Football

Brazil 2014: England's strongest XI

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England beat Poland to secure their World Cup place (©GettyImages)
England beat Poland to secure their World Cup place (©GettyImages).

Many players have been fielded over the last few months and years for England, but now the international side have made it to Rio, let's have a look at Roy Hodgson's best XI. 

Team vs Poland: Hart; Smalling, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines; Townsend, Gerrard (c), Carrick, Welbeck; Rooney, Sturridge.

Potential line-up for the World Cup

GK - Joe Hart - Manchester City.

With all the questions and the opposition, Hart is still England's number one keeper. The game against Bayern Munich raised questions, and rightly so, no keeper should be beaten that easily at the near post. But every player has bad days. Joe will know there are others breathing down his neck, and he will react.

RB - Kyle Walker - Tottenham

Kyle Walker was suspended for the Poland game, but he controls that right wing whenever he plays. Maybe room for improvement defensively but him and my choice of right winger running at defences will be something to fear. Something England can call their own.

CB - Gary Cahill - Chelsea

No matter what anyone says, even Jose himself, Gary Cahill is Chelsea's best defender. A commander who is absolutely solid. He has been key in many in so many matches for club and country, always offering a vital tackle or block. And he is useful in the air for corners and free kicks. 

CB - Phil Jagielka - Everton

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is what I am always told, and this partnership seems to working extremely well. As well as this, I do not see anyone else with a claim to the second centre-back position other than Jagielka.

LB - Leighton Baines - Everton

The best left-back not only for his country, but quite possibly in the Premier League. Baines commands the left side and has enough attacking intend to move England into the opponents half of the pitch, even the opponents penalty area. Ashley Cole has been a great servant for his country, as has rarely put a foot wrong, but he isn't the player he used to be. Not to mention Leighton is handy with set pieces.

RM - Theo Walcott - Arsenal

Walcott is quite possibly England's best player when it comes to wide play. He can take a clearance and turn it into a break away situation. And he torments defences with his pace as he dives between any gaps in the line. And he can score. Walcott was left out of the squad to go to South Africa in 2010, England really missed him then.

CM - Steven Gerrard - Liverpool

The veteran captain has just one more World cup left in him, but he still brings England the play makers vision the front two need. He is England's strongest midfielder maybe, and it is a shame that no manager could find a way to incorporate Lampard and Gerrard together at the heights of their careers.

CM - ?

There is no one that really stands out from the range of players that could play here. Lampard offers attacking intent, but you can get that with Gerrard. Jack Wllshere is injury prone so it is unpredictable how fit he can be. Ross Barkley looks good,  but he hasn't been proven at the top international level yet and Michael Carrick can throw his name in there too. It will be a long season of decisions for Roy.

LM - Andros Townsend - Tottenham

I know what you are saying 'he is a right sided player, not left', and I can see what you mean, but as it stands, England do not have a stand out left winger. Roy has been playing Danny Welbeck here but I just don't think that'll work. A key part of Townsend dream debut was his ability to use both feet and shoot, so what is stopping him from playing on the left side. Food for thought.

ST - Wayne Rooney - Manchester United

The only United player on the list. Rooney really came good for England in the qualifiers and has made and excellent start to the season. He will be a solid starter in Brazil as long as he can keep it going, but his track record for England in competitions is not good and will be desperate to find the net.

ST - Danny Sturridge - Liverpool 

Sturridge was wasted at Chelsea and has really shown what he can do wearing red. He helped Liverpool through the Suarez-less period and has kept going to make a target man defences can really fear. He can create chances for himself for others as well feed off those created for him. Good in the air too. This is Sturridge's time.

Who would make your 11? And who should take that central-midfield spot?

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
England Football
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