Rashford, I think that was the right call.

Trevor Steven is a former England footballer who has played at two World Cups and two European Championships.

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