At the Departure Gate Week of Mar 3: Who's Currently in Hodgson's England Squad?

Jerrad PetersWorld Football Staff WriterMarch 6, 2014

At the Departure Gate Week of Mar 3: Who's Currently in Hodgson's England Squad?

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    England will play one more friendly before manager Roy Hodgson submits his squad of 23 players for the 2014 World Cup, and on Wednesday his job was made even more difficult by a pair of substitutes who impressed in the second half.

    Southampton pair Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana did not look at all out of place when introduced against Denmark, and Lallana’s excellent work in the buildup to the Daniel Sturridge winner was especially eye-catching.

    Hodgson may well need that final Wembley friendly against Peru to aid his decision-making.

    Over the next few slides, we’ll group the players he’s had a chance to evaluate into three categories: already in the squad, on the fringes and on the way out.

    Let’s get to it.

Goalkeepers

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    Pack your bags

    Barring injury, Joe Hart will be England’s No. 1 goalkeeper against Italy on June 14. End of story.

    But Hodgson brought three other 'keepers into the squad for the Denmark friendly, and of the trio only Fraser Forster is assured a place on the plane to Brazil. Earlier this season he set a consecutive clean sheet record at Celtic.

     

    Checking flights

    Ben Foster’s comeback from international retirement has made Hodgson’s third-choice selection rather more interesting than it might have been. Norwich City stopper John Ruddy would have had the spot, but at this point it’s a toss-up between him and Foster, who plays for West Bromwich Albion.

     

    Pipe dream

    Stoke City’s Jack Butland impressed while Asmir Begovic was injured, but the Bosnia-Herzegovina 'keeper’s return from injury has relegated the 20-year-old back to the bench.

Full-Backs

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    Pack your bags

    Leighton Baines watched from the bench as Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw took turns at the left-back position on Wednesday. The Everton man is already Hodgson’s first choice at the position and is guaranteed a starting spot at the World Cup.

    Kyle Walker, currently battling a hip injury, will also be in the squad if fully fit.

     

    Checking flights

    Shaw’s rise to prominence at Southampton, and subsequent England debut against Denmark, has put Cole’s place in the 23-man squad in jeopardy; unless the Chelsea man can somehow displace Cesar Azpilicueta from Jose Mourinho’s preferred XI, he may well be staying home this summer.

    Glen Johnson is a risky option, but he can function at both right- and left-back, and that may help get him on the plane.

     

    Pipe dream

    With Baines, Shaw and Cole already vying for two spots at left-back, Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs isn’t even part of the conversation.

    Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne is an intriguing prospect at right-back for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Centre-Backs

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    Pack your bags

    Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka combine to form Hodgson’s preferred pairing at the heart of the defence. Cahill has had a particularly strong season with Chelsea, and Jagielka’s solid performances for Everton have helped the Toffees contend for a European spot.

     

    Checking flights

    If Phil Jones is healthy come June (a big "if"), he’ll be heading to Brazil. His versatility ensures it.

    Also on the fringes are Chris Smalling and Joleon Lescott, both of whom have been trusted to occasionally deputise for England.

     

    Pipe dream

    Cardiff City’s Steven Caulker didn’t even get a look-in against Denmark, and if there’s one defender who could conceivably move up in the pecking order between now and June, it is surely Michael Dawson.

Central Midfielders

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    Pack your bags

    Steven Gerrard is the England captain, is enjoying something of a revitalisation under Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool and is among the first names on the team sheet.

    The other two central midfielders assured of their places in Hodgson’s plans are Manchester United’s Michael Carrick and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere—assuming, of course, that the 22-year-old has sufficiently recovered from a broken foot.

     

    Checking flights

    Don’t look now, but Frank Lampard could easily end up staying back in London with Chelsea teammate Ashley Cole when England depart for Miami in early June.

    Ross Barkley and Jordan Henderson are midfielders with rather more upward mobility than the veteran Lampard, and both the Everton and Liverpool men have been performing well for their clubs this season.

     

    Pipe dream

    They’ll say it wasn’t because of the petition to keep him away from the squad, but Tom Cleverley’s World Cup chances have plummeted in recent months, and both Scott Parker and Leon Osman will likely be staying put as well.

Wide Men

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    Pack your bags

    Adam Lallana planted himself firmly in Hodgson’s thinking on Wednesday with a game-changing performance and should be part of the group that travels to Brazil. His form for Southampton this season has also shown him to be one of the preeminent attackers in the Premier League.

    Danny Welbeck and James Milner are Hodgson fixtures, so both will be heading to Brazil as well, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be joining them. The Arsenal man impressed Hodgson at Euro 2012 and can work from either flank.

    Theo Walcott’s World Cup dreams were dashed by a cruciate ligament injury.

     

    Checking flights

    Andros Townsend was England’s Man of the Match against Montenegro back in October and will be given serious consideration.

    Raheem Sterling is enjoying a purple patch at Liverpool but wasn’t particularly impressive against Denmark.

     

    Pipe dream

    Ashley Young isn’t anywhere near the squad.

Forwards

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    Pack your bags

    England may have looked better in the attacking third after Wayne Rooney was withdrawn on the hour mark against Denmark, but the potential of the Manchester United man in creating something special—never mind his work rate—makes him undroppable.

    Daniel Sturridge is England’s form goalscorer and, like his Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard, will be among the first names on the team sheet in Brazil.

     

    Checking flights

    Rickie Lambert has delivered for England when called upon (two goals in four appearances, to be exact), and the 32-year-old’s Southampton teammate Jay Rodriguez is able to play both in the middle and from the left.

     

    Pipe dream

    It may be difficult for Hodgson to omit Andy Carroll, but there are simply too many options ahead of the towering West Ham striker.

    Jermain Defoe’s move to Toronto FC will put him out of contention unless he goes on an otherworldly scoring spree in Major League Soccer.

Overview

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    Following is an overview of the squad.

    Sure-fire selections are in bold, the maybes are in normal script and the long-shots are italicised.

    Remember, this is not a mock-up of the England squad but rather a summary of the previous slides.

     

    Goalkeepers

    Joe Hart, Fraser Forster

    Ben Foster, John Ruddy

    Jack Butland

     

    Full-Backs

    Leighton Baines, Kyle Walker

    Luke Shaw, Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson

    Nathaniel Clyne, Kieran Gibbs

     

    Centre-Backs

    Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka

    Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Joleon Lescott

    Steven Caulker, Michael Dawson

     

    Central Midfielders

    Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere, Michael Carrick

    Frank Lampard, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson

    Tom Cleverley, Scott Parker, Leon Osman

     

    Wide Men

    Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

    Andros Townsend, Raheem Sterling

    Ashley Young

     

    Forwards

    Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge

    Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez

    Andy Carroll, Jermain Defoe