Roy Hodgson backs Danny Drinkwater to show Leicester form for England
Published 17/03/2016 | 23:11
Roy Hodgson is confident Danny Drinkwater will replicate his exceptional Leicester form when handed his England debut this month.
The 26-year-old midfielder has been a key driving force in the Foxes' remarkable campaign and was rewarded on Thursday by joining Jamie Vardy in the national set-up for the first time.
Drinkwater last represented his country at Under-19 level when still a prospect at Manchester United, who, after several loans, sold the midfielder to then-Championship side Leicester in January 2012.
Nobody could have predicted the subsequent individual and collective rise at the King Power Stadium, but Hodgson believes international recognition is thoroughly deserved.
"I've got nothing to say that you haven't seen or the world of football hasn't seen," the England boss said.
"He and (N'Golo) Kante have provided an incredible central axis in the Leicester team. I think they've got a very, very high work-rate and their ability to cover the ground has been very good.
"Drinkwater has been a good outlet in terms of the passing, received a lot of balls from the back and he's kept the game moving, increasing or decreasing the tempo where necessary.
"He's capable of spreading the play with long passes and he's even chipped in with a few goals, although I don't think he sets himself up as a goalscorer.
"The way they play, if Drinkwater was bombing forward then Kante would have a lot of work to do on his own because they play with two wide players.
"Really, we've just been impressed with the qualities that he's shown with Leicester. We think they are qualities that could quite easily be transported to an international stage.
"(He has) 10 days when he works us, he is in training with us, he will be playing a game if not two. Let's wait and see.
"But he'll be playing a game. I wouldn't bring him here to keep him on the bench for the two games, so he'll have a chance to show it. Afterwards, we'll have a better idea."
With Michael Carrick rested and Jonjo Shelvey overlooked, Hodgson is looking forward to seeing how Drinkwater copes with the "interesting test" of facing Germany and Holland.
Central midfield is a key position for England and defender John Stones has even been considered there in the absence of Jack Wilshere.
The oft-injured Arsenal midfielder has been sidelined since breaking his fibula on the eve of the current campaign - the latest in a long list of injury problems he has had to contend with.
"I'm not prepared to say, 'He will only be selected if (he plays a certain amount matches)'," Hodgson said of Wilshere.
"He will be selected (for Euro 2016) if I think he's fully fit to go, capable from the very first minute of taking part in our training sessions and playing the preparation games.
"In conversations with him and his club manager, we've all agreed there's nothing to fear about with him. He will always be Jack Wilshere.
"The big question with players coming back from injury is always the very simple one: are we talking about the player we know or a different player?
"That's something you can never 100 per cent put your finger on, but with Wilshere, you must remember, I think in four successive games he was selected or honoured as man of the match.
"Now, we've had to say goodbye to him for a long time through injury, but you can't blame me for wanting to welcome him back into the fold if he's fit and if he's Jack Wilshere because that Jack Wilshere we saw was our man of the match on so many occasions."