Football

Start Vardy and Sturridge against Slovakia, Roy

The clamour for supersubs Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge to start England's final Group B game against Slovakia next Tuesday has become deafening.

Football pundits Alan Shearer, Jamie Carragher, Harry Redknapp, Alan Smith, Ray Wilkins and Emile Heskey have all implored England manager Roy Hodgson to restore the Three Lions' goalscorers in Thursday's 2-1 win over Wales to the starting line-up for their next match.

Shearer, who is England's sixth-highest goalscorer with 30 goals from 63 caps, wrote in his column for the BBC's website: "I think Roy Hodgson will start with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge up front against Slovakia on Monday - he has to.

"This is not the end of Harry Kane's tournament and he still has a big part to play at Euro 2016 but, after the impact Vardy and Sturridge had off the bench to help England beat Wales, he will not start our final game in Group B...

"Sturridge gave us a bit of width at times against Wales, and he also dropped deep to get on the ball as well as trying to get into the area.

"He was basically given a free role to support Vardy and also weave some magic. His winner was a brilliant finish."

Former England defender Carragher added that Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling would likely be the players dropped for Vardy and Sterling.

He told Sky Sports: "I'm a massive Kane fan but he hasn't been his normal self at the tournament and I think it's better if Sterling comes out of the team."

Sterling lacking confidence, Kane shattered

Ex-England midfielder Ray Wilkins explained that Sterling should never have started England's Euro 2016 opener against Russia, let alone keep his place against Wales, because he is suffering from a crisis of confidence.

He said: "The personnel was wrong against the Russians. I think we'd have beaten them playing two up front and if we'd have done the same yesterday and gone after the Welsh then it wouldn't have been so dramatic, I feel, in the second half."

While Sterling's confidence is shot, former England striker Alan Smith believes Kane's form is fading because he is "shattered".

He told Sky Sports: "Kane looked shattered to me.

"I think he has a long, hard season at Spurs where they do demand 100 per cent every week. They get through an awful lot of running.

"I hope I'm wrong, but it looks like his legs have given up on him for this season."

Duo must surely start

Redknapp, who was seen as Hodgson's main rival when he got the England job in 2010, believes there is no way the Three Lions boss can justify not starting Vardy and Sturridge.

In his column for The Daily Telegraph, the former Spurs boss said: "Hodgson surely has to start against Slovakia with the team that finished against Wales, apart from Marcus Rashford, even though he was excellent.

"The substitutions changed the game but if you pick the right team from the start you don't have to make panicky decisions like that...

"I can't see how he can drop Jamie Vardy now because he's scored with one of his only touches in the game. His pace and sheer presence clearly unnerved Wales from the minute he was introduced. His movement pulls them all over the place.

"Sterling won't start again, I think Roy has to stick with Sturridge - who is a wonderfully unpredictable talent."

While ex-England forward Emile Heskey believes Hodgson should start with his supersubs, he is convinced that the 68-year-old is unlikely to stray too far from the first XI he settled on before the tournament.

"Roy is a really difficult position now. I'd say play Vardy and Sturridge.

"But it's likely that he's already chosen his starting XI."

- Wire Services

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