With Brazil working overtime in order to be ready for the 2014 World Cup, England fans must be feeling that same old feeling that creeps in; could this be the year?

However, compared to recent tournaments, fans can be forgiven for feeling a bit more invigorated about their sides chances this summer, despite being drawn in what could prove a very tricky group.

Doubters will argue that even should they make it past a group that includes a proven Italy side and a rejuvenated Uruguay, they will still find themselves up against a much more significant opponent in the latter stages.  The likes of Spain and France are expected to come through the group phase, along with the old English foes of Argentina and Germany, and not forgetting the colourful hosts, the mighty Brazil.  And this is before the doubters even get started on squad selection.

And it is the squad that will be getting the hopefuls amongst England fans talking before the big kick-off.  Having enjoyed yet another dramatic and highly charged Premier League season, the names included by Hodgson played a significant part for their clubs during the season.  

Along with the well capped Gerrard, Rooney and Lampard, the likes of Raheem Sterling, Luke Shaw and Daniel Sturridge are also included, and deservedly so given their performances in the past season.

Having had a fantastic season with Liverpool, and coming so close to taking their first Premier League crown, the inclusion of Sturridge is of little wonder given his scoring form. His fantastic partnership with Suarez will be one that Hodgson must hope he can form with Rooney, as it seems clear he will look to them to lead the line.  

Sterling however, may be one that many fans are unsure of despite his continued good form again this season under Brendan Rodgers.  With Theo Walcott missing due to injury, Sterling could well be the man to replace him.  His pace and jinking runs ran defenders ragged again this season, and he could well prove to be the burst of energy that England have been seeking in Walcott's absence.  And with his club captain in central midfield, Sterling may also find it a less overwhelming experience than others have before him, as Gerrard will undoubtedly be looking over his younger club companion.

Southampton starlet Luke Shaw is another name that has had many talking. The decision to leave ageing Ashley Cole out and choose Shaw as the backup for Everton's Leighton Baines has been seen by some as a big risk, but given his lack of opportunities under Mourinho's second stint as Chelsea boss, Cole must have expected that this would be the case.  

Many will be glad that Hodgson has shown his faith in the younger generation, and Shaw's fantastic form for the Saints sees him linked with big money moves as well as his inclusion for the World Cup. Shaw is joined by Southampton team mate Adam Lallana and Liverpool new boy Rickie Lambert, with their fine form also being well noticed by Hodgson during the course of the season.  A new experience for all three, they will be looking to make a huge impact if given the nod.

Manchester United defenders Jones and Smalling are also flying to Brazil this summer.  The defensive duo suffered a torrid time at club level this season, and will want to prove that they have what it takes to play for their country should an opening come their way during the tournament.  And in Jones, Hodgson has a utility man capable of pushing into midfield should he be required to.

F.A. Cup Winner Jack Wilshere will also be looking to edge his way into midfield, and should he feature, many eyes will be on him to show the potential that he has given glimpses of in the past for club and country.

There is plenty for England fans to be optimistic about this summer and fans will surely be hoping Hodgson gives his young guns a decent crack of the whip. But, will they buckle in the heat, or under the extra pressure before a major tournament that has been the downfall of so many England hopefuls previously? 

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Topics:
#World Cup
#England Football
#Football