Many of the stand out performers of the 2015-16 Premier League season will be playing in their first major international tournament and are relatively fresh to their respective international teams. While the likes of Vardy, Kane, Payet and Kante are not yet considered mandatory picks, the British based players in Group D who may be integral to their country’s chances are familiar faces; established experienced performers who will be expected to step up and lead their countries to (relative) glory.
The Czech captain is the one undoubted star player in a team that prioritises organisation over the style of the Nedved led side of the ‘90s. However, they did finish above (a poor) Holland in qualifying, and it is good the see the Czechs back on the international scene. This could conceivably be Cech’s final Euros and he will have a chance to atone for the uncharacteristic, fatal clanger that occurred against Turkey in 2008, when the teams meet again in their final group game.
David de Gea
David de Gea has of course been Manchester United’s player of the season three times in a row. Indeed, his form has been such that he may have been one of their better players even if Utd had been any good since Fergie retired. Although he is undoubtedly one of the best keepers in the Premier League (even if Hugo Lloris has this writer’s vote!) it is not certain that he will even start for Spain. However, you would feel that if Spain are to give themselves a chance of winning the tournament, Vicente Del Bosque will need to consign Iker Casillas to a reminder of the glorious past, rather than the embodiment of an uncertain present. Sex scandal aside, de Gea should be starting against the Czech Republic.
Spain’s El Mago had a 2015/16 much like his club; while Manchester City were dragging themselves into a disappointing 4th place in the league, Silva struggled with injury and gave his worst return of appearances and goals as a City player. However, he still contributed a significant number of assists and during the Euros he will again have the opportunity to link with Iniesta, Fabregas and Busquets. There will be pressure on Silva to perform as he takes the role of elder statesman following the retirement of Xavi and the decline of Casillas. MeanwhileLuis Vasquez and Koke are all in contention should Silva not improve upon his domestic form and conjure some chances for the much sought after Alvaro Morata.
Andrew, The Sweeper Football Blog