By George Butler
England manager Roy Hodgson has selected five Yorkshiremen in his initial 26 man squad for this summer’s European Championship in France, including two hailing from Sheffield.
Sheffield born Kyle Walker and Jamie Vardy were announced along with John Stones, Danny Rose and James Milner from Yorkshire. The five have all be chosen by Hodgson in the squad that will face Turkey, Australia and Portugal in the warm-up friendlies before Hodgson selects his final 23 men for the group stages.
Jamie Vardy has been rewarded for scoring 24 goals this season which saw him spearhead Leicester’s charge to the title on his way to being named in the PFA Team of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year. Vardy was released by Sheffield Wednesday when he was 16 and had played non-league football until the age of 25.
Kyle Walker has starred at right back for Tottenham this past season and his worked his way back in to the squad, despite Hodgson favouring Nathaniel Clyne in the position during the qualifiers for the tournament. Walker joined Spurs from Sheffield United in 2009 after coming through the Blades academy.
Joining the Sheffield duo are Everton’s John Stones who was born in Barnsley, Tottenham’s Danny Rose from Doncaster and Liverpool midfielder James Milner who comes from Wortley in Leeds.
In his press conference this morning, Hodgson said “I believe in the squad and I believe we’ll do well. We go there with a desire to win the tournament.”
England will kick off their European campaign against Russia on 11 June before facing Wales on the 16 June and Slovakia on the 20 June.