With England's 26-man provisional squad for Euro 2016 set to be trimmed to 23 later this month, we pick out five players who will desperate to impress against the Caltex Socceroos.
The 18-year-old was the shock selection in Hodgson’s squad, having played just 16 first-team games for Manchester United. But his pace, skill and goal return (seven goals) caught the eye and underlined Rashford as a real talent. England isn’t short of striking options with the likes of Rooney, Vardy, Kane and Sturridge also in excellent form and expected to be on the plane to France.
But the teenager could be a real x-factor for England at the Euros and a big performance against the Socceroos might tempt the boss to take a chance on him. There were similar doubts over Michael Owen’s inclusion before France ’98 and that turned out to be a masterstroke.
The Arsenal midfielder is a prodigious talent but is coming off yet another injury-wrecked season. After breaking his leg in August, Wilkshere only just returned to the Gunners’ first-team late in the season, making a couple of substitute appearances before starting the final game against Aston Villa.
In the 24-year-old’s favour, is that he offers something different to England’s other midfielders while he should be fresh having not gone through a full, gruelling EPL campaign. Scored two goals in his last appearance for England last June and might need something similar against Ange’s boys to earn a ticket to France.
Drinkwater is coming off an outstanding season with title-winners Leicester City but appears no certainty to make the final 23-man squad. The 26-year-old was a driving force in midfield for the Foxes, running, tackling and passing himself to a standstill all season for Claudio Ranieri’s side.
He only recently made his full debut in a friendly against the Netherlands and is seemingly in a battle with the likes of Eric Dier and Fabian Delph for a midfield berth if Hodgson decides to cull one from that area.
The skillful winger played a key role during the qualifying phase only to lose his place in the side when he was stuck on the bench at Tottenham. Has played regular football after making the move to Newcastle United and while producing some eye-catching moments, wasn’t consistent enough as the Toon were relegated from the EPL.
While the 24-year-old is a favourite of Hodgson’s and has the ability to be a match-winner on his day, you get the feeling he needs a big performance against Australia to make the cut.
Like Wilkshere, the Manchester City midfielder has hardly featured for his club this season due to a mixture of injury and poor form. But despite all that, the 26-year-old was a surprise selection in the provisional squad, much to the anger of many England fans.
The only way to silence the doubters is to perform on the pitch and Delph will need to do that against the Socceroos if he merits a spot in the final squad. When fully fit is a quality technician but can he outshine Jedinak, Mooy, Luongo and co at the Stadium of Light.
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