Euro 2016: 5 talking points ahead of England v Slovakia in St Etienne


England go into their final Group B match on a high after their last-gasp victory over Wales in Lens.

Slovakia are next up for the Three Lions and here, we take a look at five debating points going into the game in St Etienne.

1. How do Vardy and Sturridge fit into Hodgson's XI?

Jamie Vardy.
(Michel Spingler/AP)

England's second-half performance against Wales was by some distance their best so far, with genuine goal threat to go with territorial advantage.

Goalscorers Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge appeared to make irrefutable claims for recalls to the starting XI after coming off the bench but Roy Hodgson can be stubborn in his selections.

He also placed a high value on Harry Kane in his pre-tournament planning and could be loathe to cut the Premier League's top-scorer loose.

Bringing both Vardy and Sturridge into the XI may dictate a change in system too, meaning he has plenty to ponder as he looks for the perfect formula.

2. Can England keep a clean sheet?

Jo Hart.
(Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

There were already question marks over England's back line ahead of the tournament and they have conceded in both of their group games so far.

Russia's equaliser was an unusual one and Gareth Bale's 35-yard strike a probable one-off but as a unit they badly need to complete a shutout against Slovakia.

Joe Hart, who was partially to blame for Bale's goal, would particularly cherish a blank.

3. Plummeting value of Sterling

Raheem Sterling.
(Mike Egerton/PA)

England's most expensive footballer, Raheem Sterling, has had a forgettable start to the competition.

In both matches he has started brightly only for his lack of final product - be it crossing or finishing - to chip away at his confidence.

Three Lions fans had started to jeer the self-styled 'Hated One' before his half-time withdrawal in Lens and his morale must now be a major concern for Hodgson.

4. England should go all out for top spot

England's soccer team players.
(Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

Although all second placed teams, and four third-placed sides, will reach the last 16 there is a good reason for England to go all out for top spot.

Not only would it keep morale high and make a statement to others, it would pit England against one of those who finished third.

They would also guarantee their first knockout match in Paris, the shortest and easiest possible journey from their Chantilly base.

5. Hamsik will do his best to impress

Marek Hamsik.
(Frank Augstein/AP)

Napoli fans may take exception, but Slovakia boss Jan Kozak suggested after Marek Hamsik's starring role against Russia that the skilful midfielder "deserves a bigger club".

The Premier League, and with all the money and status it attracts, would be home to some desirable suitors so who better for Hamsik to turn on the style against than England?

Expect him to be busting a gut to impress.