5 Players England Should Call Up for Euro 2016 Qualification

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2014

5 Players England Should Call Up for Euro 2016 Qualification

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    Now England's World Cup is over, attention is switching to the Three Lions qualifying for Euro 2016.

    They kick-start their campaign against Switzerland in September, with their other rivals including Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino.

    Roy Hodgson's main concern will be how he continues to evolve his team. Will the England manager be ruthless in saying goodbye to the old guard, or will he still lean on the likes of Steven Gerrard to help England on their road to France?

    The key will be to select a team with the bigger picture in mind. Come the tournament in 2016, for instance, Gerrard will be 36 and unlikely to be a regular starter, so Hodgson will need to build a squad capable of competing should England qualify.

    With that in mind, Bleacher Report highlights five Englishman who should be drafted into England's Euro 2016 qualifying squad.

John Stones

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    John Stones is one for the future, although that time is right now for England.

    After the positives that came out of their World Cup campaign, it would be folly to go back on the principles that saw England blood their youngsters in Brazil.

    Roy Hodgson needs to speed up the process, building a squad not only for 2016 in mind, but beyond.

    Stones is among the players who will form England's long-term future and with a group that England are rightly expected to breeze through, it's the ideal opportunity to give more able youngsters international experience.

    Stones is familiar with the England set-up, too, having been part of the squad to travel to the U.S. ahead of the World Cup, finally returning home when Hodgson trimmed his numbers to 23.

    Now all he needs is the chance to make his mark in defence, where England are looking weak on numbers.

Kieran Gibbs

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    Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs has three England caps to his name, yet had it not been for injury, that figure would should surely be higher.

    The 24-year-old remains a promising talent, but he needs to overcome the set-backs that have continued to impact his career for club and country.

    He is beginning to enter his prime and should his form hold up, he will be a serious threat to either Luke Shaw or Leighton Baines at left-back.

    He missed out on a World Cup spot, and now Ashley Cole has retired from international duty, Gibbs is a player who should be given serious consideration.

Jon Flanagan

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    Another player who was around the England squad ahead of the World Cup, Liverpool's Jon Flanagan deserves the chance to impress for his country.

    Glen Johnson hasn't done that throughout his international career, and while he remains relatively young at 29, the time has come for another player to be given a shot.

    Flanagan was among the many highlights of Liverpool's 2013-14 Premier League campaign, impressing in defence for Brendan Rodgers' team.

    Featuring at left-back, he was out of position, however, so the signs are good that Flanagan has what it takes to be vital for club and country in his more natural right-back role.

    Dislodging Johnson will be a challenge, of course, but there's no reason why Flanagan shouldn't be given the opportunity to do just that.

Jermain Defoe

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    Football snobs would have us think MLS is merely a retirement home for stars of the European game looking to earn one final pay day.

    It isn't, and the performance of Jurgen Klinsman's USA team at the World Cup has gone a long way to help dispel the myth.

    With a squad made up largely of MLS players, the USA qualified from their group at Brazil 2014, beating Portugal to second place and going through to the next round with Germany.

    It's helped outline the talent currently playing in MLS, where England's Jermain Defoe currently resides, turning out for Toronto FC.

    With England scoring just twice at the World Cup, they need to add goals to their encouraging performances, and Defoe is a man who knows how to find the net.

    In his first nine games for Toronto, he has already bagged eight this season, showing he hasn't lost his scoring touch.

    His record for England remains good, too, scoring 19 in 55 appearances for his country.

    There are young English strikers coming through who will find Euro 2016 is maybe too early for them, but in the meantime, England already have a proven goalscorer in Defoe who is more than capable of doing a job to support Daniel Sturridge in attack.

Andy Carroll

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    Now his injury problems are hopefully behind him, Andy Carroll will be looking to make an impression for club and country in 2014-15.

    His return to fitness last season helped West Ham United avoid a relegation dog fight, adding a physical edge to the Hammers in attack.

    It came down to Roy Hodgson selecting either Rickie Lambert or Carroll as England's third striker at the World Cup, with Hodgson rightly opting to select the former after his impressive season for Southampton.

    When on form, however, Carroll has shown he is more than a match for Lambert and gives England something different to what any of their other strikers offer.

    His aerial ability may also prove useful against the smaller teams in England's Euro 2016 qualifying group, with deep defensive lines expected as they look to salvage at least a point.

    Route one may not be the purists' preferred tactic, but needs must, and if the moment comes, Carroll will be effective from the bench.