After totting up 106 caps for England and with 36 years on the clock, Frank Lampard has decided to call time on his international career, following the lead of fellow Three Lions stalwart Steven Gerrard.
Two of the finest central-midfielders the country has ever produced infamously could never produce the same sparkling standards they set at club level when paired together on the national scene and, after another disappointment-loaded tournament together, both have bowed out in fitting fashion.
With the proverbial slate scrubbed clean, Roy Hodgson must completely restructure his midfield for the forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, with a three-man set up key to improving the team’s flailing fortunes.
Possession maintenance and a lack of energy have long been major issues for England and picking a threesome capable of eradicating these flaws will definitely increase the country’s potential for success.
There’s plenty of talent up front and on the wings, so finding a midfield to compliment these qualities is key, but whom should the Croydon commandant turn to?
Jack Rodwell – 2/5 to play for England by June 2015
Gerrard proved in Brazil that he’s no holding-midfielder, but J-Rod has many of the attributes the very best in this particular business boast.
He has the physicality required to impose himself on opponents, yet his ability to retrieve the ball hasn’t compromised his prowess on it and, as his goal against Manchester United proved, he’s strong in the air too.
The former Everton trainee also has the pace to ensure England aren’t brutally exposed on the counter-attack as Gareth Barry was by Germany in the 2010 World Cup.
If he can stay fit for a long period, Rodwell would be the ideal candidate to provide the midfield base.
Arsenal’s multi-purpose, all-action middleman will provide a combination of energy and pace that his predecessors lacked.
The goal threat he poses is somewhat less significant than what Gerrard and Lampard offered, but deploying midfielders with an eye for goal did the team no favours in the past.
A focus on creation, not net-rustling, should be the direction the England tacticians take going forward and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s dribbling acumen would provide an element that’s been absent from their engine room for many a season.
If conjuring, not notching, is the aim of the game henceforth, Liverpool string-puller Henderson can’t be ignored.
He averaged 1.7 key passes per outing last season, completing 87.1 per cent of his passes and assisting an impressive seven goals.
In addition to stellar passing stats, he also provides some valuable leadership qualities that the Three Lions will no doubt miss following Gerrard and Lampard’s retirement.