10 Outsiders Who Could Make England's WC Squad
Now that England have secured qualification for the World Cup finals, attention will undoubtedly turn to the drama of squad selection for the next eight months or so.
And whilst there will always be guarantees over a majority of the squad at this early stage (think Rooney, Gerrard, Cole, Wilshere), there will always be a couple of late comers who force their way into the squad due to sparkling form at domestic level.
But who will be this years Theo Walcott circa 2006? Or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 2012?
Bleacher Report takes a look at 10 potential outsiders who could burst their way into Roy Hodgson's reckoning come the World Cup squad announcement next year.
Agree? Disagree? Or have an even better option for us to include? Get involved with the debate and leave your comments below.
Naturally, the most obvious place to look for people to make the transition into the senior squad when it comes to England is the Under-21s.
Last night, whilst Roy Hodgson's men were preparing to do battle with Poland, Gareth Southgate's young squad dismantled their Lithuanian counterparts to move top of their Euro 2015 qualifying group.
And one of the early stars of the Premier League season continued to impress.
West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino grabbed himself another two goals to cement his growing reputation within the English game.
Fresh off the back of a winning goal at Old Trafford against champions Manchester United, Berahino's latest pair of goals surely have catapulted him into Hodgson's thinking already, ahead of next year.
If he continues his early season form, he may well be one to watch.
It wasn't just Berahino who grabbed the headlines for the Under-21s on Tuesday night.
Another of the Premier League's exciting young talents scored a brace of goals too: West Ham United's Ravel Morrison.
But while Berahino is a relative newcomer to the scene in English football, the case of Morrison is a completely different one.
He left Manchester United with something of a reputation as a player who had a turbulent off-field life. A loan spell at Birmingham City last season brought him back to current club West Ham with a point to prove.
And boy, how he has proved that point.
Morrison got everyone talking with that sensational individual goal in the Hammers' 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur before the international break, and two more goals on Tuesday night put him towards the front of the current queue to be England's traditional "wildcard".
Life is pretty exciting if you're associated with Southampton right about now.
When the Premier League action resumes this weekend, The Saints can look at the table and see themselves sitting fourth in the early shape-up.
Not just that, but they have a core of exciting, young English talent, too. Chief amongst them is James Ward-Prowse.
Ward-Prowse is just 18 years of age. Yet he has become a regular under Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton this season, and he enhanced his reputation with a superb free-kick for the Under-21s on Tuesday.
He clearly has a big future ahead of him. If he—and Southampton—continue their sparkling start to the season, then Ward-Prowse's name could well be on England fans' lips sooner, rather than later.
Continuing with the Southampton theme, is a man who many feel should already be a regular part of Roy Hodgson's international squads: their captain, Adam Lallana.
To captain the club at just 25 years of age is a remarkable achievement. What is even more remarkable however, is the talent Lallana possesses.
Mauricio Pochettino has brought a continental style approach to The Saints, and the creativity of Lallana has become a fulcrum point of their attack.
He has already made an appearance for the senior side, as a late substitute well over a year ago against Ukraine. Since then he has not featured, but the upcoming friendlies against the likes of Australia could well be Lallana's opportunity to press home a claim to the England manager.
He is one who we can expect to be involved with England in the very near future.
Like Lallana, Wilfried Zaha is a man who already has experience for the national side. He has appeared twice under Roy Hodgson in his fledgling career.
However, unlike Lallana, Zaha is dramatically out of favour with his current club, Manchester United.
He continues to impress for the Under-21s though, and was impressive in Tuesday's victory over Lithuania, creating the first goal for Ravel Morrison.
If Zaha is to force his way into Hodgson's thinking—something not entirely impossible—then he must get regular first-team football.
There are reports this week he is looking to push through a loan move to another Premier League club in order to do just that, and that could be the springboard his England career needs.
Because as long as he is warming the bench for United, an England call-up is quite simply not going to happen.
Several players have made the leap up into the Premier League from the Championship this season. Some have struggled, some have not.
Nathan Redmond is one player who falls into the latter category, putting him in the frame to be an England wild card.
Since joining Norwich City from Birmingham City in the summer, Redmond has lit up the Premier League with a series of dazzling displays. His trickery, raw pace and quick feet makes him an appealing prospect when it comes to selecting an unknown quantity to take to the World Cup.
His chances of going to the tournament depend largely on his own personal form and perhaps that of his club, too. If Norwich can break their way into people's thoughts regarding European qualification, then Redmond could come into Hodgson's plans.
One position England may look to for alternative cover when it comes to the World Cup is in the middle of the defence.
While Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka have become the regular pairing for England of late, there appears to be little in the way of serious competition beyond them.
That is where Steven Caulker could come in.
His international chances have been given a new lease of life since leaving Tottenham Hotspur in the summer. He is now a regular for Cardiff City and has been instrumental in their steady start to the season.
He even contributes with a goal every so often, as his solitary England appearance against Sweden illustrates.
When it comes to English centre-backs who are outside of the usual train of thought, Caulker could well be the man who makes the trip.
Another member of the Under-21s that is excelling at club level is Luke Shaw.
What is abundantly clear is that Gareth Southgate has a wealth of young talent at his disposal as he looks to guide his squad to the Euro 2015 championships.
The only worry for him, is that a lot of them could be promoted up into the senior squad very soon.
And what are the chances of Shaw being one of them?
Barring injury, it could be tough. Although he is an incredibly talented player, he is playing in the position where England are most gifted—left-back.
There is already a furious debate brewing across the country as to whether it should be Leighton Baines or Ashley Cole who gets the nod with the No. 3 shirt when the World Cup kicks off.
Throwing Shaw into the mix could be a step too far. But injuries do happen, and that could give Shaw a chance.
No matter what happens between now and the World Cup, expect Joe Hart to be England's No. 1 throughout the tournament.
Even if he does provide us with a horror moment of goalkeeping at the tournament, Hart won't be replaced in a similar manner to Robert Green in 2010.
That is why it's possible you could see a young goalkeeper on the plane to Brazil. And if there is, it will most likely be Jack Butland.
Butland is the youngest ever goalkeeper to represent England, and actually went to the Euro 2012 tournament as an understudy for Hart, after injury to John Ruddy.
Since then though, things have gone a bit stale.
A good season there and Butland could well come under consideration.
He's the hottest prospect outside of the Premier League. And that statement could only be true for a few more months, because Will Hughes is undoubtedly heading for the big time.
The Derby County midfielder, who's just 18 years of age, is the subject of interest from the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea already. If a move happens in January, and he can continue his remarkable form with Derby, could Hughes be a surprise entrant in England's squad?
Honestly? Probably not.
But stranger things really have happened. Hughes is an excellent, ball-playing midfielder with a real eye for goal, too.
He is already an Under-21 international, the second youngest ever behind Theo Walcott.
That is a sure indicator of his talent.
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