How England Will Line Up vs. Peru in International Friendly
Trying to predict the England lineup, particularly for a friendly against Peru, is a thankless task.
Roy Hodgson, who has selected a squad made up of several young and in some cases relatively untested players, will be keen to try out a number of combinations ahead of his side's World Cup campaign starting on June 14.
However, with two more friendly matches—against Ecuador and Honduras—giving him ample opportunity to mix things up, Friday's game may see a starting XI close to that which England will employ against Italy in their first group game of the tournament.
After stuttering through the last few games, Hodgson will be desperate to secure a win in this one.
Here is a predicted lineup for the match using a 4-2-3-1 formation. Feel free to use the comment section underneath to make suggested alterations.
This is one of the most obvious selections Hodgson will make for the World Cup. Manchester City's Joe Hart is firmly England's No. 1. Barring an injury between now and June 14, he will almost certainly start against Italy.
Therefore, it would make sense to start him against Peru in order for Hart to continue developing an understanding with his back four.
With Fraser Forster and Ben Foster collecting just seven England caps between them, it may be a good idea to give them some game time at some stage before the tournament commences, but it's likely Hart will start this one.
Much of England's squad is made up of young, exciting players. However, it's in defence where experience remains key.
England have what looks to be their first-choice back four—Glen Johnson, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill and Leighton Baines—fit and available.
That defence would have little trouble coping with the pressure of a World Cup atmosphere and is expected to be Hodgson's choice of back line for the Peru friendly.
Jagielka, in particular, needs games, having missed 11 of Everton's last 13 matches of the season. His participation from the start seems certain.
Steven Gerrard, England's captain and most experienced player with 109 caps, will be involved in all of England's warm up matches—injury permitting.
He will start in a deep-lying midfield role much like the one he has operated in at club level this season with great effect. His manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, has altered his game somewhat, encouraging him to sit deeper and use his fantastic range of passing to launch attacks.
Alongside him is likely to be Jordan Henderson, Gerrard's Liverpool teammate, who has enjoyed a great season. He is arguably the most-improved player in the Premier League, and with him and Gerrard in tandem behind England's more attacking players, it would provide a solid platform on which they can build.
Ahead of the two deep-lying midfielders, England have a wealth of options. Three forwards behind a lone striker is likely to be the system Hodgson opts for, with plenty of pace and power to choose from.
After a wonderful season at Anfield, it's likely 19-year-old Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is at the forefront of Hodgson's mind. Of all of England's untested stars, he is the most likely to feature in the first group game, so expect him to start on the right of the three against Peru.
Alongside him is likely to be Danny Welbeck, a player whose talents are clearly appreciated by Hodgson and who scored four goals in qualifying. His ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play makes him vital to England's cause, and although he isn't naturally suited to playing on the left, he has managed to perform well there for England before.
Daniel Sturridge is likely to win the final berth behind the striker. He will play centrally, as close to England's main attacker as possible, where his intelligence and quick passing can be best utilised.
That leaves just one position at the pinnacle of the 4-2-3-1 formation, and Wayne Rooney is the man almost certain to start there.
Having missed the final month of the season through injury, Rooney could do with the minutes, with his match sharpness hugely important to England's chances of progressing from their World Cup group.