England World Cup 2014: Team Guide for FIFA Tournament
Expectations amongst England fans are as low as they've been ahead of a major finals for quite some time.
Roy Hodgson and his team head to the World Cup in Brazil without much of the pressure that has weighed down England sides of the past, and that, many feel, could be a blessing.
Hodgson has named his 23-man squad for the finals: a youthful, energetic group of players who have impressed throughout the season. The reaction to the selection has been largely positive, and for those involved, they will know the chance to play in a World Cup in Brazil is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they must seize.
Here is the lowdown on each player who made the squad selection.
Name: Fraser Forster
Date of Birth: March 17, 1988
Brief Bio: Forster made his England debut back in November having built a reputation as a 'keeper capable of handling the pressure of big games. He's won three consecutive Scottish top-flight titles and has performed well in Celtic's Champions League matches in recent seasons.
Quick-Hit Fact: The 26-year-old Forster started his career as a trainee at Newcastle before loan spells at Stockport, Bristol Rovers and Norwich caught the eye of the Celtic staff. He is now firmly established as Celtic's No. 1.
Quick-Hit Stat: He has made 243 appearances in his career at club level.
Name: Ben Foster
Date of Birth: April 3, 1983
Birthplace: Leamington Spa
Club: West Brom
Brief Bio: Foster made 12 appearances for Manchester United during his five years at the club before moving to Birmingham in search of more regular games where he won the League Cup in 2011. He retired from international football but returned last year for England's game against Ireland.
Quick-Hit Fact: Made his England debut against Spain in 2007.
Quick-Hit Stat: Foster kept just four clean sheets in 24 Premier League matches for West Brom this season.
Name: Joe Hart
Date of Birth: April 19, 1987
Club: Manchester City
Brief Bio: Hart signed for City from Shrewsbury in 2006 and enjoyed successful loan spells at Tranmere, Blackpool and Birmingham before establishing himself in the first team at the Etihad. He's since won two league titles and an FA Cup, and goes to the World Cup firmly as England's No. 1.
Quick-Hit Fact: During his spell at Birmingham in 2009-10, Hart was named in the PFA Team of the Year and nominated for the Young Player of the Year award.
Quick-Hit Stat: This season, Hart conceded an average of 0.97 goals per game, keeping 13 clean sheets.
Name: Leighton Baines
Date of Birth: December, 11 1984
Brief Bio: Since his move to Everton from Wigan in 2007, Baines has developed into arguably the finest left-back in the Premier League. He spent five years at Wigan before his move,and has been the subject of strong interest from Manchester United in recent seasons before he signed a new deal at Goodison Park.
Quick-Hit Fact: He won the Second Division with Wigan in 2002-03.
Quick-Hit Stat: In 2010-11, Baines contributed 11 assists, the fifth highest in the league and the highest by a defender. He is one of the most attacking full-backs in the Premier League and will be expected to contribute to England's attack during the World Cup.
Name: Gary Cahill
Date of Birth: December 19, 1985
Brief Bio: Cahill started his career at Aston Villa before being loaned out to Burnley and Sheffield United. He impressed for the Blades and eventually signed permanently for Bolton Wanderers where he began to prove himself at the highest level. He signed for Chelsea in 2012.
Quick-Hit Fact: He has already won one FA Cup, one Champions League and one Europa League for Chelsea, and is now regarded as one of the finest centre-backs in the Premier League.
Quick-Hit Stat: He made 30 league appearances for Chelsea this season and was booked just twice.
Name: Phil Jagielka
Date of Birth: August 17, 1982
Brief Bio: Jagielka spent seven years at Sheffield United where he was known as one of the best defenders outside the top flight. He moved to Everton in 2007 and has been a virtual ever-present for the Toffees ever since.
Quick-Hit Fact: Jagielka was named Everton's Player of the Season 2009.
Quick-Hit Stat: Jagielka missed nine of the last 12 Premier League matches through injury.
Name: Glen Johnson
Date of Birth: August 23, 1984
Brief Bio: Johnson started life at West Ham, and after just 15 league games, where he had impressed massively, Chelsea decided to sign him for £6 million. He played for Portsmouth for two years before joining Liverpool in 2009.
Quick-Hit Fact: With 50 England caps, Johnson is the most experienced defender in Hodgson's World Cup squad.
Quick-Hit Stat: He played 29 league games for Liverpool this season and failed to score a goal.
Name: Phil Jones
Date of Birth: February 21, 1992
Club: Manchester United
Brief Bio: Jones signed for United in a big-money move back in 2011 after two impressive years spent in the Blackburn Rovers first team.
Quick-Hit Fact: He made his England debut against Montenegro in 2011.
Quick-Hit Stat: Jones was a Premier League title winner in 2012-13, making 17 appearances.
Name: Chris Smalling
Date of Birth: November 22, 1989
Club: Manchester United
Brief Bio: Smalling's rise through the divisions has been rapid. In 2008, he was playing for Maidstone before Fulham decided to take a chance on him. Two years later, he signed for United and has won two Premier League titles already.
Quick-Hit Fact: His form for United has been poor this season, and he can count himself fortunate to be involved in the England squad for the finals.
Quick-Hit Stat: He made 25 league appearances for United in the Premier League this season.
Name: Luke Shaw
Date of Birth: July 12, 1995
Birthplace: Kingston upon Thames
Brief Bio: At 18 years old, Shaw has been a revelation for Southampton this season and fully deserves his place on the plane to Brazil. He's been at Southampton throughout his career, having emerged from their famed academy. He will be the subject of interest from a host of big clubs this summer.
Quick-Hit Fact: He was a virtual ever-present for Saints this season, missing just three league matches.
Quick-Hit Stat: He created 33 chances for his Southampton team-mates this season, demonstrating his desire to get forward and support the attack.
Name: Ross Barkley
Date of Birth: December 5, 1993
Brief Bio: Brakley joined Everton as an 11-year-old and enjoyed loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United before establishing himself in the Everton side. Some feel he was held back by former manager David Moyes, but he has flourished under Roberto Martinez and has been superb this season. His inclusion is incredibly exciting for England fans desperate to see young, exciting players capable of freshening up their style.
Quick-Hit Fact: He has played for England at every level from U16 to the senior side.
Quick-Hit Stat: He played 34 Premier League matches this season, scoring six goals.
Name: Steven Gerrard
Date of Birth: May 30, 1980
Brief Bio: Gerrard is a true one-club man, having been at Liverpool throughout his entire career. He has had an excellent season in a new, deep-lying midfield role, and he will bring much-needed experience to a young squad.
Quick-Hit Fact: Gerrard needs to win the Premier League title to complete a full set of honours, having won the FA Cup twice, the League Cup three times, a Champions League, a UEFA Cup and two UEFA Super Cups.
Quick-Hit Stat: He has scored 21 international goals.
Name: Jordan Henderson
Date of Birth: 17 June 1990
Brief Bio: Henderson signed for Liverpool in 2011 after impressing at Sunderland. He struggled initially at Anfield, but Brendan Rodgers has worked wonders with him, developing him into one of the finest box-to-box midfielder in the league.
Quick-Hit Fact: Made his England debut against France in 2010.
Quick-Hit Stat: He made 35 Premier League appearances this season as Liverpool finished second, scoring four goals and seven assists.
Name: Adam Lallana
Date of Birth: May 10, 1998
Birthplace: St Albans
Brief Bio: Lallana has spent his entire career at Southampton and continues to improve. He has wonderful technical ability and is the creative force behind much of Saints' best attacking play. He could well be on the move this summer, with Liverpool thought to be interested.
Quick-Hit Fact: Made 42 appearances in all competitions for Southampton this season, scoring 10 goals.
Quick-Hit Stat: Created 68 chances in the Premier League in 2013-14.
Name: Frank Lampard
Date of Birth: June 20, 1978
Brief Bio: Lampard started at West Ham but has gone on to have a wonderful career at Chelsea.
Quick-Hit Fact: He's managed more than 20 goals in all competitions on five occasions as a Chelsea player, remarkable for a central midfielder.
Quick-Hit Stat: Lampard has 29 England goals.
Name: James Milner
Date of Birth: January 4, 1986
Club: Manchester City
Brief Bio: Made his debut for Leeds United as a 16-year-old before spells at Newcastle and Aston Villa saw him develop into one of the finest English players in the top flight. Signed for City in 2010 and has been a key player in their two league titles, as well as their FA Cup and League Cup wins.
Quick-Hit Fact: Was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 2009-10.
Quick-Hit Stat: Has just one international goal to show for his 45 caps.
Name: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Date of Birth: August 15, 1993
Brief Bio: Having come through Southampton's famed academy, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger decided to move for Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2011. He has incredible pace but was a doubt for the finals after struggling in recent weeks with a groin problem, although he's now fit and ready.
Quick-Hit Fact: Already has three international goals from just 14 caps. He's made the transition from club to international level look straightforward.
Quick-Hit Stat: Made just 14 league appearances this season.
Name: Raheem Sterling
Date of Birth: December 8, 1994
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Brief Bio: Sterling has been a revelation for Liverpool since he made his debut for the first team in 2012 as a 17-year-old. He possesses pace and inventiveness, and he could be a key player for England in Brazil.
Quick-Hit Fact: Became the second-youngest player to play for the Liverpool first team when he played against Wigan in 2012.
Quick-Hit Stat: Scored nine league goals in 33 appearances this season.
Name: Jack Wilshere
Date of Birth: January 1, 1992
Brief Bio: Wilshere, who has been at Arsenal throughout his career, is considered one of the finest natural talents England has produced in many years. He's technically gifted with wonderful awareness, and he could go on to have a successful career at international level.
Quick-Hit Fact: Joined the Arsenal academy as a nine-year-old after a brief spell at Luton.
Quick-Hit Stat: Played 24 times in the Premier League this season, scoring three goals.
Name: Rickie Lambert
Date of Birth: February 16, 1982
Brief Bio: Lambert's rise to the top of the English game has seen him spend time at Blackpool, Maccelsfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before signing for Southampton in 2009.
Quick-Hit Fact: He has scored 106 league goals in 207 games for Southampton.
Quick-Hit Stat: Scored 13 league goals in 37 matches this season.
Name: Wayne Rooney
Date of Birth: October 24, 1985
Club: Manchester United
Brief Bio: England's star player, Rooney has been at United since 2004 after a short but explosive spell at Everton. He has 38 goals for England and will carry much of the attacking responsibility in Brazil.
Quick-Hit Fact: Has been named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year three times in his career.
Quick-Hit Stat: Managed 17 goals and 10 assists in the league this season.
Name: Daniel Sturridge
Date of Birth: September 1, 1989
Brief Bio: After coming through the ranks at Manchester City, Sturridge has gone on to play for Chelsea and Liverpool. He's had a remarkable season and fully deserves his place in the squad.
Quick-Hit Fact: Spent six months on loan at Bolton in 2011.
Quick-Hit Stat: Scored 21 goals in 29 league games this season.
Name: Danny Welbeck
Date of Birth: November 26, 1990
Club: Manchester United
Brief Bio: Has played for United since 2008 after coming through the club's academy. Is known for being a hardworking player but is often criticised for his lack of goals. He managed nine in the league this season.
Quick-Hit Fact: Had loan spells at Preston and Sunderland earlier in his career to gain first-team experience.
Quick-Hit Stat: He has scored eight goals for England.