With the World Cup in Brazil just being four months away now, I thought it necessary to take a look at the players who are trying to make the cut to get into the England squad, as well as the odds (these are currently under specials on William Hill). There are some good odds about, and some surprisingly long odds on some top players who could well be going to Rio. Here is our view on the subject, as well as all odds:
Who’s in with a shot?
Raheem Sterling (6/4), Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain (6/4), Ashley Young (5/2), Tom Ince (8/1) – Sterling is fast becoming one of the top English prospects. If his performances continue, such as the Arsenal game on the weekend, he will be on the plane. 6/4 is a very good price! AOC as he is known, is taking the chance he has been given by Theo Walcott’s injury. He netted twice the weekend before last, and is looking very good. 6/4 again is a very good price – do a double with Sterling and you get 4/1, and quite frankly both should be going. Despite his bad rep as a diver, Ashley Young is an incredible 5/2 to go to the World Cup – but hopefully Hodgson see’s the future and uses others. Ince could well be in with a chance of going, with the his recent performances for Palace since his move from Blackpool. Walcott’s injury opens a space, probably on top of AOC and Sterling. Tom is an exciting, pacey winger with an eye for goal. Certainly a wildcard!
Fraser Forster (1/3), Jack Butland (14/1), John Ruddy (Evens), Ben Foster (4/11) – With Joe Hart being guaranteed the number 1 spot – it is between these four as to takes the two other spaces. Forster has vastly more experience, playing CL football for Celtic – but the quality there hinders that. Butland has signed for Stoke and is now on loan elsewhere, and Ruddy is first choice at Norwich putting in some great performances. Butland is the outsider, but has a chance. Ben Foster is performing well at WBA – and could well go. We fancy Forster and Foster to go.
Adam Lallana (5/6), Jack Rodwell (14/1), Tom Cleverley (1/2), Tom Huddlestone (12/1), Jordan Henderson (5/4) – The midfield is a big issue for England. For far too long they have relied on Gerrard and Lampard – who never perform together. Lampard shouldn’t go, despite his experience. He has not been playing regularly for Chelsea and is off the pace, looking his age and no longer good enough. Gerrard of the two usually shows up. That leaves a gap or two – Wilshire likely to go, but who else? Tom Cleverley looks out of his depth for both England and Man Utd – and is shocking at 1/2 that he goes – both of us are in agreement that he should definitely not go! Adam Lallana is the form midfielder in the league at the moment and should go, no doubt. Jack Rodwell at 14/1 is a massive price! However, when he has played for Man City he has looked good, and also in an England shirt. He could be the dark horse, odds wise. We fancy that! Tom Huddlestone is another, impressive for Hull City, a man who holds the fort in from of the defence – 12/1 decent price for what is a long shot. Henderson is starting to look the player Liverpool actually paid for, and is thriving under Brendan Rodgers. He is one we would rather see there than Cleverley, lets hope Roy see’s it the way 99% of fans do!
Steven Caulker (6/1), Joleon Lescott (2/1) – With Smalling, Jagielka, Cahill the likely Centre Backs going, as Hodgson has ruled out Terry and Ferdinand – there is one space open (Phil Jones seen more of a utility player). Caulker has played for England in the past 12 months, even scoring! Lescott does seem to be a Hodgson favourite, but with him getting zero football at Man City, Caulker could sneak in. 6/1 a top price!
Adam Johnson (3/1), Jay Rodriguez (7/1) – Johnson has been Sunderland’s best player this season, and looks the player he was back at Middlesbrough. He has the fire back, after losing it at Man City when he played once in a blue moon. He has impressed for England when given the chance, but will Roy take a chance, or go with youngsters like Chamberlain or Sterling? Since his move from Burnley, J-Rod has been amazing for Southampton, and has already been capped. England seem to be going for a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Sturridge up front with Rooney and two others behind, so he could have a small chance if he keeps up these performances.
Kieran Gibbs (4/1) – should either Baines or Ashley Cole get injured, we imagine he is first on the back-ups list. Good performances for Arsenal have seen his stock rise. He has a chance!
Andy Carroll (11/8), Jermain Defoe (5/2) Ricky Lambert (5/6) – These three are probably vying for the last of the striker spot. Welbeck, Sturridge and Rooney are likely to be the other three – but with Defoe’s impending move to Canada, he could be putting himself out of contention. Carroll on the other hand has just returned from serious injury, and is looking rusty. However a good run for WHU could see him in the squad, as taking Defoe would be silly because he is so similar to Welbeck and Sturridge. With the probable use of just one striker with Rooney playing behind – all three may miss out, though Lambert is the in-form Big-man in the Premier League, offering England a different dimension. Of the three he is the one who could go, if Hodgson see’s the need for a 4th striker
Phil Jones is at 1/5 to go – pretty sure he will be there. He seems to be the new Phil Neville – the ultimate utility player. Right Back, Centre Back, Central Midfield and so on. Probably not going to start but handy on the bench.
Who Will Miss Out?
Luke Shaw (12/1) – Even at 18, he is playing week in, week out for Southampton. But with Cole, Baines and Gibbs ahead of him, it would take injuries to two of the aforementioned trio to be considered.
Ross Barkley (4/9) – Despite his odds, we don’t think he will go. He is still a bit raw, injured fairly often too. Like Shaw, probably a bit too soon – although we would love to see him go!
Saido Berahino (9/1) – This young man has been impressive for WBA, but like the previous 2 he hasn’t been around long enough and is probably a little too young. Top prospect for the future.
Wilfried Zaha (16/1) – despite his loan to Cardiff and his initial good performances at Cardiff – he hasn’t had enough game time, and the one game he had for England he didn’t do enough to merit another look.
James Ward-Prowse (33/1), Jonjo Shelvey (20/1) – both will no doubt not be going. Shelvey just isn’t consistent enough, and Ward-Prowse hasn’t established himself at Southampton yet. His time will come, as will Shelvey’s.
Ravel Morrison (5/1) – despite his relatively short price – we seriously doubt he will go. He has only had a handful of good games since his move to West Ham. Give it another 2 years with the Euro’s, or 4 for Russia 2018 – we may see his name on the list boarding that plane.
Nathan Redmond (20/1) – Despite his good performances for Norwich, there are too many players performing better, like AOC, Sterling and Ince. He is in the Under 21’s, that and a few more seasons with Norwich could see him in the squad come 2018 or 2022.
At the moment, this is our best guess at the 23 man squad that will go to Brazil in 4 months time:
GK’s – Hart, Foster, Forster
Def: Walker, G Johnson, Cole, Baines, Jagielka, Cahill, Smalling, Jones
Mid: Gerrard, Lallana, Sterling, A-O Chamberlain, Henderson, Wilshire, Carrick, Townsend
FW: Welbeck, Rooney, Sturridge, Lambert
Potential Starting 11 if all are fit in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which seems to be what Hodgson is going for:
Hart, Walker, Cahill, Jagielka, Cole, Gerrard, Wilshire, Lallana, Rooney, Sterling, Sturridge.
Problem being England bosses of old go with experience, rather than talent. Unfortunately can Hodgson being the same, so that will see Lampard, Young and Cleverley going instead of those who in reality deserve to go.
A great long-term 6 fold you can get odds of 40/1 on is:
Sterling, Oxlaide-Chamberlain, Lallana, Jones, Townsend + Henderson all to make the squad
Terrific little bet, definitely putting £10 on that myself!