Although England’s fans are smarting from another rather hasty tournament exit, there were some Three Lions players whose Euro 2016 displays offered much encouragement for the national team’s future.
With World Cup qualification next on the menu, Roy Hodgson’s successor may well look to these three men as key figures in negotiating the road to Russia 2018.
Adam Lallana – Liverpool
Lallana arrived in France off the back of his best domestic campaign since making the switch from Southampton to Liverpool in 2014.
Seemingly reinvigorated under the management of Jurgen Klopp, the Three Lions were the big beneficiaries in the group stages, as the 28-year-old sparkled.
Lallana’s natural ability has always been abundantly clear, but the forward’s application both in terms of creativity and his tireless work rate, made him arguably England’s player of the tournament.
Only three players received more passes in the final third than the man who created four chances, despite Lallana not featuring in the final game against Iceland.
Danny Rose – Tottenham
Having made the PFA Team of the Year, Rose was clearly a player on the up ahead of Euro 2016, though he was largely untested on the international scene earning only four caps prior to his maiden tournament appearance.
Rather than freeze on the grand stage however, the Spurs left-back simply translated his excellent seasonal form across his three starts in France.
Rose was diligent and cultured in defence, while providing attacking dynamism alongside club teammate Kyle Walker on the opposite flank.
The full-back touched 90 per cent on successful passes in the final third and led England in interceptions.
Chris Smalling – Manchester United
A pillar in an ever-changing United defence in the season just gone, Smalling was a commanding presence and one of only three to have completed all four games.
No England player won as many aerial duels, completed more successful tackles or recovered the ball as often as the former Fulham centre-half.
Jose Mourinho will be glad to have Smalling within the Old Trafford ranks and judging by Euro 2016 the 26-year-old has many more tournaments left in him.
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