World Cup 2014: Possible XI for England
Another major tournament has passed and unfortunately another one without success. Surprised? I can’t say I am. Qualifying from the group was expected but progressing much further than that was always going to be difficult. That is not being harsh on the squad, it is simply being realistic.
Looking ahead to 2014, here is a ‘potential’ XI that, if a squad transition was made between now and Brazil, could turn out for the country. I think the biggest improvement will be in the midfield. Wilshere and his midfield partner, Cleverly in this case, will offer the ability to maintain possession and effectively anchor the game – something vital is we are to be successful.Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) Joe Hart. Walker, Jones, Cahill, Cole. Wilshere, Cleverly. Walcott, Rooney, Chamberlain. Welbeck.
Joe Hart – Unless something major occurs, Joe Hart looks set to be England’s #1 for a good number of years. Finally we have faith in our final line of defence, an English player who can genuinely be deemed as World Class.
Kyle Walker – Unfortunate to miss out on the experience ofUkraine through a toe injury, would have been certain to make the 23-man squad. An all round defender and one who will continue to flourish at a rising club like Tottenham.
Jolean Lescott – Stepped in for the injured Cahill this summer and more than filled his place. Offers a senior head in what is expected to be a youthful squad.
Gary Cahill – He would have been the preferred partner to Terry in this summer’s tournament, although his replacement certainly did himself justice. Cahill will continue to learn from his skipper atChelsea and could well be leading the defence come the next major tournament.
Ashely Cole – Cole may not have had his best tournament, and he will be 33 by the 2014 World Cup, but he is still one of the best full backs in the game. Unless he decides to take voluntary retirement I can’t see him losing his place in the team until afterBrazil.
Jack Wilshere– One of the very few English outfield English players who I would
deem to be World Class. And I don’t use that term lightly. Throughout 2011/12 Wilshere displayed consistent performances of the highest level. A futureEngland captain and national star – hopefully the country’s answer to the Pirlo’s of this world.
Tom Cleverly – His breakthrough season was heavily impeded by injury and the return of a god at Old Trafford, in Paul Scholes. However early on in the season he proved he has genuinely quality. A technically gifted midfielder and not just a work horse, exactly what is required at international level.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – The 18-year-old would have leant a lot from his time inUkraine and for someone so young he is already showing many signs of greatness. I feel he struggled mentally somewhat this summer but he has a great attitude and once that is met with experience we will see a real gem. An exciting prospect for the country.
Theo Walcott – Quckly hailed as a super-sub inUkraine but the Arsenal winger will feel he can offer a lot more than that. He has proven he can impress at the highest level and just needs to add consistency to his game. He has been involved with the seniorEngland set-up for six years now and by Brazil 2014 will be one of the senior members of the squad.
Wayne Rooney – A player who is immediately criticised when not at his best but only because people know just how good he is. Maybe it was too much to ask of him coming into the last two games after over a month of not playing a full game but his class meant that was our only option.
Danny Welbeck – Wellbeck offers a lot as an outright front man. His pace and power is obvious but his link up play is what impresses me. Having him in the side also allows Rooney to play his preferred deeper role.Other To Watch: Daniel Sturridge – Unlucky to not be involved at all this time round. Definitely expect him to at least be in squad for Brazil 2014. Phil Jones – Will be involved inEngland set-up for years to come. However at the moment I struggle to see him holding down a first eleven place because of the competition in defensive areas. Nick Powell – Having just signed for Manchester United, the 18-year-old will be propelled into the limelight next season. He is likely to be introduced slowly byFerguson and this may mean the next World Cup comes around to quick for him. Wilfried Zaha – The 19-year-old benefited from regular game time at Palace last season but will probably need to be playing top flight football is he is to catch the eye of Roy Hodgson. A big move could put him in place for senior international football sooner rather than later. Give your thoughts @pitchsidetalk. Comments and ideas welcome!