With the Lions squad recently announced, we take a look at a potential British and Irish football Lions squad.
It is impossible to please every fan with these kinds of selections and is always open to opinion and discussion. The following squad consists of 25 players and tries to involve players from each of the five countries.
International form is taken into consideration rather than just domestic achievements with some players in the squad included despite being currently injured (thankfully they don’t actually have to play).
Versatility is also factored in for selection with a number of utility players named.
Joe Hart has faced heavy criticism over the past number of years but is ultimately a talented keeper still entrusted with the England number 1 jersey and sometimes the captaincy. Craig Gordon came back from a two-year hiatus to win Player of the Year in the SPL in 2015 impressing in the Champions League and internationally with his trademark reflexes.
Darron Randolph has also established himself as a top international keeper and as West Ham’s number one. Wayne Hennessy misses out as does Euro 2016 hero Michael McGovern who has failed to impress at Norwich. Jack Butland also deserves a special mention but does not make the team.
Seamus Coleman and Kyle Walker are the standout options at right-back with Nathaniel Clyne not far behind. England have an abundance of talented left-backs with very little between Ryan Bertrand and Danny Rose. Chris Brunt’s consistency, versatility and ability from set pieces edges him in with Scotland duo Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney just missing out.
Gary Cahill and Ashley Williams are two essential selections with the versatile Eric Dier and Johnny Evans the other centre-back options. Ben Davies covers both left and centre-back and is becoming a crucial player for the Welsh. Chris Smalling and Gareth McAuley are unlucky to miss out.
With an abundance of classy widemen available, Gareth Bale tops the list with the classy Adam Lallana also making the cut. James McClean has become Ireland’s talisman and Scot Oliver Burke who has stood out in the Bundesliga for RB Leipzig this season edges countryman Robert Snodgrass and England’s Raheem Sterling.
Euro 2016 star performers Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey are joined by Southampton’s Steven Davis and Dele Alli as the central midfielders. Ireland’s Robbie Brady covers several positions and is adept from set-pieces making him the utility midfielder in the squad. Ross Barkley, Darren Fletcher, Jordan Henderson, Harry Arter, Wes Hoolahan and Joe Ledley could arguably be alternatives selections in midfield.
Harry Kane is becoming one of the Premier League’s best strikers and has a strong all round game. His English compatriot Jamie Vardy was immaculate for champions Leicester last season and has the pace and finishing ability to hurt any team.
Shane Long is included with Kyle Lafferty, who has a fantastic international record, also making the cut. Jon Walters also misses out with the four named strikers more mobile options with Marcus Rashford possibly a harsh exclusion. Wayne Rooney, although not the force he once was, is an experienced option to have on standby.
A British And Irish Lions Football Squad:
Gordon (Scotland), Hart (England), Randolph (Rep. of Ireland)
Coleman (Rep. of Ireland), Walker (England)
Bertrand (England), Brunt (Northern Ireland)
Cahill (England), Williams (Wales), Evans (Northern Ireland), Dier (England), Davies (Wales)
Lallana (England), Burke (Scotland)
Bale (Wales), McClean (Rep. of Ireland)
Allen (Wales), Ramsey (Wales), Davis (Northern Ireland), Alli (England), Brady (Rep. of Ireland)
Kane (England), Vardy (England), Long (Rep. of Ireland), Lafferty (Northern Ireland)
Standby: McGovern (Northern Ireland), McAuley (Northern Ireland), Tierney (Scotland), Henderson (England), Snodgrass (Scotland), Rooney (England), Rashford (England)
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena