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World Cup 2014: 3 players who must prove themselves

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There are a number of players who will look to step up at the 2014 World Cup to prove themselves, while some will hope it helps them secure a dream transfer.

For example, Colombia international Jackson Martinez, who has replaced compatriot Radamel Falcao at Porto amazingly well - with 52 goals in 71 games for the Portuguese side.

He will most likely look to use the World Cup to force a move to either Chelsea or Arsenal, both clubs he has said he likes very much, and with Falcao most likely out for the World Cup, there is a large chance that he will be a key player for Colombia.

However, there are three players who, more than any other players, will look to prove themselves as some of the world's best.

The following three players are considered by many to be three of the best players in their positions. However, some are still not convinced. The World Cup, the biggest stage in the world, is the place to prove yourself as a world star.

3. Daniel Sturridge

Many people in England think that because he is English, Daniel Sturridge cannot be a world-class player.

However, looking at his predatory instincts, he is not far from a young Michael Owen, who if he had stayed at Liverpool and not had injury problems, probably would have gone on to be an all-time great.

Sturridge has scored 30 goals in 37 games since joining Liverpool from Chelsea, 19 of which have come in 21 games this season - and 16 of which are Premier League goals.

His stats and general link-up play with Suarez are enough to suggest he is a world-class player. It is his link-up play with Sterling, Henderson and Gerrard, however, that Roy Hodgson will be happy about.

I think with the right direction these four players can be very important for England at the World Cup and probably our only hope of getting out the 'Group of Death'.

However, Sturridge's international record of two goals in nine games means he is yet to set the international stage alight. He needs to prove himself on the biggest stage to be remembered like the names of Shearer, Hurst, Lineker and Owen.

He is not England's only man who needs to prove himself. Joe Hart and Wayne Rooney still have a lot they owe England despite being certain picks for the squad if fit.

2. Mario Balotelli

Although AC Milan have been struggling, main man Mario Balotelli has been scoring plenty of goals - his latest, a superb winner against Bologna.

Some will consider Balotelli already proven on the international stage. He carried Italy to the European Championship final in 2012 with a fantastic brace against Germany, and in last year's Confederations Cup his Italy side lost to Spain on penalties in the semi-final with Balotelli on form, but injured.

With this almost certainly Andrea Pirlo's last big tournament and certain other players like Gigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini not far off international retirement this is probably these players' last chance at another big tournament gold. With youngsters like El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio there is certainly a decent chance for Italy.

Like England, Italy are in the 'Group of Death' and based only on talent, are certainly the favourites to continue from the group. Mario Balotelli, however, has to be on form for this to happen.

If he is off form and Milan have a poor season then it will be a bad time for Balotelli's career, and with a move away possible, whether he wants it or not he will certainly want a great World Cup.

Right now, most people consider him to be a good striker, but not to the quality of Lewandowski, Suarez, Messi or Mandzukic.

1. Paul Pogba

The 20-year-old Paul Pogba has a massive point to prove. Many are saying that he is more crucial to Juventus than Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo. At such a young age as well, he is certainly a future great player.

However, with all that said, he is yet to be put in the category with Xabi Alonso, Andrea Pirlo, Yaya Touré, Arturo Vidal etc. He is not yet in that category because he is not fully proven.

Juventus have struggled to make a telling impression in the Champions League. With a tough group with opponents like Real Madrid and Galatasaray it was never going to be easy, but now playing in the Europa League, people are going to wonder just how strong Serie A is, and whether Pogba really is that great.

Many players have scored great goals like the ones he's scored. Ronnie Radford vs. Newcastle in 1972 for Hereford United probably the best example that says you don't need to be great to score a great goal. Whilst yes, his all-round play is phenomenal he is yet to be proven.

France have also struggled recently. Failing to impress since the 2006 World Cup, with players now like Franck Ribery, Hugo Lloris and Raphael Varane, there is a big chance of France doing something this year, although without a truly clinical striker they will struggle. The midfield pairing of Cabaye and Pogba may be a great one for France although only time will tell.

The fact is, Paul Pogba is a great player. But there are questions. Why did arguably the best manager ever let him go for free? Why are Juventus not in the Champions League? Is Pogba really that 'great'? This World Cup could be crucial for Pogba's career.

These questions can be combated as France won the Under-20 World Cup last year, with Pogba in the side. If France have problems at this World Cup, it most likely won't be because of Pogba and more the issue of strikers.


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Topics:
Daniel Sturridge
World Cup
Mario Balotelli
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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