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England’s consistent under performance at major tournaments has seen the country labelled as ‘chokers’ by the footballing world.

The Three Lions have not experienced success since winning the World Cup 1966, and are yet to win a European Championship.

England ready to buck 'failure' tagIn their last three tournaments, the English bowed out in the quarter-finals to Portugal (2004), Italy (2012), and failed to qualify in 2008.

This time around, it seems that this side have found the right balance, with a new breed of exciting players coming through to take France 2016 by storm.

Goalkeepers

England’s plethora of talent between the sticks has always been a strong point. Joe Hart, the mainstay since 2010 has excelled for Manchester City and been a part of the 2012 and 2014 title campaigns for the Sky Blues. He has the requisite experience, and is known as one of the world’s best and could be key to England’s chances.

Fraser Forster and Tom Heaton provide solid depth for Hart if required. Forster, Southampton’s number one has had a career best season and along with Tom Heaton who was playing in the Championship, who had a marvellous season in helping Burnley to Premier League promotion.

Defence

Since the retirement of key defenders John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson, the English defence have been tested in their revolution away from the old-guard.

Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling have become a duo of solidity. The back-up of John Stones will provide an interesting outlook as he is competing in his first ever major tournament as an England International.

With Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne as Roy Hodgson’s options at full-back, all possess attacking and defensive qualities. Rose and Walker are coming off their best seasons to date, so expect strong showings.

Midfield

A position of major scrutiny prior to this passing season. Now, England’s midfield positions are spoilt for choice.

Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere are two players under major injury clouds after a season full of setbacks. The duo, still seem primed to make their way into the side and expect their presence as a much needed one in an inexperienced England midfield, which will also be joined by James Milner.

Dele Alli’s breakout season has put him in a prime position for a huge tournament, joined by Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City and Eric Dier from Tottenham. Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana will provide a more attacking approach, with the Everton play maker, being the front-runner for that position.

Out wide, Raheem Sterling will also be presented with a ticket, more than likely being a starting player to stretch opposition defences. Andros Townsend is also in contention after a strong second half of the season at Newcastle United.

Attack

Like the midfield, England’s forward line of England has enjoyed a promising period of late. The blossoming of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy provide England with the best two strikers of the past season in the Premier League. Along with the captain, Wayne Rooney and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge, this exhibits a dangerous outlook for the opposing sides.

The question is, who starts? Will Hodgson go for a look towards inexperience with Vardy and Kane, a mix of Kane and Rooney or even Rooney and Vardy. Expect, Sturridge to play a role off the bench with his season being interrupted heavily by injury. However, his presence is just as profound as that of the previous three.

Rooney has had a slow season with injury and a lack of form. However, his form for England in qualifying has been sublime, but lacking in major tournaments as the team struggled.

Could his Manchester United team-mate, Marcus Rashford, who scored in his international debut against Australia be considered? The 18-year-old has enjoyed a whirlwind few months since his first team debut, but the question still remains as to whether Hodgson will take the risk. With Sturridge under an injury cloud with calf problems, it could provide Rashford with an opening.

Conclusion

It’s an exciting time for England, who saw the domestic league lit up by local talent as well as those from abroad this season.

Previously, the question of where the depth and talent would come from was valid. However, now we are seeing the Three Lions exhibit the strengths many keen onlookers have been waiting to see. Could this be the year England end their 50-year trophy drought?

Originally published at outside90.com

Post written by Nicholas Durbano, Twitter: @nick_durbano98
for Outside 90, Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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