Football

England's potential starting XI for the World Cup

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Roy Hodgson has excited the whole of England no end with the squad he has selected for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil by choosing youth over experience.

The public have been left drooling over our attacking options, yet have been having nightmares about our defensive ones. The potential starting XI in this article takes advantage of the youth and flair at Hodgson's disposal and would be a team that nobody in the World Cup finals would want to face.

Hodgson is a tactical expert and has built his career on grinding out results with limited talent pools by using determination and defensive organisation. The public shouldn't worry about Hodgson sorting out the team defensively, the only worry should be how much our attack suffers as a result of a more defensive team.

Players like James Milner, who is like a bulldog on the wing, are ideal for Hodgson as he knows he can trust Milner to do a job defensively. The real decisions for Hodgson will most likely be choosing between players like Milner and Sterling or Henderson and Barkley.

This choice between more defensive-minded midfielders and free-flowing attackers will determine England's style at the World Cup. Hodgson will somehow be looking for a balance to give England a successful World Cup, but don't be surprised if the young talent we have will be mostly left on the bench.

Predicted XI for England to face Italy:

Formation: 4-1-1-3-1

GK: Hart

LB: Baines

RB: Johnson

CB: Cahill

CB: Jagielka

CDM: Gerrard

CM: Barkley

LW: Lallana

RW: Sterling

CAM: Rooney

ST: Sturridge

Bench: Forster, Henderson, Smalling, Shaw, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lambert

This starting XI would strike fear into the hearts of any opposition defences, but certainly wouldn't worry the opposing attack. Glen Johnson and Leighton Baines sum up the team perfectly, fantastic going forward but a potential liability at the back.

Joe Hart is an excellent goalie to have, however, and Cahill and Jagielka are two very solid, no-nonsense centre-halves, so it's not all bad at the back.

The exciting addition of Barkley in central midfield could allow for some more barnstorming runs and the blistering pace going on all around could allow Rooney to play in a false nine role, where he could pick defences off with his pin-point passing, play through-balls to the tricky wingers, shoot from distance or make runs into the box to win headers and get on the end of loose balls.

Sterling and Lallana are such exciting young players. With incredible pace from the former and incredible feet from the latter, they have the makings of a deadly wing duo. Sturridge is a natural finisher and can frighten defenders to death with his pace and the timing of his runs.

Finally, having the captain dictate the play in a holding role is an invaluable asset, as Gerrard's passing range and accuracy is almost peerless in modern football - barring his contemporary Andrea Pirlo.

There is so much attacking force on the bench that could come on and change the game. Smalling and Shaw are the only defenders picked simply to allow room for more attacking creativity.

James Milner and Frank Lampard - far better defensive options - don't even make the squad as a sacrifice to the attacking brand of football that this England squad on the whole has the ability to play. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere have so much talent, quality and pace to offer and Lambert has great feet, vision and an eye for a goal too. Match-winning quality is present throughout the bench I have selected.

Do not, under any circumstances, put your money on this being the team that Hodgson picks against Italy for England's opener at the World Cup, as he will likely set out with defensive-minded players.

If this somehow turns out to be the team Hodgson picks against Italy, then at the very least we would put on a show in the Brazilian's back yard. The possibilities are very exciting and the youthful exuberance in the squad could be a blessing in disguise.

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Topics:
World Cup
England Football
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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