Football365's Famous World Cup Ladder

This is our final stab at 23-man squad that will be named by Roy Hodgson next week - along with 26 names of players who will miss out. And Phil Neville...

Last Updated: 06/05/14 at 16:20 Post Comment

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The numbers in brackets refer to their position in the last England ladder - on March 13. Please note once again - this is not an F365 pick but an approximation of Hodgson's thoughts.

1 (1) - Steven Gerrard
We're unlikely to do an Alan Hansen and start a sentence with "when Steven Gerrard lifts the World Cup this summer", but we do believe that England have a far greater chance of advancing from the group stage (likely) reaching the semi-finals (optimistic) and winning the whole damn thing (fantastical) with Gerrard on the pitch. Regardless of what happened to Liverpool's unexpected and then faltering title challenge, he has excelled for club and country this season.

2 (2) - Joe Hart
Up where he belongs.

3 (3) - Wayne Rooney
'All we have is a slowing-down Wayne Rooney,' was the verdict of Martin Allen in the Daily Mail this week. He advocates leaving Rooney out of the England squad; his nickname is Mad Dog. Rooney may not have scored against a top-half Premier League side in 2014 and has failed to muster a shot on target in his last three appearances for England, but he is still England's most gifted striker. Which sounds as ridiculous to us as it presumably does to you.

4 (4) - Gary Cahill
One of five Englishmen in the PFA Team of the Year after becoming a key ingredient in the meanest defence in the Premier League. Aston Villa sold him for peanuts, the fools.

5 (5) - Phil Jagielka
Ask Everton fans if they have missed Phil Jagielka, and they will show you a GIF of Antolin Alcaraz heading the ball into his own net. Cahill and Jagielka are now a double act as established as Morecambe and Wise/Stanger and Storey. Except not as funny/weird.

6 (6) - Daniel Sturridge
The Sturridge juggernaut has slowed to a middle-lane cruise in recent weeks as a combination of injury and fatigue (he's rarely played this much football and certainly never under so much pressure) has taken its toll, but he's still a shoo-in for the England squad. The question remains whether he will start alongside Rooney - either as a No. 9 or as part of a mobile-ish front three - or be forced to wait until Rooney inevitably wilts in the heat.

7 (8) - Glen Johnson
Slightly annoyed that we'll never be proved right that even a fully fit Kyle Walker would not have been in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad. Just not quite as annoyed as we are about Andros Townsend. 'World Cup blows', my arse.

8 (7) - Danny Welbeck
"I don't judge players on their last-minute form over two or three games. I'm judging them over two years," said Roy Hodgson last week. Which is lucky for Danny Welbeck, who has not scored in his last nine Manchester United appearances. Hard work and possession-protecting ganglyness are likely to see him preferred to the more dynamic Raheem Sterling against Italy.

9 (12) - Adam Lallana
Our friends at WhoScored have put seven little crosses on their little pitch to ilustrate where Lallana has played for Southampton this season. What they can't illustrate in that graphic is that Lallana has been creative, hard-working and refreshingly inventive in all seven of those positions. He's going.

10 (10) - Leighton Baines
He's had his hair cut to look like every other footballer; we like him a little less.

11 (9) - Jack Wilshere
"I am not prepared to have a 100 per cent rule that you either play in the last game of the season or you don't go - I am not prepared to do that. I have spoken to Arsene and they have been holding him back because they don't want to push him too early," says Hodgson. John Cross can try and whip up a 'fitness race' all he wants - barring a complete breakdown (never to be ruled out at Arsenal), the boy's going to Brazil.

12 (19) - Raheem Sterling
'If there's room for only one pure speedster - and by our reckoning there is - then it should be Sterling over the incredibly limited Andros Townsend,' we said in March. And now we can never say 'we told you so'. Balls.

13 (17) - Ashley Cole
This will be billed as a 'shock' inclusion by the media next week - even after a near-faultless return to the Chelsea side in recent weeks. There's plenty of time for Luke Shaw...after a final World Cup from England's greatest ever left-back. I've said all along that I expect Cole to start against Italy - Hodgson is stil to pick Baines over Cole in a match of any real importance - and recent weeks have only strengthened that view.

14 (13) - Phil Jones
Two years ago we would have enthusiastically predicted that Jones would be playing at centre-half in this World Cup; now we're praying that he's nothing but an unused back-up right-back (and that he stands right behind Joe Hart in the traditional squad photographs).

15 (15) - Ben Foster
England's No. 2. And that's just fine.

16 (16) - James Milner
Useful. Like a pan.

17 (14) - Frank Lampard
'Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard will be asked to be the old veterans to help keep Roy Hodgson's World Cup virgin soldiers on the straight and narrow,' wrote Martin Lipton in last week's Daily Mirror. We agree. Except we definitely would never use the phrase 'virgin soldiers'.

18 (18) - Chris Smalling
There's a Tracy Chapman song - 'If not now, then when?' - that I sing when thinking about Chris Smalling. Except 'If not him, then who?'. Does Roy sing it too?

19 (22) - Jordan Henderson
Liverpool have really missed him in recent weeks. There was a time when we would have been as unlikely to write those words as anything about 'virgin soldiers'.

20 (20) - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
"From my conversation with Arsene, I don't think there is too much to worry about with Oxlade-Chamberlain either" - words from Hodgson that must have brought a smile to the face of the injured Ox.

21 (26) - Ross Barkley
'Needs a rest. Should get it this summer,' is what I wrote in March when Barkley was flagging. Since then he has doubled his goals tally for the season and his all-action display against Manchester City proved he has tricks, if not consistency, up his sleeve. Roberto Martinez can say it better on Barkley than we ever can:

"When you have 23 players to choose from I think Ross is quite unique. I don't think there is another English player that can do what Ross does. Will we expect to win the World Cup because of Ross? No. That is what we need to be clear on. He has the potential to be one of the best midfielders in world football at the age of 25, 26, 27 but not now. If the role in the World Cup is to carry England, that is not Ross. But if it is someone that will be ready to help the team, someone who will be ready mentally and nothing will phase him, yes he has that character. He will be 100 per cent behind the team."

22 (21) - Fraser Forster
Will have far more confidence than the relegated John Ruddy if called upon.

23 (30) - Rickie Lambert
Even now I'm reluctant to put Lambert in the final 23 as the sneaking suspicion remains that Hodgson will still plump for Andy Carroll. But it's 4-2 to Lambert v Carroll since England's last friendly. Gah. Will I be proved wrong or right if it's Carroll?

24 (11) - Michael Carrick
'Rapidly becoming less polarising as his poor performances continue to characterise United's season. It seems his World Cup hopes are over following Roy Hodgson's hint at the weekend,' wrote our own Matthew Stanger this week.

25 (23) - Andy Carroll
Reserving the right to claim a Liverpool-esque moral victory if Carroll scores against Man City and still makes the squad.

26 (29) - Luke Shaw
'Too early. Happy to be corrected on May 13 but simply cannot see him being anything other than back-up this summer.' Nothing's changed except the date.

27 (27) - John Ruddy
England's England's No. 4.

28 (34) - Gareth Barry
A better player than Lampard right now - and two years younger - but whoever said life is fair?

29 (25) - Tom Cleverley
"Manchester United are one of the few teams that have had a lot of English players. But football players have to accept unfortunately their England careers are tied up with their club careers. If it's not going well in their clubs, and it's not going well for them in their clubs, and other players are doing extremely well in their clubs, it does put your position as a national team player under some sort of threat," said Hodgson. You've had fair warning, Tom.

30 (31) - Steven Caulker
Relegated and still fifth-choice England centre-half. We're not sure if that makes us sad or full of admiration?

31 (33) - Jermain Defoe
The Daily Mirror claimed last week that he will go to Brazil instead of an attacking midfielder like Barkley. It made us gip.

32 (35) - Ashley Young
Don't worry, he's only moved up because of injuries.

33 (39) - Curtis Davies
Too late now, fella.

34 (38) - Aaron Lennon
It's around this point when we start wondering why we ever committed to 50 names?

35 (37) - Adam Johnson
There are still those (mostly in the north-east) who think it's regional bias that he's not more seriously considered.

36 (36) - Kieran Gibbs
Injured again. Who'd have thunk it?

37 (42) - Jon Flanagan
Expect him to be involved post-Brazil.

38 (NE) - Connor Wickham
If only Roy was picking on form.

39 (45) - Tom Huddlestone
We'll generuosly say he was once considered.

40 (40) - Michael Dawson
Never seriously considered.

41 (41) - Danny Ings

42 (43) - Jack Butland

43 (44) - Fabian Delph

44 (NE) - Nathaniel Clyne

45 (RE) - Peter Crouch

46 (46) - Joleon Lescott

47 (NE) - Jason Puncheon

48 (NE) - Danny Rose

49 (49) - Mark Noble

50 (50) - Phil Neville

Sarah Winterburn

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