Jack Wilshere to be named in Roy Hodgson's 23-man England squad for Euro 2016
Roy Hodgson will select Jack Wilshere in his 23-man England squad for Euro 2016 this week, in the hope that the Arsenal midfielder can prove his fitness in the three pre-championship friendlies, despite having played just six minutes of first team action so far this season.
Wilshere, 24, made a substitute’s appearance against Sunderland on 24 April, but remained on the bench in the 1-0 win over Norwich City last weekend. He had surgery on his left fibula in September and it has been a long road back for the midfielder who was also missing with injury for most of the final three months of the season in the build up to the World Cup finals two years ago.
Such is Hodgson’s faith in the midfielder, however, that he is prepared to let him prove his fitness in the friendlies England have against Turkey, Australia and Portugal. Wilshere’s last starts in competitive football were for England at the end of last season against the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia, the latter of which he scored his first two goals for his country.
Hodgson will meet with coaches Ray Lewington and Gary Neville, as well as his medical staff on Tuesday to put the finishing touches to his squad announcement for Euro 2016 which he will make at Wembley Stadium on Thursday. He will name a squad of 23 well ahead of the Uefa official deadline of May 31 as well as up to six stand-by players, some of whom many join up with the squad initially.
Wilshere’s decisive performance at the base of the diamond in the critical Euro 2016 opening qualifier against Switzerland in September 2014 figures highly in Hodgson’s thinking when it comes to the Arsenal man’s status in the side. Against Slovenia, Wilshere played in the centre of a midfield three and Hodgson would ideally like to start him in that position.
Arsenal play Manchester City away on Sunday and Wilshere, who has figured in the club’s Under-21s side in his comeback from injury, will hope to get some more game time. Last season he missed five months out from the end of November to the beginning of March with a ligament injury to his left ankle.
The Football Association’s medical team has visited Liverpool in the past week to check on the fitness of Jordan Henderson who has been recovering from a knee ligament injury sustained against Borussia Dortmund on April 7. Jurgen Klopp has said that the midfielder will not be fit for the Europa League final on May 18 but will be back in time for the European championships.
Hodgson and his staff will have to make a decision on whether they can afford to take two midfielders recovering from injury into the tournament. Hodgson will also have to make a decision on which of his regular defenders to leave out. The England manager will take five strikers – Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge – and just seven defenders.
That means he may take just three specialist full-backs, with potentially Kyle Walker or Danny Rose missing out. Or he may opt for just three specialist centre-backs, leaving out Phil Jagielka, and relying on cover from the likes of Eric Dier in that position. Theo Walcott looks almost certain to be named among the stand-by players. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has already been ruled out with injury.
Gareth Southgate will also name his squad on Thursday for the Under-21s Toulon tournament, which takes place at the end of May. His selections will be made in consultation with Hodgson. The Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford will be in Southgate’s squad.