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5 Players England Should Axe Ahead of Euro 2016 Qualifying

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2014

5 Players England Should Axe Ahead of Euro 2016 Qualifying

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    The 2014 World Cup is over—well, for England, that is.

    While the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Holland, Germany and France are still going strong in South America, the Three Lions are at home licking their wounds, assessing the damage after a disappointing tournament.

    England left Brazil this week without a win to their name, losing 2-1 to Italy and Uruguay before bowing out with a goalless draw against Costa Rica.

    Roy Hodgson's job now is to plan for Euro 2016 and the upcoming qualification campaign.

    With a young, vibrant squad, there is hope England will be stronger for their experience this summer, but Hodgson is faced with a big task to continue rebuilding his team.

    Top of his list ahead of England's first qualifying match with Switzerland in September will be who to drop.

    Well, to make life easier for Hodgson, Bleacher Report selects five England stars who should face the chop after their World Cup display.

Glen Johnson

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    Felipe Dana/Associated Press

    If Glen Johnson's Brazil 2014 review was a school report card, it would read: "Must try harder and needs to improve his concentration."

    Johnson is a frustrating player. He seems to have all the attributes to make it at the highest level, but his concentration and lack of endeavour when it comes to defending often makes him look worse than he is.

    Going forward, Johnson does offer something on the right flank, but time and again, he is found out defensively, much to the peril of his teammates.

    England are rebuilding for the future and their defence is going to be a key area for focus. With that in mind, Johnson needs to be replaced as England are far weaker with him than they are without.

Steven Gerrard

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    There is going to be a big debate in the coming weeks over Steven Gerrard's role in this England team going forward.

    It's already started in the aftermath of England's disappointing World Cup, but with Gerrard already stating he needs time to decide whether or not he will continue to play on for his country, per The Independent, it's only going to intensify the longer his decision takes.

    Roy Hodgson should do him a favour and make the decision for him by dropping Gerrard from England's first post-World Cup squad.

    The common view is Gerrard's experience will prove invaluable to the younger generation as they get to grips with life on the international stage.

    Given England's qualification group for Euro 2016 contains Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino, it's difficult for that argument to hold weight.

    Other than the Swiss, with or without Gerrard, England should have enough talent within their ranks to overcome their other challengers.

    By including Gerrard, it will prevent a midfield partnership being formed between the likes of Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson—younger players who are the future of this team.

    Gerrard has had his time, now it's for others to take the team forward.

Frank Lampard

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard's age dictates it's time for him to bid farewell to international football.

    The former Chelsea man has been a great servant for his country, but as he has experienced at club level with the Blues, times change and England need to begin their rebuilding process now.

    His performance against Costa Rica in England's final World Cup group game showed he still has the ability to cut it at the highest level on occasion, but when the hustle and bustle of a league campaign is under way, the physical demands of adding international football to his schedule is too much to ask.

    Also, it's still a mystery as to where Lampard will be playing his club football next season. Will it be in MLS, England or elsewhere?

    If it's a league that remains competitive, there may be a small argument for Lampard to remain, but if he's playing to a lower standard we have seen throughout his career, an England place shouldn't be awarded to him.

    Come Euro 2016, Lampard will be 38. It's difficult to see him playing for England then, so now should be the end of the road.

    Let the youngsters have a chance to qualify and earn the right to play tournament football.

Phil Jagielka

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Phil Jagielka was horribly exposed at this summer's World Cup.

    England's defence was a major concern heading into the competition, and so it proved, with the Three Lions conceding four goals, scoring just twice.

    Jagielka's displays were not what we would expect and add to the notion that he isn't cut out for major international tournaments.

    His defensive partner Gary Cahill was guilty of his own errors at times, yet of the pair, Jagielka struggled most.

    There are other players coming through for England now, notably Jagielka's Everton teammate John Stones.

    England need to build a partnership that can last beyond Euro 2016 and now is the time to start developing it.

Rickie Lambert

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    It's a shame for Rickie Lambert that his World Cup experience lasted just six minutes after he appeared as a sub against Uruguay when England were chasing the game late on.

    Aged 32, Brazil 2014 will probably be his last shot at a major international tournament, and Roy Hodgson should pick his future squads with that in mind.

    England have other strikers who are younger and have time on their side.

    Lambert's former Southampton teammate Jay Rodriguez is just one of them, while Theo Walcott has the ability to play through the middle.

    There are others, too, including Andy Carroll, whom Lambert pipped to a place on the plane to Brazil.

    It's key England rebuild for their long-term future now and Hodgson must be ruthless in the decisions he makes.

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