5 Things England Coach Roy Hodgson Should Test Against Peru

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2014

5 Things England Coach Roy Hodgson Should Test Against Peru

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    With three friendly matches before England's opening World Cup encounter against Italy on June 14, Roy Hodgson has plenty of opportunities to experiment with his young squad, starting with a game against Peru on Friday.

    Hodgson will very likely have an idea as to who will be in his starting XI for the first game in Brazil, but if an individual impresses in the remaining games, that player could stake a strong claim to be involved.

    Here we take a look at five areas of experimentation available to Hodgson in the Peru match. 

Jagielka's Fitness

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    Having missed 11 of Everton's last 13 league games this season, centre-back Phil Jagielka is in need of games. If everyone in Hodgson's squad was fully fit and in form, Jagielka would very likely be a guaranteed starter alongside Gary Cahill in the heart of the defence.

    Therefore, it makes sense to give him as much game time as possible during these three friendly matches, starting against Peru on Friday. If he comes through unscathed and looks sharp, he will be in pole position to start against Italy—a big bonus for England if it happens. 

Rotation of Left-Backs

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    Leighton Baines is undoubtedly in pole position to be England's left-back for the opening group game and therefore should start against Peru. However, with Luke Shaw developing into a fine attacking full-back, ensuring he receives some game time before the tournament is also vital.

    Shaw is a precocious talent, but with just one cap to his name, he needs bringing up to speed at international level before he can be trusted in a World Cup match. He is in the squad on merit and deserves a chance to shine, and these next three friendlies are the ideal opportunity. 

Liverpool Core

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    In his latest Paddy Power blog, former England midfielder Paul Scholes argued that Liverpool's five England representatives should be central to Hodgson's summer plans.

    Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge were all a huge part of Liverpool's successful season that saw them move from seventh in the previous campaign to second this time around and finish just two points off title winners Manchester City.

    Liverpool's style of play also won them a slew of admirers, and Scholes believes introducing the same pace and attacking intent into the national team would be beneficial—a far cry from the insipid football that has characterised many of the Three Lions' previous campaigns.

    Hodgson may well be tempted to play all five and see if the momentum gathered at Anfield can help his side. 

Fresh Faces

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    Hodgson's squad selection surprised and impressed many people. Gone is the overreliance on aging members of their "Golden Generation" and in has come a stream of very talented young players who could well be part of future World Cup campaigns.

    It's exciting times, and despite the majority of England fans accepting their side's chances of winning the tournament are minimal, there's a genuine interest in assessing their future prospects.

    Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are three new faces who could play a potentially huge role in Brazil. Making sure they are given opportunities to shine and feel part of the side during the upcoming friendly games is important. 

Attacking Intent

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    If there was one element of England's Euro 2012 campaign that disappointed the most, it was England's lack of attacking intent. Their football was slow and laboured, too reliant on defending rather than looking to win matches.

    However, one look at Hodgson's squad this time suggests he'd be well-advised to radically alter that approach. England are stacked full of pace and attacking options, with the youthful exuberance of Barkley and Sterling augmenting the experience and quality of Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge.

    With England's chances of winning the tournament minimal, their fans would appreciate a switch to a more attacking brand of football, starting against Peru this week.