Daniel Sturridge described scoring the match winner for England as “a brilliant feeling.” England were set to fall into a tough qualification fight as they battled with Wales on Thursday in the second round of the Euro 2016 tournament until Sturridge’s 92nd-minute goal.
The victory over Wales lifted The Three Lions to the top of the group with Wales and Slovakia in second and third place respectively.
Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale scored the first goal for the Welsh team sending fans in wild jubilation, considering the history between both sides. However, after the break Vardy equalized giving England hope as a loss would have almost ended their campaign, before Reds forward Sturridge scored the crucial goal to give England maximum points.
Manager Roy Hodgson received commendations for his brilliant substitution that made all the difference in a game where England underperformed again.
After the game, Sturridge was excited to have had his chance. “I’m grateful to the gaffer for allowing me to score and it’s a beautiful feeling to represent your country in the rivalry against another great country. It’s a brilliant feeling. It’s crazy. It’s only one more game in the group so we mustn’t get too excited. To experience this atmosphere and togetherness is an amazing feeling,” the forward who recovered from an injury going into the tournament added.
Sturridge missed the first game as he was out on the bench. When he was asked if he should be included in light of his performance, he said that would be left for the manager to decide as his primary concern is to always deliver when called on.
Bale was very disappointed with the end score line after initially lifting the team through the free kick in the 42nd minute. He added that he was proud and went on to talk about their next game. “We still have one more game to go and the tournament’s not over yet. We’ll keep fighting all the way. It wasn’t a great game but we’re still in the thick of things and we’ll keep fighting to qualify,” he added.
Sturridge may be expected to start against Slovakia, and another name on the teamsheet will be Jack WilshereHe has become the preferred choice to Dele Alli, who has not really dictated the pace of the game as fans wanted him to. Jack Wilshere is set to be the player repping the Gunners with the ongoing injury concerns and form holding back several Arsenal stars including Kieran Gibbs, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Wilshere had his own injury concerns without many games for Arsenal to prove his fitness and form ahead of the tournament.
The only representative in the Roy Hodgson’s squad from Arsenal is now set to play ahead of Dele Alli. The young Tottenham midfielder has taken his place in the last two games but the English tactician wants Wilshere to start in the crucial match against Slovakia as they would love to top the group to get a less competition in the next stage.
Wilshere is reported to be pleased at the prospects of taking over, especially now that England are topping the table. The team which was dominated by the talented crop of Spurs players was a nice idea but with the formula not working, the team needed to make changes. There are reports that with the fitness Wilshere has gained over time during the tournament, he will start ahead of Alli.
On the other hand, many have called for the dropping of Sterling in the next game after missing several opportunities in the last two games. He moves the ball forward but loses it easily to the opposition, stalling counter attacks that could have led to goals. He lost a very clear tap-in chance in the game against Wales.
We’ll see what Roy does next…