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Roy Hodgson Puts Faith in Youth With Provisional England Squad for Euro 2016

England boss Roy Hodgson has named his provisional 26-man squad for this summer's European Championships, with the inclusion of Marcus Rashford providing the greatest surprise.
Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

England boss Roy Hodgson has named his provisional 26-man squad for this summer's European Championships, with the inclusion of teenager Marcus Rashford providing the greatest surprise.

The 18-year-old Manchester United striker has scored four goals in 10 Premier League appearances this term, and makes the squad ahead of in-form veteran Jermain Defoe.

Youth over experience is a theme throughout the squad: only four of the 26 are in their thirties, with captain Wayne Rooney the elder statesman at 30 years and seven months. Significant names missing from the provisional squad include Theo Walcott and Phil Jagielka.


Spurs and Liverpool are the best represented clubs in the squad, with each contributing five players, followed by the two Manchester sides with three apiece. Chelsea and Arsenal have just one player each – as many as Championship winners Burnley.

Roy will need to trim this squad down to 23 before 31 May, meaning a trio of players will miss out.

Images via @England on Twitter

No shocks here. Joe Hart has been England number one for almost six years and will be the starting goalkeeper in France this summer. Fraser Forster of Southampton provides a more than capable backup, while Tom Heaton is probably just happy to be on the plane. The Burnley keeper makes the squad after Jack Butland fractured his ankle during England's friendly win over Germany and is the only man who played Championship football this term to get the nod from Roy

There's also nothing remarkable about the defensive selection, except perhaps for the decision not to take veteran Phil Jagielka – though Everton's frailties at the back this season surrey didn't help. When it comes to team selection that might also count against John Stones, so you'd expect Smalling and Cahill to start at centre-back. Take your pick either side of them. But, with only seven defensive players named, it's unlikely any of these will be dropped for the final 23.

It's among the midfielders we're likely to see omissions, with 11 players named here. The more unexpected are Man City squad player Fabian Delph, Leicester's Danny Drinkwater, recently-relegated Andros Townsend, and the injury-hit Jack Wilshere. At least two of them are likely to be left at home (barring injuries elsewhere).


Townsend's late-season form at Newcastle has earned him a shot, while Wilshere – who played just one full game for Arsenal this term – has a chance to prove his fitness. 20-year-old Dele Alli was playing League 1 football this time last season, but is almost certain to make the final cut. Eric Dier can also provide cover in defence.

England's most discussed position is striker. In Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy, Hodgson can call upon a pairing who've netted 49 goals between them this term. However captain Wayne Rooney is almost certain to start, despite patchy form, while Roy is a big admirer of Daniel Sturridge. Rashford is a surprise inclusion, though he's a candidate to be cut and few will criticise the decision to at least give the promising 18-year-old a shot. Jermain Defoe scored 15 goals for a very poor Sunderland side, but there's no international recall for the 33-year-old.