Everton in, Liverpool out switch vital if England are to bulldozer ‘Blue Wall’

Everton in, Liverpool out switch vital if England are to bulldozer ‘Blue Wall’

England manager Roy Hodgson should bring Ross Barkley in from the cold at Adam Lallana’s expense to make his side more dangerous against Iceland.

Given the Three Lions’ toils in oceans of benign possession against Russia, Wales and Slovakia during the group stage, Spain or Germany would have been more preferable round-of-16 opposition foes than the tiny north Atlantic nation.

Only Northern Ireland had lower average possession and pass-completion stats at the end of the group stage, with Strákarnir okkar retreating behind a heavily- manned and largely unambitious rearguard for much of their campaign to date.

The fear for England must be that they will struggle to create chances clear cut enough to make up for the lack of incisiveness that has dogged their progress.

Portugal were the sole nation to muster more shots than Roy Hodgson’s men during the mini leagues and Seleccao manager Fernando Santos counts the world’s most ball-greedy player among their number.

That’s where Everton’s Barkley, 9/2 to net against Iceland, comes in (and Liverpool’s Lallana checks out).

It’s true that Hodgson hasn’t given the Toffees tyro a sniff so far, despite making six changes against the Slovaks, while the former Southampton man has been one of England’s more consistent players.

However, Lallana – one of those guilty of wasting good chances against Russia – has yet to find the net in 26 games for his country and struck just seven times in 49 appearances for the Anfield side last season.

In terms of shooting threat he is nowhere near as dangerous as Barkley, who already has two goals for the Three Lions and netted 12 times in 48 club games during 2016/17.

Despite playing in far more dysfunctional team than the Liverpool man he also created 11 strikes for teammates last term, compared to Lallana’s eight.

Barkley may be less trustworthy and far more mercurial at this stage of his career, but he is also more likely to make something happen than the man he must replace.