Monday, April 28, 2014

World Cup Predicted Lineups: England

Here in the series, I will predict England's starting XI for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Three Lions will be facing a tough test just to make it out of the group stage, drawn with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica. I believe they will win their group, followed by Uruguay. The Premier League has had a very good season, and I think that will help the players reach a new level.

Here's a quick peek at England's road to the World Cup from ESPN FC

England will probably lineup in a 4-2-3-1 formation, and will look to use the wings to attack opponents.

GK: Joe Hart - Manchester City F.C.

  • Hart had a troubling start to the season, making a couple costly errors. Notably, he failed in an attempt to clear the ball, leading to Fernando Torres scoring an injury time winner earlier in the season, as you can see below. However, after a short spell on the bench, he regained his form, and retained his spot as England's number 1. With no real competition to the starting spot, Hart can look forward to showcasing himself in Brazil.

RB: Glenn Johnson - Liverpool F.C.

  • The experienced right back has been the starter for Liverpool for the entire season. Although players like Nathaniel Clyne have played better this season, it is unlikely that Roy Hodgson will give an international debut on the world's biggest stage. Johnson is capable in defense, and can also add some width when attacking.
CB: Phil Jagielka - Everton F.C.
  • The Everton captain has been a key part in what has been a terrific season for the Toffees under new manager Roberto Martinez. The Blue half of Merseyside is fighting for Champions League football, and has troubled many of the big teams this season. Jagielka is a solid, consistent defender, who will surely ease some of the pressure off of Joe Hart.
CB: Gary Cahill - Chelsea F.C.
  • Cahill has had a spectacular season for Chelsea, earning himself a spot in the 2013-14 PFA Team of the Year. His partnership with John Terry have given Chelsea the best defensive record in the Premier League, conceding only 26 goals thus far. Cahill can also provide an aerial threat on set pieces, and has chipped in with a couple of goals this season.
LB: Leighton Baines - Everton F.C.
  • Baines has had another strong season for Everton, helping them to what will probably be their highest league finish since 2005. He is very strong defensively, and is a force to be reckoned with flying down the wing. He is one of the best crossers of the ball, and is also a very adept set-piece specialist. Baines should be the starter, with his predecessor, Ashley Cole, playing very little football this season.
CM: Steven Gerrard (c) - Liverpool F.C.
  • Captain of both Liverpool and the national team, Gerrard will be looking to motivate his team to success. Gerrard can help maintain possession in the midfield, and can also make the decisive pass to create a goalscoring opportunity. Stevie G. is also more than capable of unleashing a shot from distance, as many football fans know.
CM: Michael Carrick - Manchester United F.C.
  • With a severe shortage of defensive midfielders, Michael Carrick is my dark horse for a place in the starting XI. With Jack Wilshere suffering a long-term injury, the youngster may not be fully fit for the World Cup. Carrick is a better defender than many of the other options, namely Ross Barkley, Frank Lampard and Tom Cleverley. Carrick reads the game very well both defensively and in possession. He has never had a long run in the national team, but could make his case in Brazil.
RM: Adam Lallana - Southampton F.C.
  • Having a great season for the Saints, Lallana earned himself a place in the PFA Team of the Year. Less of a goalscorer than a provider, Lallana will be a change from the traditionally very fast wingers that England normally use. He will look to link up the midfield and attack, using his vision to find the true goalscorers that England possess.
LM: Danny Welbeck - Manchester United F.C.
  • Danny Welbeck has played sparingly this season, but he is a player with few doubts. His scoring is shaky, but with Welbeck in the lineup, you know that he will run for days, and can help cover for England's attacking fullbacks. He has some skill when it comes to dribbling, and can use his 6'1 inch frame to get on balls in the air.
CAM/ST: Wayne Rooney - Manchester United F.C.
  • Usually the first name on the team-sheet, Wayne Rooney has been England's most consistent player for a while now. Like Welbeck, Rooney is an engine who won't stop running until well after he hears the whistle. Rooney combines excellent vision and playmaking abilities, with an eye and a talent for goals. He can strike from distance, and can also get in a very good position to score. He can play as an out-and-out striker or he can sit behind the striker and create for his teammates. Rooney will also combine with Leighton Baines to create trouble for opponents from set-pieces.

ST: Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool F.C.
  • Almost an easy choice for the Three Lions, Sturridge has been scoring goals for fun since his transfer to Liverpool from Chelsea in January of 2013. He currently sits second in the Premier League in goals, and has also been named to the PFA Team of the Year for this season. Sturridge is a clinical finisher with a knack of being in the right place at the right time. He is also a skillful dribbler who can create an opportunity for himself. England fans will surely be hoping to see his goal celebration many times this summer.

  • There are quite a few players who are looking to return from injury to make the squad for the World Cup.
    • Jack Wilshere: The often-injured youngster was a key part in Arsenal's long run at the top of the Premier League. It is no coincidence that the Gunner's dropoff happened almost simultaneously with Jack Wilshere's injury. Wilshere is enjoying his best season for Arsenal, and will surely fight for a place not only in the squad, but in the starting XI.
    • Theo Walcott: Another long-term injury from Arsenal, Walcott will be looking to overcome both his exclusion from the 2010 World Cup and his injury in Brazil. Walcott is a regular for the Three Lions and can provide more experience on the wing than either Adam Lallana or Danny Welbeck can offer. Walcott has blistering pace, and can create trouble for almost any fullback.
    • Ashley Young: Returning from a hand injury, the winger made his return on April 26, in Ryan Giggs managerial debut. Young has struggled for games with United this season, but has usually been a good performer for the national team. He is a skillful dribbler and is versatile enough to play on either wing. He can cross the ball well, which can trouble defenders and goalkeepers alike.
What do you think of my prediction? Who will represent The Three Lions in Brazil this summer? Drop me a comment and let me know. Also, follow me on Twitter for more information.

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