When England fans see Phil Jagielka called up for the England squad, they wonder ‘how?’. This 33-year-old defender has been inconsistent at best this season, playing 18 games with Roberto Martinez often putting Ramiro Funes Mori ahead of the the ex-Sheffield United star.
After the 3-2 win against Germany, all the pundits on ITV were in agreement that the centre of defence is England’s weak spot. Given Roy Hodgson’s ‘big club mentality’, out of form and out of favour players such as Jagielka and Gary Cahill still get call ups for the chance to represent their country. It’s okay if there were injuries to key names, but Hodgson continuously overlooks some of the league’s most consistent, exciting defenders who deserve to be given the chance.
With time to win a slot in the EURO 2016 squad, could a sudden miracle mean these players get a place rather than the dinosaur from Everton?
One player who really should have more than one England cap is Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross. Shawcross has been one of the Potters’ most consistent players this season, and in his absence due to injury, the team have struggled. At the age of 28, he is about to hit his peak, and should definitely be considered ahead of ‘Jags’.
Roy has given him the chance before, but when he did a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic made it a debut to forget. Should bygones be bygones and Shawcross be given another chance? Probably!
Similarly, Crystal Palace’s Scott Dann has been consistent for the side in the last two seasons. This season with five goals and one assist in 29 games, he certainly seems to have more of an attacking threat than Jagielka, while he’s certainly been more robust in his own third, too.
As a defender he can provide that something different, and bring the consistency and attacking threat that the team need from corners. However due to Roy’s habit of overlooking talent at small clubs, Dann may not be considered, let alone called up.
Another player who has consistent over the last couple of seasons is West Ham’s James Tomkins. Tomkins is a Hammer through and through, something that Roy probably detests, even though he has been an important part of the defence. Though he has only made 22 appearances this season, he is versatile and can play at centre-back or right-back. He offers consistency and solidity, and should be considered.
A player who will be considered even if he plays poorly is Manchester United’s Phil Jones. With only 10 games this season, he has struggled to stay injury free, but because he plays for Man United he will certainly be in Hodgson’s thoughts. Considering he was meant to be part of England’s defence for years to come, he has not reached that level yet.
One player who hasn’t been mentioned but could be is U21s defender Brendan Galloway. He has broke through at Everton in recent years, and has played 14 games in the Premier League and provided one assist. His time may not have come yet for England, but he would be a much better option than Jagielka, and could benefit from getting tournament experience. A wildcard, it would seem.