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The British and Irish Lions Football team?

Monday 10th July 2017
The sporting public's imagination was captured on Saturday morning - a ferocious effort from the British and Irish Lions meant they held the double world champions on their own turf. It is often hearsay to include football and rugby in dialogue, but the concept of one British team playing football - as happened, to some extent, during the 2012 Olympics - it is an area for discussion. So, who would make up Britain's best?

Disclaimer



I am not advocating the genesis of such a team; it would be wrong, in my opinion, and would devalue the separate and distinctly powerful identities bound up within competing nations. Still, it's an interesting thought.

Coach - Chris Coleman



The architect of Wales' unprecedented success at last summer's European championships, there can be no other valid option.

Formation - 3-4-3

This formation is very much in-vogue and complements the organised defensive structure that each nation seeks implement - whether it is successful is a different matter - whilst also allowing for the creative outlets to express themselves.

Goalkeeper - Jack Butland 



It is odd that there is no standout goalkeeping choice across four nations: Joe Hart is woeful, Wayne Hennessey of Wales is reliable and Craig Gordon is, well, okay - it seems strange, then, to suggest a goalkeeper that is not even first choice for their country. But Jack Butland should be England's number 1, and should have been selected ahead of Hart a long, long time ago.

LCB - Ben Davies 



Ben Davies has never ever put in a poor performance for Wales. He looks very comfortable in this position and whilst it does hamstring his attacking urges, it means his intelligent defensive style is maximised.

CB - Ashley Williams



There is no doubt Williams is superior to Chris Smalling; Williams is much more assured on the ball and less prone to the mistakes that have characterised Smalling's last season at Old Trafford.

RCB - Gary Cahill 



RCB is not Cahil's natural position, but his versatility and decisive defensive style would allow him to adapt and form a cohesive partnership with Williams and Davies.

LWB - Danny Rose



Rose is electric going forward and solid defensively and faces little competition in this area of the field: a fully fit Luke Shaw might push him, but Shaw has failed to re-ignite his career after enduring a horrible leg break two seasons ago.

RWB - Kieran Trippier



It is still perplexing that Manchester City seems willing to fork out £50 million for Kyle Walker when Mauricio Pochettino dropped the former for Trippier. Trippier is a more composed and incisive RWB than Walker - Walker's obvious edge is his blistering speed, but Trippier's composed play more than compensates for this disadvantage.

CM - Joe Allen



If you had not already noticed, this 'Lions' selection is based on form, rather than reputation and Allen gets the nod in the central midfield position. He is the heartbeat of the Welsh team, brilliantly cutting in his passes, but also capable of dictating a tempo and pushing his side into a comfortable rhythm.

CM - Aaron Ramsey



For Wales, Ramsey is world class. For Arsenal, perhaps, he is not. Yet, his performances in this position - especially in the FA Cup Final - towards the end of last season warrant his inclusion. Who else would you have over Allen and Ramsey? Dier? Henderson? Livermore? Not a chance.

CAM - Dele Alli



One of England's brightest stars. Alli has the potential to be a world-beater and Gareth Southgate should set his side up around him if he wants to implement stylish, slick and potent football.

CAM - Gareth Bale



Adopting the other roaming CAM position is Gareth Bale. No justification necessary.

ST - Harry Kane



Kane is arguably the best striker in the Premier League. In Kane and Alli England possess a partnership capable of ripping teams apart and they must exploit this.

So, in conclusion, it is more like an English and Welsh team - a testament to the clear gulf between the four home nations.
Michael Jones

Football & political writer with a predictable love of everything retro. English Literature undergraduate at the University of Exeter, looking to pursue a career in sports journalism. For a collection of my work, visit. http://mikejonesmedia.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @jonesmichael_97


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