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England’s fate will be made in Chelsea

Despite England beating Norway 1-0 on Saturday, something was definitely missing from a performance that can only be described as lacklustre.

As encouraging as it is that Roy Hodgson got off to a winning start against a side that England have struggled against over the years, the performance left a lot to be desired and lacked the spark that this country so desperately craves from its team.

Step in, the Chelsea boys. The Blues’ players were given time off after their Champions League heroics, but they will be welcomed back in to the squad for England’s sterner test against Belgium.

If names such as John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard are absent from the team sheet, any opposition will sleep a bit easier, and Norway certainly weren’t afraid of the Three Lions at the weekend.

Add the youth of Gary Cahill to the equation, who has the potential to hold down a regular starting position for club and country in years to come, and you’ve got an England team with a foundation of Chelsea players who now know exactly what it takes to be the champions of Europe.

In terms of allowing the team to gel, it will do England no harm in having three of the back four starting against Belgium, and indeed against France on June 11, already having played a whole season together at Chelsea.

Norway was a great opportunity for England’s fringe players to show new manager Roy Hodgson why they deserve to be in contention for a starting place against France in Donetsk.

In reality, it is difficult to see anything stopping the Chelsea quartet strolling back into the team on Saturday at Wembley and retaining their places for the tournament itself.

The experience, quality and form of the returning Stamford Bridge stalwarts could make a world of difference to an England side that may very well need them in weeks to come.

By Glen Walter


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