We are just a couple weeks away from the start of Euro 2016. This weekend will see the start of the pre competition friendlies where hopefully some hints towards the likely starting 11's will become ever clearer.
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Last week my side looked like this
Darmian, Alba, Koscienlny, Bonucci, Ginter
Zielinski, Alli, Kroos, Cesc, Bernardo Silva
Kane, Griezmann (c), Muller
The week's news, aplay with my side and some research influenced how is looks a week later
The tournament ending injury to Raphael Varane has left me a little cautious towards my Hugo Lloris/ Laurent Koscielny double French defence plan. I still like the chances of France picking up a pair of clean sheets but not nearly as much as a week ago. Hopefully the friendlies to come with help filter out Didier Deschamps chosen starting 11 and allow me to sell Koscielny for a cheaper alternative. Information that Ginter hasn't made the German side means he had to go but I have kept with german defensive cover as his replacement. Jordi Alba is the next concern. The most expensive defender in the game is so for a very good reason. Alba offers you rewards at both ends of the pitch and will likely outscore similar priced midfield players. Still despite that selling Alba opens up funds I could use elsewhere. As its stands I have moved him back out.
I'm still more than happy with Toni Kroos and have yet to get tempted by Mesut Ozil's more obvious route into the german attacking returns. After little research of the group D sides and I'm no longer as sold on Cesc in midfield. There is always a group of death and Group D is tough no matter the quality Spain have. Uncertainty on his starting role is further muddying the waters. The news Alan Dzagoev is missing out for Russia has encouraged me on the England selections, if only for the group stage matches. In the friendly against Turkey we saw Deli Alli display his strengths and weaknesses. A great first touch and pass to put Kane through was followed by plenty of good play. The negative side is the devil in his game and the likely yellow cards or worse that will come when the pressure is on and/or the opponents make a point of winding him up. At 6.5m he is priced cheap enough that I still hold him.
Up front Harry Kane continues to look relaxed and a certain starting pick for England. The missed pen against Turkey may cost him the duty in the competition itself but when it comes to international competitions it seems very few Englishman can take a penalty - he is in great company. Had he been a 10m pick I may let him go but like Alli his price is balanced and too tempting.
The two spots alongside him are giving me more thought. Antoine Griezmann still holds his place with group games that look very good for him on paper. I do wonder though if he may be the creator of the chances rather than the finisher of them. To be honest I also have those thoughts on the brilliant Thomas Muller as well and for my 10m+ I want goals. Both are expensive and play in sides where goals could be shared around. While this will mean a greater chance of fantasy points perhaps I need to look at those forwards where they will be the clear focal point of an attack like Álvaro Morata, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Marc Janko, Cristiano Ronaldo or even the blog favourite Romelu Lukaku.
Most of all I hope to find a balanced side. One that provides points through the squad rather than targeting a trio of heavy hitters up top. I do have a strong gut feeling that this could be the tournament where we finally see Ronaldo hit the goal rate for Portugal that he has done so at club level for a number of years. For that reason I would still like to have the funds to bring him in for the Iceland game if he is proved fit for the game.
So far I have swapped Alba, Ginter, Cesc, and Alba out and brought in Hector, Alaba and Juanfran in. I'm still short of being able to swap Griezmann/Muller for Ronaldo with my transfer plan and nowhere near if Kane is the one to be swapped. I also have a couple of other midfield players I would like to move in, plus every time I play with my team I put Jordi Alba back in for Juanfran.
Time to play again!
So what about your side so far? We can't rate your Euro 2016 squad if we don't know who you have picked. Please put your side in the comments section and let us give our views on your side 2 weeks away, I promise we are a friendly bunch.