David Jones: Euros have been good for Sam Allardyce so far – now time for England to deliver

England's Daniel Sturridge (right) and Marcus Rashford during a training.
England's Daniel Sturridge (right) and Marcus Rashford during a training.
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What a joy these European Championships are proving to be – on the pitch at least.

We’ve been treated to highly competitive matches, noisy colourful stadia, the odd moment of football genius and already some truly memorable goals.

England have entertained us and left us wanting more, we’ve witnessed the most dynamic Italy performance for years, ball hogging Spain, Germany chugging into life, and emotional France plus Wales and the Republic of Ireland looking very much at home.

The quality of the games is open to debate but not the intent; almost without exception teams have looked to play on the offensive by dominating or through lightning counter attacks.

But this is not football at its very best.

When you consider that three of the biggest nations – Spain, Germany and Italy – barely have a trusted goal scorer between them then you have to ask questions.

The tournament falls short of the Champions League and arguably even the upper echelons of the Premier League in terms of pure quality, but it shouldn’t affect it too much as a spectacle.

Take Italy’s win over much fancied Belgium.

In terms of individual talent there’s no competition between the two; the Belgians on paper look like a Premier League all star team, but they were no match for the well drilled, committed Italians, and that’s what this tournament is all about.

They played with Southampton’s Graziano Pelle leading the line, supported by Eder and the lesser spotted Emanuele Giaccherini of Sunderland infamy.

Giaccherini was staggeringly good as was his goal: not bad for a player discarded by manager after manager at the Stadium of Light.

It looks like it’s too late for the Italian to turn his Sunderland career around and really we’ve never seen a performance of that level from him in the Premier League.

But his eye catching display should certainly hasten his departure from Wearside and free up a considerable wage for a player more suitable and that can only be good news for Sam Allardyce.

England are flush in that department, but only Harry Kane got serious game time against Russia.

Turns out my thinking in these pages last week was only one player different from the team Roy Hodgson and his coaches came up with.

Hodgson favoured the 4-2-3-1 as I suspected he might, but the one big difference was his inclusion of Wayne Rooney when I’d tipped Jack Wilshere to star in that role alongside Eric Dier.

Roy was right: Rooney was excellent although I don’t think much was required of him defensively and because England were so dominant his energy levels weren’t really tested either until his substitution.

But his passing was excellent and his ability to switch the play caused Russia real problems in the wide areas, especially when Kyle Walker was allowed to run at his opposite number.

Having called for England to leave Jamie Vardy out of the side last week I found myself screaming for Hodgson to get him on; instead we got James Milner.

A goal down, Russia had to attack and there’s no better player at these Championships to exploit the kind of space that brings than Vardy, it’s what he’s made his name doing and why Arsenal appear so desperate to sign him.

His impact could have been huge and hopefully we won’t be so quick to think defensively next time.

Wales is a really tough match against an opponent with everything to gain and nothing to lose.

England have made a confident result even though it wasn’t the right result and I wouldn’t be too hasty to change anything.

There is though a case to bring in Wilshere from the start alongside Dier and Rooney and ask Dele Alli to start from the left, with Raheem Sterling dropping out.

I’m expecting a tight game, but one in which England’s subs could all make an impact: Daniel Sturridge, Marcus Rashford and Vardy are all good enough to trouble Wales.

But beware the Bale factor; Gareth is just about as good as it gets and this is the game and the stage he’s long been waiting for.