Leeds United: Hodgson needs to pick his best team and use Vardy correctly, says Andy Ritchie

Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy
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LOOKING at England at Euro 2016, it seems clear that Roy Hodgson does not seem 100 per cent sure what his best team is.

Thinking ahead to Monday’s last-16 game with Iceland, does he play Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge or does he bring Harry Kane back in, who has looked a bit jaded and not played that well.

For me, the problem seems to be where to fit Vardy in. If you play Vardy down the middle, then do you have to play Sturridge left?

The thing is now we have to decide on the best side and system and work it out before Monday.

It’s difficult as ideally you would want Sturridge, Vardy and Kane to all be playing. The question is can Roy do it?

As a manager, I was a bit of a 4-4-2 man, although at the international stage, it seems that you have to play a little bit different now and managers have to wily and he must now come out with the right solution.

For me, we need to tailor it to get the best out of Vardy. With the chance he had against Slovakia when he was clean through, he would have taken that chance all day long in the Premier League.

But I just think with his pace, he offers us that extra dimension to run onto the ball and do that, which is great.

Personally, I would have been tempted not to mess about ahead of the Slovakia game as we knew we had to make sure we won the group and we obviously haven’t.

Although we have got away with it in the sense that we could have had Portugal and we have got Iceland.

It was a game which we probably should have won comfortably, but we still only had three or four really good chances and I felt that we should have been making more chances against them.

We have got exciting players and pace in the team and players who can create, as we showed in the other games. But I just think we played everything in front of the opposition, apart from one or two situations where we got behind Slovakia.

The strange thing is that everyone was worried about the defence ahead of the tournament and it has been the goalscoring which has really been the problem so far.

The good thing is that Wayne Rooney has looked fantastic in that midfield area, while Eric Dier has been a revelation and looks one of the players of the tournament so far for me.

Now its onto Iceland and while many will expect us to beat them, I still don’t think that game will be easy with the way that they have already fought to get into this final 16. It is a potential banana-skin.

They are a side who could certainly frustrate us and they are very good defensively and they are physically strong. Against Portugal, we might have had more openings, you don’t know..

But I know some people will probably we will really be thankful we have got Iceland.

It’s down to the nitty-gritty now and a one-game shoot-out and we just have to get the system and the way we want to play right on the day. There’s no excuses now and we have just got to have a go at them now.

While it could be a potential banana-skin, the team shouldn’t be thinking that. They should be thinking: ‘Right, get past these and we are in the quarters’.

Looking at the group stages overall, it has been a bit strange. I think the games have been more tactical than free-flowing.

A lot of teams have set themselves up to allow their opponents to attack them and then they hit them on the break. That is the way it has looked to me, but I have enjoyed it.

The fans have made it for me. Look at the Irish fans and on Monday night, the England fans were just awesome.

They never seemed to stop singing all the way through and were absolutely brilliant.

That part of it has been a success. I know we had all the rubbish with the Russians which was disgraceful and I think they were just there for the aggro and not for the tournament.

Wales were fantastic on the pitch against Russia, just awesome and they have got a great chance of going further.

Germany for me always have a chance.

I didn’t think they had particularly played that well, but were really good against Northern Ireland, whose goalkeeper, Michael McGovern played really well.

Spain for me still have a really good chance and the French have the home advantage.

But with the way the draw is, it still looks wide open.