Another competition has come and gone and England have again disappointed their fans with a dismal display in France and this one might be the most embarrassing of all of them. A 2-1 humiliating loss to Iceland in Nice on Monday sent the Three Lions crashing out of the tournament in the last 16 stage, following which a dissection of each and every player’s performance has started. England manager Roy Hodgson resigned from his post just few minutes after the referee blew the final whistle in Nice. He will accompanied by Gary Neville out of the exit door.
It was clear from the start that Tottenham players were going to be key to Hodgson’s plans this summer. Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier all started for England against Russia on match day one. However Kane was largely anonymous for the duration of their stay in France, which prompted many pundits to demand his exclusion from the starting XI. Kyle Walker and Danny Rose both started brilliantly but soon faded away and were particularly poor against Iceland. Dier who started the tournament with a bang, endured a frustrating night in Nice, where hardly anything worked for him. The only positive that came out of their stay was the performance of youngster Dele Alli.
Here’s how England’s Spurs players performed in France.
The 22 year old defensive midfielder was dropped by Gareth Southgate last summer for the under 21 Euros, however the Tottenham player took his chance brilliantly with the senior squad in France. He excelled defensively in the 1-1 draw with Russia and showed confidence and technical quality by scoring a brilliant free kick. Against Wales he was a bit sloppy but recovered well against Slovakia in England’s last group game. Although he was largely ineffective against Iceland, Dier was England’s best player on the field and is likely going to be a crucial player for the country in the coming years.
Walker was chosen ahead of Nathaniel Clyne for the right back spot and he duly repaid the faith put him with strong displays against Russia and Wales. However his problems came back to surface against Iceland has he switched off and was caught napping for the winning goal. Like most of the players, Walker’s form dipped as the tournament went on, he was named by many football publications in the team of the group stage.
Rose was brilliant against Russia and Wales, although he was guilty of being too slow for Russia’s equalizer at the end. During the whole tournament he offered a quality outlet on the wings and got forward at will. Just like his teammates, he struggled defensively against Iceland, though he did draw several fouls in dangerous positions. Unfortunately for England, his performance wasn’t enough to drag the country over the line.
There were fears regarding Alli’s temperament going into the tournament, however in the end the expectations with the youngster proved to be too much as he struggled to assert his authority. His link up play with Kane that was admired all season long went missing during crucial moments. There were glimpses of his prodigious talent — his instinctive half-volley against Iceland, for example — but given time and space, Alli looked short of ideas and unsure of his role.
Billed as England’s leading light and a potential Golden Boot winner, Kane will begin have to work hard during his time off to prove his doubters wrong again next season, after a disastrous tournament in France. It was reported that he might be suffering from fatigue after playing 44 matches for Tottenham last season. During the final moments of the match against Iceland, he looked short on confidence and bereft of energy.