Football365's Famous World Cup Ladder

If the squad was picked today then Andros Townsend would be in. Ashley Young wouldn't. And neither would Kyle Walker. We predict the 50 in Roy's reckoning...

Last Updated: 16/10/13 at 15:33 Post Comment

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The numbers in brackets refer to their position in the last England ladder - after the Moldova/Ukraine qualifiers in September.


1 (1) - Wayne Rooney
"Wayne is our own only truly world-class player. Andros Townsend played well but we're not going to win the World Cup by just getting down the wings and putting crosses in," said John Barnes on Tuesday night. Spoilsport. He's right, mind - you also have to hold and give but do it at the right time. Seven goals in six World Cup qualifiers - including the opener when it mattered twice this week - shows why Rooney tops this ladder once again. Mind, he scored nine in qualification for the 2010 World Cup and that ended really, really well (it didn't).


2 (2) - Steven Gerrard
It must be miserable watching England as a Manchester United fan, counting the wayward passes from Gerrard and dismissing every inch-perfect set-piece, tackle or goal as a fluke. Thankfully, those of us who support ordinary teams like Huddersfield can simply enjoy an excellent player who has done a tremendous captain's job both on and off the pitch in this qualification campaign. We're lucky to have him.


3 (5) - Joe Hart
Can we move on now? A whole lot of nonsense was said and written about Hart being dropped, which was then given more credence than it deserved by people who should know better writing that he should not be dropped as he's England's best goalkeeper. He is. No argument. And he's conceded just one goal (not his fault) in the last four qualifiers.


4 (4) - Glen Johnson
When people talk excitedly about England's new-found strength in depth, they're not talking about right-back. There's a big drop to Kyle Walker and there's another big drop to Chris Smalling. Get well and stay well, Glen.


5 (8) - Gary Cahill
We've been accused of being a tad harsh on this pairing in recent weeks - describing them as 'underwhelming' on several occasions - and we did feel bad for about four seconds until we remembered how easily Cahill was outfoxed by Kenny Miller. That's Kenny 'The Magician' Miller. They've started seven in a row so this pair are definitely on the plane.


6 (9) - Phil Jagielka
It's not that they're terrible; we just wish there was somebody better.


7 (3) - Jack Wilshere
'In an ideal world we would have a half-decent No. 9 (Sturridge?) that would allow Rooney to play No. 10 and we could play our central midfielders in, wait for it, central midfield' is what we said last month. We were kind of right. That happened. It's just that Wilshere had been jettisoned from his central midfield role for club and could not claim it back for country. Astonishingly, he played only 146 minutes of this qualifying campaign. That's less than Andros Townsend and Rickie Lambert.


8 (6) - Danny Welbeck
Continues to infuriate; continues to divide; continues to play. Had he not been suspended for the trip to Ukraine, he would have been behind only Hart, Gerrard and Jagielka in terms of minutes played in this campaign. Often looks in absolutely zero control of his limbs and confused by the concept of firing the ball towards the white things but he has somehow become almost irreplaceable with his workrate and excellent attitude. Basically he's Emile Heskey with better hair and smaller hands (we assume).


9 (10) - Daniel Sturridge
'He will surely start when England need goals' was our hopeful plea and lo, it came to pass. He was hardly electrifying against Montenegro and Poland but his movement in and around the box and link-up play with Welbeck hinted at a brighter future. Likely to be sacrificed against better sides but provides England with another goalscoring option that isn't Mr Rooney. We have no sodding idea what he was doing with that header against Poland, mind.


10 (7) - Ashley Cole
Is he still ahead? Only Roy knows. But it's telling that he's never actually chosen Leighton Baines over Cole for a competitive match.


11 (12) - Leighton Baines
Let's just be happy that we have them both for now and wish things were as close to call on the other side of Jagielka and Cahill. Only 19% of people are left-handed/footed. How has this happened?


12 (11) - Theo Walcott
We challenged you last month to come up with a better option on the right than the infuriating Walcott. Some of you will undoubtedly now come back with the name of Andros Townsend. We - and we suspect Roy Hodgson - will put this particular right-wing coup on hold until we've seen Townsend for more than two England games. Comparing Walcott's performance when part of a front four with Wilshere, Lambert and James Milner in Ukraine with Townsend's twin turns alongside Rooney, Sturridge and Welbeck is more than a tad unfair. For now Walcott still has the shirt.


13 (14) - James Milner
Surely too Yorkshire for the Brazilian heat but he will be there, coming on for seven minutes as we desperately try to hold on to victory against Australia.


14 (18) - Michael Carrick
Called upon when England required control against Poland and did everything right. Twitter exploded when he was substituted after 71 minutes but Hodgson clearly remembered - even if most had forgotten - how he had tired in Poland and Montenegro to allow possible victories to become potentially harmful draws. He will be useful in Brazil.


15 (15) - Frank Lampard
For someone who is apparently being eased out of the England reckoning, he has started a whole barrel-load of England games lately. Only five players played more minutes in this World Cup qualifying campaign than Lampard. He looked jaded against Montenegro on Friday so a lot will depend on how much he tires/ages in the next seven months.


16 (13) - Tom Cleverley
We're an awful lot more comfortable with Cleverley in 16th than we were with Cleverley in sixth. Hodgson's obsession was bordering on the creepy and England have looked markedly better in his absence. A decent player but his presence in England's starting XI was a symptom of a worrying lack of options.


17 (16) - Ben Foster
We're assuming he's second choice until he's available and not picked.


18 (17) - Chris Smalling
Likely to be third-choice centre-half and second-choice right-back in Brazil. We've covered the paucity of centre-half options in-depth elsehwere - unfortunately there's literally nobody politely tapping, never mind banging, on the door demanding inclusion.


19 (19) - Phil Jones
And as if to illustrate the point, here's the fourth-choice centre-half and third-choice left-back. And he hasn't played a single minute of this qualifying campaign.


20 (20) - John Ruddy
Can probably start learning Portuguese if he stays fit.


21 (21) - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Been named in every Hodgson squad for which he's been available. It will be very interesting to see what happens when the choice is between The Ox and Ross Barkley.


22 (42) - Andros Townsend
If the World Cup squad was picked today, Townsend would be on the plane after two explosive performances, but he's been very sensible in saying, "I have got to put that to the back of my mind now," because his biggest challenge is to hold off Aaron Lennon and Erik Lamela for a Tottenham place. We were sceptical about his call-up but anybody who ousts Ashley Young from a likely 23 is absolutely fine by us (even if he does just mostly cut inside and twat it).


23 (23) - Andy Carroll
Hodgson will take a big man; Carroll is a big man. But will his legs ever work again?


24 (22) - Ashley Young
'Clinging on by his fingertips' we said. Townsend has just stamped on the buggers.


25 (24) - Rickie Lambert
Let's face it, Roy doesn't want to have to take him.


26 (25) - Kyle Walker
Nobody takes two specialist right-backs to a major tournament. Especially when one of them is prone to massive brainfades.


27 (29) - Ross Barkley
He's English, he's started every Premier League game for Everton and he looks pretty good. The boy has a chance.


28 (28) - Fraser Forster
England's No. 4?


29 (27) - Jermain Defoe
Will surely only ever start another competitive game for England if they surprise everybody by entering the Europa League.


30 (30) - Steven Caulker
Edging out Joleon Lescott in the battle to be fifth-choice centre-half behind two players who rarely play centre-half.


31 (26) - Joleon Lescott
Odds-on to go to Brazil with some bookies; some bookies are mental.


32 (40) - Kieran Gibbs
Arsenal's first-choice left-back and only in the squad if there's an injury. Ridiculous.


33 (38) - Raheem Sterling
Hodgson seems very keen to keep him involved, though he must be cursing the emergence of Townsend more than most.


34 (32) - Aaron Lennon
...though probably not as much as him.


35 (31) - Jordan Henderson
Could play a big part post-Brazil but it would take a stack of injuries to get him a chance now.


36 (35) - Gareth Barry
Not to be ruled out as a stand-in for Carrick in the 'ticking over' role.


37 (NE) - Ravel Morrison
Probably worth a look. Though don't look directly at him.


38 (33) - Jack Butland
Will a Barnsley loan save his World Cup? No.


39 (34) - Wilfried Zaha
Needs a loan move to get a chance. Don't we have an awful lot of wingers?


40 (36) - Leon Osman
Played 34 minutes in qualifying. Thanks Leon.

41 (37) - Michael Dawson

42 (39) - Jonjo Shelvey

43 (NE) - Adam Lallana

44 (44) - Fabian Delph

45 (47) - Carl Jenkinson

46 (45) - Adam Johnson

47 (48) - Tom Huddlestone

48 (46) - Jack Rodwell

49 (NE) - Saido Berahino

50 (50) - Phil Neville

Sarah Winterburn

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