Good break, bad break: England's movers and losers in the international pause

Despite every international break feeling as lethargic as a post-Christmas dinner sloth, the latest two matches have given Roy Hodgson a good look at the men aiming to deliver England glory at Euro 2016 (stop sniggering at the back). So without further ado, here's who's probably gone up and down in the Three Lions chief's estimations...

Going up...

Harry Kane

You had to laugh when Kane scored after just over a minute of his debut, heading home his third touch in international football. Because what else could possibly have happened after the season he's had? He was quieter against Italy, but it was a dream first England outing to go with a dream season for the striker.

Danny Welbeck

It speaks to the quality of the performances Welbeck has put in for England of late that Hodgson could resist the clamour to start Kane against Lithuania and be completely justified. The understanding he has with Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling is hugely encouraging for Hodgson and England.

Michael Carrick

The Manchester United midfielder certainly seems to have a calming influence on the England side, and while he generally goes missing against the very best, it was notable how much more controlled the Three Lions were after he came on against Italy. Hodgson may have tagged Jack Wilshere for the deep midfield role, but Carrick has put his case forward at least.

Fabian Delph

Perhaps the biggest compliment that Delph can be paid is that it wasn't a surprise to see him in the starting XI for both games over this international break. He was quietly excellent against Lithuania, and while his passing was a little off against Italy, it will now be an eyebrow-raiser if he isn't in the squad next summer.

Nathaniel Clyne

From unused squad space-filler in October to England’s first-choice right-back by March. Clyne's rise to the No.2 shirt might, in all honesty, be more to do with the paucity of competition, with Glen Johnson injured and Kyle Walker unreliable, but it's still easy to see why he'll probably be the latest big-money sale from Southampton in the summer.

Going down...

Daniel Sturridge

Another injury, another game gone, and it must be worrying for Sturridge how little England missed him. Indeed, while only a complete collapse in form will see him omitted from the squad if/when England qualify for Euro 2016, it's currently tricky to see him displacing anyone in that front three.

Theo Walcott

Frankly he was pretty lucky to even be in the squad, given his lack of action for Arsenal recently, and he did little to repay Hodgson's generosity in Turin. Perhaps it's a little harsh to criticise him given that he looked exactly like a man who's barely played for a year, but he will have to break into his club side before thinking seriously about England.

Jordan Henderson

Will Steven Gerrard's heir apparent in the Liverpool side also follow his captain in the 'flattering to deceive for England despite being excellent in the Premier League' stakes? For all his fine play for Liverpool, it's tough to remember a truly first-rate international performance from Henderson, and while he'll still be a fixture for Hodgson, he will need to improve to justify it.

Phil Jones

The sight of Giorgio Chiellini, a 30-year-old centre-back not exactly famous for his quick feet, breezily skipping past Jones on Tuesday night must have been... disquieting for Hodgson. Jones is, we probably know by now, not a midfielder, but this particular snafu was in defence. Troubling.

Jack Wilshere

Though Hodgson's choice for the pivot of his midfield, it's tough to see how Wilshere is a better option in that position than Carrick at present. The Arsenal man, recovering from his latest injury, must have watched his rival's unfussy displays in that position and feared for his seat on the plane.

If the Euro 2016 plane left tomorrow...

Goalkeepers: Hart, Foster, Forster. 

Defenders: Clyne, Cahill, Jones, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Bertrand.

Midfielders: Carrick, Wilshere, Delph, Henderson, Milner, Barkley, Young, Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Forwards: Sterling, Rooney, Welbeck, Kane, Sturridge.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1