As I scroll through pages of sport news and gossip, I have realised that many of the posts are on the squad that England should take to the World Cup. Luke Shaw or Ashley Cole? Adam Lallana or Frank Lampard? James Milner or Raheem Sterling?
Here, I want to show you who I think should be in that 23-man squad on the plane to Brazil, and furthermore what Roy Hodgson should pick as his main line up.
Mr. Hodgson, I hope that you are reading!
Before I begin, I should set the tone for what is going to come. I am looking towards the youth over the old. I think players for exciting teams like Liverpool and Southampton should have more representation than players from struggling but big teams like Manchester United.
Here is the squad I would bring:
(3 goalkeepers, 7 defenders, 9 midfielders, 4 forwards.)
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart – Although Hart had a stutter a few months ago, he has got back to his best and I agree with most in thinking that he should be first choice. John Ruddy – Almost every time I see Norwich play on Match of the Day, Ruddy makes a few fantastic saves. He does step up in big games, and that is a good quality in the World Cup. Fraser Forster – I’ll admit it – I don’t watch that much of the SPL, but what I have heard, Fraser Forster is doing well in between the sticks for Celtic. Third goalkeepers are rarely used anyway, and I think it would be good experience for him.
Defenders – Full backs: Glen Johnson – He has almost certainly cemented his place with great displays for club and country. I would definitely bring him. Leighton Baines – Baines has been unlucky. He has been a star performer for Everton, but has come at a time dominated by Ashley Cole. But at this World Cup, Baines should be the main left-back. Luke Shaw – He has had a brilliant season for Southampton, and Shaw deserves to be included in the squad over Ashley Cole. Kyle Walker – I have always been impressed when I see him playing for Spurs and he deserves to be on the plane.
Defenders – Centre backs: Gary Cahill – Cahill has been god at the back for Chelsea this season and he will probably be the main centre back. Phil Jagielka – Jagielka is another player who has been good for his club side and Cahill/Jagielka should probably start most games as the centre back pairing. Chris Smalling – he has been good and I think Hodgson is a fan, but he should really be back-up to the two main centre backs.
Midfielders – Centre midfield: Steven Gerrard – maybe his is slowly going past his best but Gerrard is captain and he always gives over 100% for England. He deserves it as well with brilliant displays for Liverpool. Jack Wilshere – Wilshere is another player that Hodgson is a big fan of, and I agree. He injured himself in the friendly win over Denmark but he should be back in time. Jordan Henderson – Henderson has really improved this season, and if it is anything like the Denmark game, Hodgson looks like he is trying to recreate Liverpool’s stunning form. Just a shame Luis Suarez isn’t English! Michael Carrick – Carrick is ageing but he should still be there as he is a quality midfielder and some of his passes can really split open defences.
Midfielders – Wingers/Attacking midfield: Adam Lallana – Lallana has been in awesome form for Southampton this season and he has really impressed me when he has been playing for England. He should go. Raheem Sterling – the young winger has been in the form of his life for Liverpool and should definitely be playing in the World Cup. Ross Barkley – the Everton youngster is turning into a top class player. He has looked impressive all season for Everton, and should be included. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Arsenal have a good talent in ‘the Ox’. His England career has petered off slightly but I think he should go to the World Cup. Andros Townsend – he has gone off the boil since his brilliant game against Poland, but I still think Hodgson will include the Spurs player.
Strikers: Wayne Rooney – Whenever I have watched England, Rooney has never had a good game, but I cannot see him being dropped from the side. Daniel Sturridge – Sturridge should lead the line for England. He has been by far the best English striker this season, and this should be acknowledged by Hodgson. Danny Welbeck – Welbeck is another favourite of Hodgson’s, and he will certainly be picked. Rickie Lambert – Lambert has been great for Southampton this season, and his striking capabilities will be very helpful. I can also see him as a type of player who would do anything for his country, and give 100% every time he plays.
My World Cup starting line-up: Joe Hart; Glen Johnson, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines; Adam Lallana, Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling; Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney.