Roy Hodgson has confirmed he is looking at five players for the vacant starting position on England’s right flank after a cruciate ligament injury to Theo Walcott ruled him out of the World Cup in Brazil.
Ahead of England’s friendly against Denmark in March, Hodgson says he is looking at several possibilities to replace Walcott - including men from Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, Sunderland and Cardiff.
Fellow Arsenal star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in contention, having returned from injury with a two-goal brace against Crystal Palace in the Premier League, and his pace and trickery could earn him a starting spot for Arsenal and England in the coming months, with key fixtures in Arsenal’s calendar ready to test Oxlade-Chamberlain’s credentials.
Hodgson has also looked at Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling, whose excellent brace against Arsenal has put the gloss on several months’ worth of good performances. After being over-used and exhausted at the beginning of last season, Sterling has this term bulked up and matured into an excellent player with incredible pace and vastly improved technique.
Hodgson has said of the Liverpool youngster: "He impressed me when I took charge of the Under-21s (against Scotland in August) and now since he's back in the Liverpool team his form seems to be going up and up and up.
"He is doing it for a top team and that puts a lot of pressure on everybody else because if you can do it at the top of the table with Liverpool then you can do it in an England shirt as well."
Sunderland’s Adam Johnson and Tottenham’s Aaron Lennon have both enjoyed resurgences in recent weeks, with Johnson enjoying life under new Black Cats boss Gus Poyet. His recent goals have proved key for Sunderland’s race away from Premier League relegation.
A wildcard entry for the position could be Manchester United’s Wilfried Zaha, whose loan move to Cardiff may prove to be an excellent decision for the youngster’s World Cup hopes. Zaha has impressed Hodgson enough to give him an England call-up when he was playing for Watford in the Championship, and now increased game time at Cardiff could see Zaha as a possible candidate.
While Hodgson is known to have preferred players for certain positions, the right wing spot is one that is very much up for grabs. The performance of the above players over the final few weeks of the season will give the England manager a better idea of his options, with any of these five in with an excellent chance.
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