10 Decisions for Roy Hodgson to Make Before England's Euro 2016 Campaign

Rob Pollard@@RobPollard_Featured ColumnistJuly 7, 2014

10 Decisions for Roy Hodgson to Make Before England's Euro 2016 Campaign

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    There's little doubt England's World Cup campaign was a huge disappointment. In what was a fairly average group, they managed just one point and two goals, finishing bottom and eliminated inside a week of their campaign starting.

    Their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign gets under way in September with a trip to Switzerland, before October's doubleheader sees them take on San Marino at Wembley, before travelling to Estonia three days later.

    There's much for Roy Hodgson to consider, and here we look at 10 decisions he'll need to make before qualifying begins.

Who's His Best Left-Back?

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    Leighton Baines has more experience, but new Manchester United man Luke Shaw looks set to be England's first-choice left-back for years to come. The decision Hodgson has to make now is: Who starts Euro 2016 qualifying in that role?

    Baines' poor showing at the World Cup, much of which was caused by being horribly exposed because of England's narrow system, may well have accelerated Shaw's emergence as a starter. Shaw looks exceptional going forward, and if his move to United goes well, it's very likely he will overtake the Everton star in the pecking order.

Who Can Replace Glen Johnson?

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    One thing most observers of England agree on is that Glen Johnson, on current form, shouldn't be starting for his country. Only a lack of challengers means he's in possession of the right-back spot at present.

    Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are far from natural right-backs, Kyle Walker continues to underwhelm defensively when fit and Micah Richards needs to play regularly before he can be considered for England duty again.

    Nathaniel Clyne, Southampton's 23-year-old defender, has impressed over the last 12 months, and he will surely come into the reckoning for England's upcoming games.

A Partner Is Needed for Gary Cahill

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    In truth, the only defender who performed well in Brazil and whose position is secure heading into qualifying is Gary Cahill. He has improved dramatically under the guidance of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and is a surefire starter in Hodgson's side.

    Phil Jagielka, who struggled at the World Cup, is now 31 and surely heading for the exit door at the international level, so Hodgson needs to find a partner for Cahill quickly.

A Three-Man Midfield?

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    England, for far too long, have been outnumbered and out-passed in midfield by decent sides. Italy did it to them at Euro 2012, and, rather than learn his lesson, Hodgson made the same mistake again this time around.

    Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson were England's midfield two in Brazil, and both struggled to influence proceedings. It's time England played with a three-man midfield, including one holding player, if they are to improve their results against the best sides.

Do Gerrard and Lampard Have International Futures?

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    Gerrard and Frank Lampard finished England's final group game with Costa Rica together, but it's far from certain that will ever happen again.

    At 36, and with a move to MLS on the horizon, Lampard will struggle to be involved, while much will depend on Gerrard's club form after a poor World Cup. If he can continue to play the deep-lying role for Liverpool as well as he did last year, then maybe he has more left to give, but a decline in his performances at international level appears to have begun.

Where Does Walcott Fit In?

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    Theo Walcott, who injured himself in Arsenal's FA Cup third-round tie with Tottenham back in January, will return to training soon and will be expecting to win his place in the England side back.

    But with England's array of attacking talent, where will Hodgson fit him in?

    There's little doubt he's one of England's most potent weapons, with his blistering pace and ever-improving finishing making him lethal when on form, but finding a position for him may prove tricky.

Can a Role for Rooney Be Found?

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    One of the biggest problems facing Hodgson is the conundrum of Wayne Rooney's place in the side. Finding his best position has proven difficult, with a role on the left seemingly wasting his many talents.

    Getting him central is key, but if England do move to a three-man midfield, which surely they have to, the options for getting Rooney into a central role are limited still further.

    He has to play, though. He's England's best player.

Barkley Must Play

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    The performances from England's young players remains the only bright spot from this summer's World Cup campaign, and in Ross Barkley, Everton's 20-year-old midfielder, it's clear they have a prodigious talent on their hands.

    He has quick feet, a sharp brain, superb vision and skill and a wonderful range of passing. He's fearless in possession and always looks to make things happen. He is the most exciting thing to happen to English football in a very long time.

    Making sure he is more involved is now key to England's future.

England's Lack of Depth in the Striker Department Is a Concern

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    Daniel Sturridge has emerged as England's first-choice striker, with his movement and finishing marking him out as clearly the country's top marksman, but beyond him there's a staggering lack of depth.

    Hodgson must now pay close attention to the the start of this season and find himself some decent cover for the Liverpool man.

The FA Should Look at Hodgson's Position

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    After such a poor showing in Brazil, Hodgson should be looking long and hard at his own position.

    Assurances from FA chairman Greg Dyke arrived even before England had played their final group match (via Sam Wallace at the Independent), yet surely there must be discussions regarding his future.