I’m writing this about an hour and a half before Roy Hodgson announces his provisional World Cup Squad. We will see a total of 30 players announced, only 23 of which will actually be a part of the final tournament squad.
We’ve already had some ideas as to some places thanks to Ashley Cole tweets and the ever-reliable ‘Sky Sources’. So here are my predictions:
- Joe Hart – Recently crowned Premier League champion and England’s undisputed number 1. He’s recovered well from a difficult spell at the start of the season and may prove vital in tight games for England.
- Ben Foster – Has been a difficult season at his club but he is still a fantastic Goalkeeper and a good back-up to Joe Hart.
- Fraser Forster – He’ll be pushing Foster all the way for the number 2 spot as he’s had great domestic success with Celtic over the last couple of seasons as well as demonstrating his individual capabilities in the Champions League with fantastic displays against the likes of Barcelona.
- Leighton Baines – another sensational season for the Everton man at left back. He’s been amongst the goals and assists even more than usual and his defensive ability and reading of the game have grown in stature under the management of Roberto Martinez – who has tipped Baines to make the transition to a central midfielder a la Philip Lahm.
- Luke Shaw – he’s caught the eye going forward for Southampton and at just 18 years of age, he is a fantastic talent. The media and subsequently England fans have developed an obsession with his abilities which is why his defensive naivety is often overlooked. Gibbs would’ve been my choice as more of an all-rounder but I think Hodgson will plump for the young Saint.
- Glen Johnson – he is far from my cup of tea, but you cannot avoid putting in the right back who has previous England experience and whose club finished second in the league. Especially when there is so little choice for England here.
- Chris Smalling – despite the poor form shown by Manchester United, the injury to Kyle Walker will force Hodgson into this. He can also play at Centre Back.
- Gary Cahill – has been brilliant for Chelsea this season alongside John Terry. It’s a shame the latter won’t be joining him in Brazil.
- Phil Jagielka – it has been a struggle with injuries for Jagielka but again, England’s lack of options will force Hodgson into this.
- Phil Jones – widely seen as a future England great, Jones will – like Smalling – shake off the poor form of Manchester United and be on the plane to Rio.
- Steven Caulker – I don’t know why but I have a feeling that Caulker will be there as a back up option and get the tournament experience under his belt.
- Steven Gerrard – an unforseen injury aside, Gerrard will be on the plane as England skipper.
- Frank Lampard – he’ll be one of the older players in the squad and will be of invaluable use as an experienced head on and off the field.
- Jack Wilshere – his reputation will get him in the squad and a recent injury lay-off may be of benefit to England.
- James Milner – a favourite of Roy Hodgson’s as he puts in a good shift on the flanks when required.
- Ross Barkley – he’s been sensational so despite his age, he can’t be missed out. Surely?
- Adam Lallana – up there with Cazorla as someone who uses both feet to devastating effects. Been a great player and leader for Southampton over many years.
- Raheem Sterling – a vastly improved player who looks like a world-beater. I’m unsure whether he will make it, though, as Hodgson will clearly not be playing in the same way as Liverpool have.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – again he has been injured recently but his goal at the Maracana a few months ago will give Roy hope that he can do it again.
- Rooney – will be picked by Hodgson whether he’s fit or not. However, I don’t think his performances over the last two years have merited a place in the squad. He has, though, always scored for us in the qualifiers.
- Sturridge – over 20 goals for him this season with a mix of the sensational and the instinctual.
- Ricky Lambert – he provides a physical presence up front that otherwise we would be lacking. At the same time his penalties, free kicks, finishing and build up play are also world-class.
- Danny Welbeck – I originally had Jordan Henderson as an additional midfielder but I just can’t see Roy leaving out his favoured left winger.