Sunderland talisman Jermain Defoe was one of the key factors behind the club’s Premier League survival.
And Alan Shearer believes the 33-year-old striker can count himself “unlucky” not to be on the plane to France this summer for Euro 2016.
Defoe netted 18-goals for the Black Cats - including 15 in the league - as Sunderland successfully battled against the drop to ensure a tenth-straight year of top flight football at the Stadium of Light.
But he was controversially overlooked by Roy Hodgson for a place in the preliminary 26-man England squad, which has been cut by a further three.
Shearer has praised Defoe for his impact this season under Sam Allardyce and says both him and Newcastle winger Andros Townsend are unfortunate not to be involved.
“When you look at it really, both of them can count themselves unlucky,” Shearer told the Echo.
“Andros was one of the few positives for Newcastle during the final few months of season.
“And Jermain has scored goals, and he’s one of the main reasons why Sunderland stayed up.
“I understand him more than Andros being left out with the youngsters we’ve got coming through – particularly Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane, who had a brilliant season also. ”
The 45-year-old hopes England can draw inspiration from Leicester City’s title-winning season.
He added: “I don’t think we can win it, but you never know – Leicester won the Premier League so anything’s possible.
“I’m hoping we can get to at least a semi-final.”