The centre midfield position has been a slight problem position for the England national team over the last few seasons. With the considerable injuries occurring to players in this area, notably Jack Wilshire England has really been left short and lacking quality in this position. Michael Carrick is regarded so highly by Manchester United and by fans alike but his age and priorities now seems to be against him when it comes to England. Teammate Phil Jones has played in this area for England but like so often playing for Manchester United he looks out of his depth. With Fabian Delph joining Manchester City and getting injured twice so far into the season question marks will be on him as to whether he would be fit enough to play and will he get enough game time to merit a place within the squad for the upcoming Championships in the summer. Jonjo Shelvey, James Milner and James Henderson look the top three centre midfielders set to join the squad in the summer though they would need one or even two more players who could really emerge for the country and stake a claim for a place in this position. From the start of season there have been 4 centre midfielders who could really give Roy Hodgson an alternative in this position.
The West Ham captain has been a first team player now for eleven years. Not seen as a glamorous midfielder but Noble has a very intellectual knowledge of the game. His positional awareness to be in the right position at the right time is the strongest element of his game, though he is a tidy footballer who keeps the ball well, he is also considered somewhat of a penalty expert. Good on a dead ball and good without the ball he would cover areas in the midfield that right now England does seem to lack. Many pundits and football ‘experts’ have been campaigning for Noble to be given a chance, so far into his debut season as captain he is meriting a call up by his country and would do Roy Hodgson no harm to give the Hammer a chance.
When Mauricio Pochettino played Eric Dier in the holding midfield berth against Manchester United on the opening day of the season, many including myself would not have thought he would be having the impact he is having. Considered a future centre half Dier has the versatility of being able to cover various positions though so far into this season his strongest displays have been in the holding midfield position. At 21 Dier is a young player who will only get better, and would really give Roy Hodgson a chance to take a look at a future England team, possibly trying Eric Dier playing in front of Stones and Smalling for a friendly. Versatility in the modern game isn’t seen too often, one that shouldn’t be turned down straight away by Roy Hodgson.
With Jack Wilshire’s injury in the last England squad, Jack Cork was considered to be one of the replacements for Wilshire. Jack Cork is 26 years of age now and since his move to Swansea from Southampton his exposure to regular first team football has made him one of the most consistent centre midfielders in the league. His ability to do a number of roles in the centre of the midfield gives the England manager options, his control of a midfield stands out and his ability to dictate a game from in that position. Cork had one of the top pass completion percentages in the league last season; this is a part of the game England could really benefit from. With Shelvey getting his call-up recently, Jack Cork could be the latest Swan to join up with the England squad.
Dele Alli would be considered an outsider to get a call up to this England squad, but he has shown his great promise so far at Tottenham. Already netted his first goal for the club Alli has grown in stature and is becoming a regular first team player even with the injuries to the Tottenham midfielders currently. Alli has not looked out of place in the Premier League despite learning his trade in the lower leagues in England with the MK Dons. His ball retention and control is of a player beyond his years and most recently he showed against Man City he would not be bullied out of games by the big boys. Dele Alli is learning a lot from the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino and his discipline will improve along the way, carded four times already in the league, this may be his biggest problem in the top division, but certainly he shows fight and hunger, exactly what England need. If Alli keeps playing the way he has been of late it might be very difficult for Roy Hodgson to turn a blind eye to the talented Spurs midfielder.