West Ham & Sunderland aces’ EURO 2016 exclusions evidence of big England problem

Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham. With the exception of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater, and Newcastle’s Andros Townsend, there is a sneaking suspicion that the club you play for might have a bearing on whether you were picked for EURO 2016.

Mark Noble and Jermain Defoe have been in excellent club form this season, but failed to make the squad. So why were they not picked?

West Ham fans, and Noble himself, can feel particularly aggrieved that the midfielder was overlooked ahead of two players that have either been completely or mostly injured this season, in the form of Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson.

Defoe has scored nine more goals than Marcus Rashford this term, and six more than Daniel Sturridge. He also has more experience of international games and tournaments than Rashford, Sturridge and Jamie Vardy combined.

When the topic turns to Noble, many Hammers fan will bristle. He has been one of the club’s most consistent performers this season as they secured a place in the Europa League.

He has scored more goals, created more chances and played more games than both Henderson and Wilshere put together.

So why has he not made the side? To be fair they are not the only high-profile exclusions from Roy Hodgson’s squad. Theo Walcott hasn’t been in vintage form, but there is also little to separate him from Andros Townsend. Looking at the season overall, it is in fact Walcott who comes out on top.

You may ask, why is this an issue? Surely the national manager wants to pick players from the top sides in the Premier League?

Yes, but exceptional players exist elsewhere in the league and can make a contribution to the national team. The key difference when making these decisions has been whether club form or international experience is most important in deciding who should make the cut and play at EURO 2016.

Let’s hope Roy Hodgson has got the big decisions right.

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