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In-form England XI: Fulham and Crystal Palace midfielders shine

| 10.02.2014

Roy Hodgson chose the wrong Saturday to watch “in-form Adam Johnson” play, as all he got to witness was regular old Adam Johnson.

That visit denied him the chance to see some other England hopefuls turn in stellar performances.

Luckily for him, we caught the games he missed, finding an entire XI whose weekend performances deserve consideration for England’s World Cup squad:


John Ruddy made three saves to play his part in shutting out the free-scoring might of Manchester City and in turn did his 4/5-rated chances of going to Brazil no harm.

In defence, James Tomkins (33/1) turned in another impressive performance to both retain his place in this feature and help West Ham to a third consecutive clean sheet.

He’s joined at the heart by Chelsea’s Gary Cahill (1/14), who made seven clearances in earning a win to nil over Newcastle. Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne (8/1) and Everton’s Leighton Baines (1/20) fill the full-back positions.

Steven Gerrard’s (1/33) dead-eye set-piece taking got Martin Skrtel, and Liverpool, off to a flyer against Arsenal. The Reds skipper was also solid in defence, winning six of his nine attempted tackles.

He’s partnered by Steve Sidwell (20/1), who scored Fulham’s first before robbing Michael Carrick in the build up to Darren Bent’s late equaliser, in a man-of-the-match performance against Manchester United.

Some youth is injected onto the wings as Tom Ince (20s) made a dream debut for Crystal Palace in collecting a goal and assist in a 3-1 win. Raheem Sterling (6/4) can also hardly miss out after prompting Brendan Rodgers to hail him as the best winger in England after a two-goal haul in that Arsenal rout.

Kevin Nolan (40/1) stays in the team with Tomkins after registering a brace for the second straight week, while Daniel Sturridge’s (1/5) hot-hand sees him lead the line thanks to scoring for the seventh straight appearance.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.