Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge Named in England Squad by Roy Hodgson
Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge have been named in Roy Hodgson's England squad for the crucial forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland.
As reported by the FA, Hodgson's 23-man squad sees the return of the two strikers who missed recent games against Moldova and Ukraine:
#England Squad: MF Barkley, Carrick, Cleverley, Gerrard, Lampard, Milner, Townsend, Wilshere; FW Defoe, Lambert, Rooney, Sturridge, Welbeck— The FA (@FA) October 3, 2013
The England boss will hope all of his players see out the weekend’s Premier League action without injury.
Although Johnson and Walcott would likely start the forthcoming games, Hodgson will be confident of utilising his squad to ensure two wins in front of the anxious Wembley crowd.
Ross Barkley’s deserved inclusion comes after a string of impressive displays for Everton. The 19-year-old—who made his England debut against Moldova in the last round of fixtures—has scored two goals in six appearances for Roberto Martinez’s side this term, per Whoscored.
The versatile Toffees midfielder offers a physical presence that is suited to bombing up the field and tracking back. Barkley’s dribbling ability and willingness to spray the ball could see him bring an added dimension to England’s attack on the wide Wembley pitch.
Fraser Forster’s fine form for Celtic—he impressed during Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Barcelona—has also seen the goalkeeper rewarded with another call-up. Although he is yet to make his international debut, the 25-year-old stopper has growing claims to a spot as the country’s No. 1.
Manchester City’s Joe Hart has been in poor form of late, as highlighted by his dismal performance in the 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich, when he twice let the ball slip inside his near post. However, it is likely he will retain his place after two international clean sheets in September's games.
Is it time for Roy Hodgson to drop Joe Hart?
England must take six points from their final two qualifiers to ensure an automatic place at the 2014 World Cup.
Should the underachieving nation fail to do so, a spot in Brazil can still be achieved via the play-offs, but this qualification route could see England pitted against the likes of France, Portugal or Sweden.
Hodgson will be extremely wary of following in Steve McClaren's footsteps, England's last manager to oversee failure to qualify for a major tournament.
While two wins at Wembley will be crowned a triumph, England have undoubtedly made hard work of a group that should have been wrapped up by now.
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