Football

World Cup 2014: Who will make the England squad?

Hodgson was relieved to get through England's tough qualifying group (©GettyImages)
Hodgson was relieved to get through England's tough qualifying group (©GettyImages).

Goalkeepers

Joe Hart: Despite his inconsistency for Manchester City in recent times, he is still the most talented goalkeeper that England have at their disposal and Roy Hodgson seems intent on him maintaining the number one jersey for Brazil.

Manuel Pellegrini has given him a break from first-team football, which may well give him the motivation to improve.

Fraser Forster: The Celtic keeper has forced his way into Hodgson's plans after a string of excellent performances at club level, most notably in the Champions League against Barcelona when he produced a jaw-dropping double-save.

John Ruddy: After a spell on the sidelines, Ruddy has re-established himself in the Canaries' starting XI and always looks confident and assured in his business. Expect him to be competing with Fraser Forster for the England 'understudy' status.

Defenders

Glen Johnson: After an injury-plagued start to the season, he seems to be match-fit once again for Liverpool. At 29, he is one of the more experienced members of the England squad and he offers the team a magnificent attacking threat down the right flank.

Phil Jagielka: The Everton centre-back is an established player in the England set-up now and seems to have formed a good understanding with Gary Cahill. His steadiness and no-nonsense demeanour frequently help England out of sticky situations.

Gary Cahill: Jose Mourinho has dismissed any doubt people had of Cahill's defensive capabilities by starting him in the majority of games alongside John Terry in the Chelsea back four. He has repaid 'The Special One' with some stellar defensive displays and Hodgson will hope he carries this form into the World Cup campaign.

Ashley Cole: Impressively, Cole has been England's first choice left-back for well over a decade now - and there are no clear indications that this will change before Brazil. Leighton Baines has been performing superbly, but at the moment Cole's experience and know-how ensures that he remains at the top of the pecking order.

Kyle Walker: His inexperience shows at times, but he undoubtedly has the ability to be England's next right-back. Hodgson may also favour him over Johnson if he continues to play Andros Townsend on the right-wing due to their good understanding established at club level with Tottenham.

Phil Jones: I don't see him breaking into the starting line-up ahead of Jagielka and Cahill before the World Cup, but his versatility may play a part in Brazil. David Moyes has played him at centre back for United on multiple occasions and he has looked more than capable of becoming an international regular.

Chris Smalling: Jones' Old Trafford counterpart has also impressed in the last few weeks in United's return to form, despite not being deployed in his favoured role in the heart of defence. He reads the game as well as anyone and is at the age where his England career could kick-start if he continues to knuckle down.

Leighton Baines: The perpetual existence of Cole at left-back is the only thing stopping the Everton player shining on the international stage. His crossing ability is arguably as good as anyone in the squad and if he continues to progress, Hodgson may have to controversially drop Cole.

Midfielders

Steven Gerrard: England's captain played an instrumental role in the qualifying campaign and has been impressive in Liverpool's flying start to the 2013/14 campaign. As things stand, he is the only central midfielder with a guaranteed starting berth and is a natural leader on the pitch - when Gerrard plays well, England play well.

Michael Carrick: Much of his effective work goes unnoticed by many. He may not be England's star man, but nobody does a better job at protecting the back four. His defensive nature gives Gerrard and potentially another central midfield player the license to attack and his passing range is world class.

Frank Lampard: At 35, Lampard is the oldest player to have a chance of playing in 2014. He is still a Chelsea regular which speaks volumes for his fitness levels, technical ability and determination to succeed. Hodgson would be foolish not to include Frank in his squad because his experience is invaluable.

Jack Wilshere: The Arsenal midfielder has unbelievable talent and has been tipped by many to be a future England captain, including Steven Gerrard. He does not have a starting place nailed down yet, by that could all change come June and with Carrick, Gerrard and Lampard all in their thirties he undoubtedly has a bright international future.

Andros Townsend: Hodgson gambled in the final two qualifying games by starting Townsend, and it paid off because he had one of the most memorable and influential England debuts in history. His direct approach is accompanied by his supreme dribbling which terrorises defences; he is showing all the attributes of a great winger.

James Milner: He may not be the most technically gifted player England have, but his work rate and selflessness are admired by Hodgson. Against the bigger teams we may need a player like Milner to track the runs of opposition full-backs as well as posing a reasonable attacking threat. The only man standing in his way in Pellegrini.

Tom Cleverley: Hodgson placed great trust in Cleverley in stages of England's qualifying campaign and seems to like his style of play. He shows moment of real quality but occasionally runs out of ideas with the ball at his feet. He will probably make the squad, but he'll need a regular starting place at Old Trafford to dislodge his fellow midfielders.

Forwards

Wayne Rooney: Despite all of the transfer rumours about Rooney, he has been in scintillating form for both club and country. He is one of very few players that is an automatic choice for Hodgson when he is match fit and he can be used as a lone striker or in the number 10 role behind Daniel Sturridge or Rickie Lambert. 

Danny Welbeck: His pace, strength and skill make him a force to be reckoned with and he seldom fails to perform in an England shirt. He seems to play predominantly on the left-hand side of England's attack due to a lack of options in wider areas and his work rate deserves more praise than he receives.

Daniel Sturridge: The Liverpool striker just hasn't looked back since his move from Chelsea in January. His recent goal-scoring form is unmatched by any of his fellow England strikers and if this continues he will almost certainly accompany Rooney up front in a 4-4-2 formation.

Rickie Lambert: Southampton's talisman is the prime example of what hard work does for you. It wasn't long ago he was playing in the lower divisions of English football and now he is odds on to make Hodgson's squad. His aerial ability offers the side another dimension and with Andy Carroll's injury woes, he is the best target man we have.

Jermain Defoe: Nobody can deny that Jermain Defoe is one of the deadliest finishers England have ever had. He is into his thirties now and the presence of Roberto Soldado at Spurs will certainly damage his chances of getting into Hodgson's first team plans. I think that he will be a great option off the bench if he makes the squad. 

Pushing for a place...

Ben Foster, Steven Caulker, Kieran Gibbs, Tom Huddlestone, Leon Osman, Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Ravel Morrison, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Raheem Sterling, Wilfried Zaha, Jay Rodriguez, Andy Carroll.

 

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Topics:
Football
Steven Gerrard
England Football
Wayne Rooney

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