So far for England, the road to Euro 2016 has been smooth. The Three Lions are currently sitting at the top of Group E after victories over Switzerland and San Marino, and success against international minnows Estonia on Sunday would cement this position further. Thursday’s victory against the joint-lowest ranked international side, San Marino, was expected.
Similarly, Estonia, ranked 81st according to Fifa, have no noteworthy players to speak of and so are not considered much of a threat, despite their recent 1-0 win over Slovenia. England may therefore use this match to test out some fresh faces, especially with several young players in the squad to replace those injured. Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne has been called up for the first time and will expect playing time with Glen Johnson, Kyle Walker and John Stones all out injured. Arsenal’s left-back Kieran Gibbs and Swansea’s midfielder Jonjo Shelvey have been recalled to the squad and will also hope for some time on the pitch in an attempt to push their way into the squad permanently.
Indeed, England Manager Roy Hodgson said in a press conference that despite the fact he would not be making “wholesale changes”, he would use the game against Estonia “as a chance to see somebody else play”. The squad for Monday only includes three forwards as, once again, injuries have ruled out established first team players such as Daniel Sturridge. However, with Danny Welbeck in exemplary form for club and country, Wayne Rooney looking to add to his 41 international goals and Rickie Lambert perhaps hoping to force his way into the starting 11, there is no reason for the available strikers to underperform.
England should succeed on Sunday. Despite the injuries and changes made, the players still outclass Estonia in every position on the pitch. Anything less than a win in Tallinn will be seen as a major disappointment.