The 23-man England squad I’d take to the World Cup

Now that the 3 Lions have booked their place in the 2014 World Cup finals, I thought it’d be a good time to reveal the 23 players I’d take if I was Roy Hodgson. 

Goalkeepers

jhJoe Hart – Despite being under scrutiny for some poor performances for club and country, Hart is still Hodgson’s number 1 and he would be my number 1. Whilst still developing, the 26-year-old is an excellent communicator and is one of the best at one-on-ones.

Fraser Forster – An excellent year for the Celtic man has earned fans from far and wide calling for him to get his first cap. Even legendary goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon has told reporters he believes he should be England’s number one. He certainly deserves his place in my England 23-man squad.

John Ruddy – A first team regular for Norwich City, Ruddy is a decent keeper, who was subject to a £6m bid from Chelsea in January. His experience makes him my final goalkeeper in my England squad.

Right Backs

Glen Johnson – A regular for both Liverpool and England, the 29-year-old boasts excellent defending skills, and can pop up with a 25-yarder, or superb cross from time-to-time also.

Nathaniel Clyne – A surprise inclusion from myself, but I regard the Southampton right-back as one of the best in the Premier League. I doubt he will get a call-up, nor his first cap in the next year, but he’d certainly be in my squad.

Left Backs

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Ashley Cole – It should be no surprise for you readers to see this unmistakable and controversial figure in my England squad. A centurion this year for the 3 Lions and was always going to feature in this squad.

Leighton Baines – I’m still undecided as to whether Baines is as good as Cole, regardless he has to be in my squad. A prominent set-piece taker coupled with his defensive aspects, we’ll no doubt see him jetting off to Brazil in June.

Centre Backs

Gary Cahill – His stable partnership with Phil Jagielka hasn’t grabbed the headlines, but hasn’t gone unnoticed in my book. The Chelsea man would be the first centre-back in my squad.

Phil Jagielka – Mentioned above for his strong bond with Cahill. The Everton defender is known for his bravery and is described similarly to John Terry. He’d be flying to Brazil if I was England manager.

Phil Jones – The often comically faced defender is certainly becoming a modern day centre-back. With his versatility stretching so he can play at right-back and in midfield, he’s a must to take to Brazil in case of injuries.

Chris Smalling – I was deliberating between this man and Lescott of who I’d pick, but I chose Smalling as he can play at right-back if needed, and his athleticism can only be admired. He needs to pick up more minutes at United though.

Steven Gerrard says he has no intention of stepping down from EnglandCentral Midfielders

Steven Gerrard – Captain, sublime set-piece taker and experience: the only reasons I need to state. Only injury will keep this veteran away from the World Cup.

Jordan Henderson – Having a marvellous season in every role he’s picked to play in. A must in Hodgson’s squad.

Jack Wilshere – Different from the two players above, Wilshere’s drive and determination is key for this England team, and I’m sure he’ll be on the plane.

Michael Carrick – A pass master, and a definite unsung hero. Often the engine of the team without you knowing. He’ll be in the squad for the World Cup.

Right Wingers

Andros Townsend – The emergence of the Spurs winger in the final two qualifying games certainly won’t be forgotten by Roy Hodgson anytime soon. If he continues his purple patch of form, he could potentially be stealing the next right winger’s starting spot.

Theo Walcott – Speedy, direct and the perfect fit in Roy’s team. Despite Townsend, I can see Theo being a potential hero at the Brazil World Cup,

James Milner – A modern day work horse. Unpopular-type player, but is the model professional: never moans about playing or time or what position he is in. Moreover, his attacking/defending balance is sterling.

Left wingers

Daniel Welbeck – Can play on the left or down the middle. Scrutinised by many and criticised by some, I believe Welbeck does have what it takes to hit it ‘right’ for England.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – I find his style of play similar to Townsend’s, due to his directness and no fear attitude when shooting from distance. Many will argue Raheem Sterling and Ashley Young to me, but I prefer the Ox.

Strikers

Wayne Rooney – The linchpin. The perhaps only world class player England can boast. Unsuccessful at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup, one can only hope that Rooney sets Brazil alight.

Daniel Sturridge – Started the season excellently for Liverpool, and looks as if he’ll claim the number 9 shirt for England.

Rickie Lambert – The Southampton forward has grafted his way to the England team. A traditional target man which could cause defence’s problems from the bench.

Thanks for Reading

By Cain Bennett

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