England played two friendlies in the ongoing international break, one each against the reigning world champions Germany and three-time World Cup finalists Netherlands.
In the first game, the Three Lions came from two goals down against Germany at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium to get a remarkable 3-2 win with a goal apiece from Tottenham Hotspur starlets Harry Kane and Eric Dier and Leicester City sensation Jamie Vardy.
On 29th March at the Wembley Stadium, Vardy put his side ahead in the 41st minute but England couldn’t hold on to their advantage and eventually lost 2-1 against the Dutchmen.
Through the course of the two games at least one thing was apparent about the English side: their attack is much better than defence.
The lack of an authoritative centre-back in the mould of John Terry or Rio Ferdinand was very apparent. Everton defender and Chelsea target John Stones still lacks maturity and is prone to commit a mistake or two in his, at times, misguided attempts at playing out from the back and he clearly lacks a commanding partner in defence to guide him.
However, if England can outscore their opponents, they have nothing much to worry about. And in that quest they plenty of options going forward.
Apart from Kane and Vardy – the outstanding strikers in the Premier League this season – they also have the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney.
The veteran striker has struggled with poor form this season, scoring just seven goals from his 22 Premier League games. He has missed the last four league games due to an injury, which also saw him miss the two friendlies.
The way England performed in attack it has raised serious questions about Rooney’s place in the first team once he is back to full fitness. England boss Roy Hodgson, who is known to be loyal to his players, has refuted the notion that he would be keeping his captain out of the team.
“Wayne, I repeat, is our captain”, the England boss has said.
“He has captained the team extremely well these past two years and taken us through a qualification campaign where we had complete success, ten wins out of ten, so it doesn’t please me too much when it is suggested that the moment he gets injured and doesn’t play he deserves to be jettisoned in some way.
“He certainly doesn’t deserve that and when he comes back and is fit again he is going to be putting enormous pressure on these players, just as these players have been putting enormous pressure on him. That’s the situation we are looking forward to”, he concluded.
It appears certain that Rooney will be an automatic selection in the first team, which would mean leaving one of Vardy or Kane out and that may just spell trouble for England considering the way the duo have performed both for their respective clubs and as a pair for the Three Lions.