England expects: Time for youth

Our Nick Hext took the role of Roy Hodgson to pick his England squad ahead of the clash with Denmark.

Last Updated: 05/03/14 at 20:35 Post Comment

Jordan Henderson and Ross Barkley are both in Nick's squad

Jordan Henderson and Ross Barkley are both in Nick's squad

There are 99 days to go until the start of the World Cup and our Nick Hext has taken the role of Roy Hodgson to pick his England squad.

May 13 is the date England boss Roy Hodgson has to name his provisional 30-man World Cup squad but our Nick Hext is going for it early by naming the 23-man party he would take to Brazil.

Things can of course change between now and May but if the squad is selected today these are the players who would make the cut and prices are provided from Sky Bet's England World Cup squad market.

Some notable names miss out and our man also has a go at picking his team to take the field for England's opening Group D contest against Italy on June 14.

Read on for the full squad...


GOALKEEPERS


Joe Hart

Club: Manchester City
Age: 26
Caps: 38
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/50

Now back in the Manchester City side, despite Costel Pantilimon getting the nod for the Capital One Cup, and still England's clear and undisputed first choice.

Ben Foster

Club: West Brom
Age: 30
Caps: 6
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/2

The West Brom number one is back in the reckoning for England after ending two years of self-imposed exile and gets my vote as Hart's understudy.

Jack Butland

Club: Stoke (on loan at Leeds)
Age: 20
Caps: 1
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 10/1

I would go for Butland as the third-choice goalkeeper ahead of Fraser Forster. He will impress in the Premier League when Asmir Begovic moves on from Stoke.


DEFENDERS


Kyle Walker

Club: Tottenham
Age: 23
Caps: 10
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/6

An interesting battle for the right-back spot between Walker and Glen Johnson and the Spurs man gets the nod from me courtesy of his attacking play. There is no consolation for Johnson either as he misses out on a trip to Brazil because...

Phil Jones

Club: Manchester United
Age: 22
Caps: 9
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/5

Jones takes a slot in the squad due to his versatility (ironically so often a curse for him at Manchester United as he fails to nail down a regular starting spot). He takes the reserve right-back role and acts as cover for the centre of defence and if needed can provide added steel in midfield. This frees up space in the party for another attacking option.

Ashley Cole

Club: Chelsea
Age: 33
Caps: 106
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/16

Cole is no longer a first-choice for Chelsea but still deserves his spot in the England squad. It's still quite a decision to make between the 106-cap veteran and Leighton Baines so both men have to be included.

Leighton Baines

Club: Everton
Age: 29
Caps: 22
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/25

The other left-back in the squad also isn't a shock. Baines has been a star for Everton consistently over the last few seasons and his set-pieces are sensational. Luke Shaw misses out but his time will come.

Gary Cahill

Club: Chelsea
Age: 28
Caps: 22
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/20

Cahill makes the squad as my first-choice centre-half in a position that I think will cause England problems this summer. The strength in depth isn't there - certainly when compared with the options in the centre of midfield - but the Chelsea defender is the pick of the bunch.

Phil Jagielka

Club: Everton
Age: 31
Caps: 24
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/16

Jagielka has been Cahill's regular partner in the centre of England's defence and that should continue in Brazil barring a return for John Terry. The Everton stalwart is a sturdy campaigner but will he be able to cope with the cream of the world's attacking talent?

Michael Dawson

Club: Tottenham
Age: 30
Caps: 4
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 11/2

Dawson gets the vote as the back-up centre-half against a lack of other realistic contenders given Chris Smalling's poor season, Joleon Lescott's consistent lack of action and a very hard campaign for Steven Caulker at Cardiff. However, a spot on the plane might escape the 30-year-old if John Terry's international retirement ends but for now I will presume that it won't.


MIDFIELDERS


Steven Gerrard

Club: Liverpool
Age: 33
Caps: 108
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/25The centre of midfield provides the most options for Hodgson but there is no doubt Gerrard remains the right choice as captain and first-choice in this position. The World Cup could be his last hurrah as an England player so the pressure is on.

Michael Carrick

Club: Manchester United
Age: 32
Caps: 31
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/4

It hasn't been a good season for Manchester United but Carrick remains a strong performer. He is one of the first names on David Moyes' teamsheet and is right in the reckoning for a spot in my first XI.

Jack Wilshere

Club: Arsenal
Age: 22
Caps: 14
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/8

The Arsenal midfielder continues to live on the verge of fulfilling his potential. I wouldn't have him as a certainty for the Italy match but there is the talent within him to make a big impact on the tournament.

Jordan Henderson

Club: Liverpool
Age: 23
Caps: 7
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 4/5

This is where it gets tough. Henderson in my view has been one of the standout English performers in the Premier League and as such deserves his place in the squad. I think he's right in the running for a starting place too.

Ross Barkley

Club: Everton
Age: 20
Caps: 3
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 8/15

It's all about youth v experience for the final central midfielder in my squad and youth gets the vote. Frank Lampard has been a terrific servant for England but I don't see his partnership with Steven Gerrard finally starting to work this summer. That leaves Barkley and he could be just what is needed off the bench to create some havoc.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Club: Arsenal
Age: 20
Caps: 13
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 4/5

The Arsenal midfielder is back in action after missing the first half of the season through injury and looks a certainty for the trip to Brazil. If his form remains on the up than a slot in the opening match is a big possibility.

Raheem Sterling

Club: Liverpool
Age: 19
Caps: 1
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 4/5

The wildcard. The player who if the stars align could make the impact Michael Owen enjoyed in 1998 or more realistically Aaron Lennon in 2006. Sterling is hit-and-miss for Liverpool but when he's on form defences will be worried.

Andros Townsend

Club: Tottenham
Age: 22
Caps: 4
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 2/5

Townsend certainly isn't getting a place in the squad based on his performances for Tottenham. His selection goes back to the super displays in England's wins over Montenegro and Poland at the end of qualifying and that impact deserves another shot.

Adam Lallana

Club: Southampton
Age: 25
Caps: 2
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 8/11

Lallana has been one of the Premier League's most consistent performers this season and provides a reliable option. He deserves his chance this summer and gets the nod ahead of the likes of James Milner, Ashley Young and, his closest contender in my book, Adam Johnson.


STRIKERS


Wayne Rooney

Club: Manchester United
Age: 28
Caps: 88
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/66

The obvious man to lead the line and still the biggest attacking threat. Rooney is one of the few players available for England that opposition defences will worry about facing and carries much of the expectation.

Danny Welbeck

Club: Manchester United
Age: 23
Caps: 20
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/10

The Manchester United striker did enough during qualifying to prove he can play a role at international level. His chances of a first-team spot depend on the formation Hodgson goes with.

Daniel Sturridge

Club: Liverpool
Age: 24
Caps: 9
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 1/20

Sturridge has shown this season that he can be a top-level Premier League performer and it will be interesting to see him come up against Luis Suarez in the clash with Uruguay. He is favourite to partner Rooney unless a five-man midfield is required.

Andy Carroll

Club: West Ham
Age: 25
Caps: 9
Sky Bet odds to be in the squad: 5/2

The final place in the squad goes to the returning West Ham striker. Rickie Lambert is unfortunate to miss out but I reckon Carroll will provide the greater danger off the bench.


MISSING OUT


From those included in the squad to face Denmark

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster, Celtic (1/4), John Ruddy (Norwich, evens).

Defenders: Glen Johnson, Liverpool (1/6), Luke Shaw, Southampton (9/4), Chris Smalling, Manchester United (2/5), Steven Caulker, Cardiff (7/1).

Midfielders: Tom Cleverley, Manchester United (evens), Frank Lampard, Chelsea (1/4), James Milner, Manchester City (1/6).

Strikers: Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC (4/1), Rickie Lambert, Southampton (7/4), Jay Rodriguez, Southampton (7/2).

My full squad: Joe Hart, Ben Foster, Jack Butland, Kyle Walker, Phil Jones, Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Michael Dawson, Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend, Adam Lallana, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge, Andy Carroll.


TEAM TO PLAY ITALY


Formation: 4-3-3

Goalkeeper: Joe Hart

Defence: Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Ashley Cole

Midfield: Michael Carrick, Steven Gerrard (C), Jordan Henderson

Strikers: Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck

A very attacking line-up no doubt but I think three points are required from England with the very tough test against Uruguay coming up in the second match. Carrick sits in front of the defence to protect and Gerrard and Henderson continue their understanding from Liverpool with the captain playing a more attacking role than for his club. Rooney will play on the right of the attack but with the freedom to roam as Sturridge stays central and Welbeck operates on the left. The wide players can also drop back to make it a 4-5-1 if necessary. The bench contains plenty of attacking options with Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend, Adam Lallana, Ross Barkley and Andy Carroll all interesting options.

  • Posted at 0900 GMT on 04/03/2014 and all statistics correct to this point.


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