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A ‘Best XI’ Of Players Not Going To Euro 2016

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL - JUNE 15: Karim Benzema of France celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match between France and Honduras at Estadio Beira-Rio on June 15, 2014 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Euro 2016 kicks off in anger at the Stade de France on June 10th, but some of Europe’s top players will have to watch it at home on their televisions.

There can, of course, only be room for 552 players – and for whatever reason (injuries, suspensions, arguments with the manager etc.) some will miss out.

There are more players outside of this list, of course, but here is an XI made up of players who won’t be gracing the European Championships with their presence later this summer.

 

Goalkeeper:

Jack Butland (England)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Jack Butland of England gestures during the International Friendly match between England and France at Wembley Stadium on November 17, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The 23 year old Stoke goalkeeper was beginning to make waves both in the Premier League and internationally, to the point where Joe Hart’s long term future as England’s undisputed number one was looking in danger. Injury has ruled him out of Euro 2016, but it would not be a surprise to see him as England’s first choice by the time the World Cup rolls around in two years.

 

Defenders:

Right Back: Dani Carvajal (Spain)

Daley Blind of Holland, Daniel Carvajal of Spain during the International friendly match between Netherlands and Spain on March 31, 2015 at the Amsterdam Arena in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

A muscle injury picked up in the Champions League final last week has ruled the Real Madrid right back out of contention for Euro 2016. Having been omitted from the Spain squad for the World Cup in 2014, Carvajal looked to have finally become a part of Vicente del Bosque’s plans, but will instead have to look on as Juanfran and Héctor Bellerín fill that role.

Centre Back: Raphaël Varane

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 29: Raphael Varane of France in action during the international friendly match between France and Russia at Stade de France on March 29, 2016 in Saint-Denis near Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

The 23 year old Real Madrid centre back has forged a reputation as one of the brightest young defenders in Europe, and shone in the World Cup in 2014. Was guaranteed to be partnering Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the French defence, but injury means he will instead have to take some solace from the fact that he will be a key component of this France team for years to come.

Centre Back: Vincent Kompany (Belgium)

Vincent Kompany of Belgium during the UEFA EURO 2016 group B qualifying match between Belgium and Israel on October 13, 2015 at the Koning Boudewijn stadium in Brussels, Belgium.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

The Manchester City and Belgium captain has been a rock at the heart of both defences for a number of years, but an injury-hit season in which he only made thirteen appearances has led to doubts about his fitness going forward. As it is, Kompany will miss the tournament with a thigh injury, and while he is a massive loss for both club and country, both may be starting to work on long term contingency plans.

Left Back: Layvin Kurzawa (France)

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: Layvin Kurzawa of France looks on during the international friendly match between France and Sweden at the Stade Velodrome on November 18, 2014 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Signed by PSG for €23m last summer, Kurzawa was warned by France manager Didier Deschamps that not playing regularly could impact his chances of going to Euro 2016. In the end, that is exactly what happened – thirteen appearances for the champions were not enough to make the squad. Still one for the future, but should have been one for the present.

Midfielders:

Centre Midfield: Andrea Pirlo

FLORENCE, ITALY - JUNE 10: Andrea Pirlo looks on before an Italy training session at Coverciano on June 10, 2015 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Antonio Conte’s reasons for not picking Pirlo or Sebastian Giovinco speak volumes about the level he considers the MLS to be at, but given the fact that Italy are facing something of an injury crisis in central midfield, Pirlo’s exclusion is mystifying. Though the former Juventus player is now 37, age should not really come into it – he was never the most sprightly player to begin with.

Centre Midfield: Marco Verratti (Italy)

TURIN, ITALY - MARCH 31: Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the international friendly match between Italy and England at the Juventus Arena on March 31, 2015 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

The heir apparent to Pirlo’s role in the Italy setup, this was set to be Verratti’s time to shine on the international stage. The 23 year old has failed to recover from a sports hernia in time, and through the loss of both the PSG midfielder Claudio Marchisio, the Italian midfield suddenly looks a lot more vulnerable.

Left Wing: Marco Reus (Germany)

KAISERSLAUTERN, GERMANY - MARCH 25: Marco Reus of Germany celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the International Friendly match between Germany and Australia at Fritz-Walter-Stadion on March 25, 2015 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Having missed Germany’s World Cup success of 2014, Marco Reus would have been hoping to play a big role in Germany’s Euro 2016 campaign. Unfortunately, his fitness has once again become an issue, and as such he has been left out of Jogi Löw’s 23 man squad due to “serious health problems.”  Though he remains a fantastic player, these injuries are preventing him from making an impact at the highest international stage.

Right Wing: Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 13: Netherlands players Arjen Robben scores the third Dutch goal during the friendly International match between Wales and Netherlands at Cardiff City Stadium on November 13, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Robben is not missing out to injury or omission from the squad, rather it is his his nation’s failure to qualify for the tournament which means he will be staying at home. Though the 32 year old Bayern winger has not featured for his club since March and is patently not fit, his importance to the national team means that he almost certainly would have been named in Danny Blind’s 23 man squad.

Forwards:

Striker: Diego Costa (Spain)

OVIEDO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 05: Diego Costa of Spain reacts during the Spain v Slovakia EURO 2016 Qualifier at Carlos Tartiere on September 5, 2015 in Oviedo, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

The Chelsea striker had been warned by Vicente del Bosque that his attitude and disciplinary problems would cause issues when it came to national team selection, so it was no surprise to see that Diego Costa had been left out of the Spain squad. Still a very talented striker, however it has never really seemed to click with the 27 year old at international level.

Striker: Karim Benezma (France)

NICE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 8: Karim Benzema of France celebrates scoring a goal during the international friendly match between France and Armenia at Allianz Riviera stadium on October 8, 2015 in Nice, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Benezma’s exclusion from the French setup has caused all manner of problems for Didier Deschamps. Initially dropped by Deschamps in relation to charges of conspiracy to commit blackmail against international teammate Mathieu Valbuena, it had been confirmed in advance of the squad announcement that Benzema would not be considered.

However, both the player and Eric Cantona have alleged that Benzema’s exclusion is down to “bowing to pressure from racists”, while Benzema’s replacement in the starting eleven, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, has been roundly booed by French supporters calling for their main striker’s reinstatement.

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.

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