Kamara: If England want to stretch Spain, Vardy is the man
Ahead of England’s friendly against Spain on Friday, Roy Hodgson refused to confirm whether or not Jamie Vardy would be given a starting role in the centre of the pitch and that he “can play in any one of the three forward positions”.
Roy is probably saying that Vardy is not his first choice striker by any means, but to fit him into the squad he might have to play him slightly out of position.
Knowing Jamie Vardy like I do, he won’t have a problem with that. He’s having the best period of his career and looks top draw in the Premier League, but Roy’s comments probably mean that even though he is doing well at club level and is the flavour of the month it doesn’t mean he is England’s first choice front-man.
But for some games the Leicester man is the perfect outlet down the middle, you’ve got to take each game on its merits. If you want to stretch teams then you have got to play Jamie Vardy, it’s as simple as that.
If you want to play with your backs to goal and want to build from defence then you play Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney up top, that certainly won’t make you any weaker, but if you want to make the opposition defence run back to their own goal, then play Vardy.
We can always let him run his legs out for an hour and then change it up.
That’s the key to him and that’s what’s making him so successful this time round. He is doing what other players are not, by making it uncomfortable for centre-halves who want to sit and hold their position, he’s making them run back towards their own goal.
In the way that this modern game is played with defenders sitting deep and passing it about, being able to have someone who is able to put them under pressure and push them backwards is great for England.
Why not look at that and try to get Spain out of their comfort zone? With Jamie Vardy we have just the man to do the job.
Butland challenge is good, but no need to drop Hart
Jack Butland has been playing well for Stoke and it will be good if he gets his opportunity in the England squad, but to try and propel him in front of Joe Hart at this moment of time would be wrong.
The experience that Hart has got and the fact that he hasn’t done any harm in goal for England, means we need to be sticking with him between the posts.
Butland has the opportunity to now earn his place in the Euros squad and go there and learn from Hart when he’s out there.
His time will come, but for now we should just be appreciating that we have two goalkeepers that we’d be more than happy with wearing that number one shirt.
New role has seen Eric Dier flourish
Tottenham’s Eric Dier is another that could make a push for a regular spot in the squad.
Now he’s settled in the defensive midfield role, it looks to suit him. Sometimes in football it’s never straightforward. You can be a centre half at one club and another manager might look at you and decide that you are good on the ball and you would be better further up the pitch.
Mauricio Pochettino has played him in that holding role and it he looks to be tailor made for it. He’s been playing really well, he’s got a decent engine on him and two good feet and can put about plenty of challenges in that holding role. So I see no reason why he can’t push for a spot in the Euro 2016 squad.
For all these lads being given a chance now, these two games against Spain and France are massive, for both them personally and England in general.
They might be just friendlies, but they are hugely important to how we look going into next year and how we start to believe that we can challenge in the summer it’s important that we put together good performances now.
Roy hasn’t got an easy task on his hands, but he’s got to take this opportunity.
We have to take on bigger and better teams this time around. You only have to look at Stuart Lancaster to see that Roy’s in a privileged position.
After the Rugby World Cup, Lancaster was seen as simply having to go. Roy failed at the World Cup, but he has been given another opportunity and now he has to deliver.
We are not going to France next year to just make up the numbers. We have to go there thinking we have a chance.
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