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Crystal Palace’s on-fire forward may still make World Cup plane

| 18.04.2014

England football fans took to Twitter following Crystal Palace’s 3-2 win at Everton, their fourth on the bounce, to weigh in behind Eagles goal-king Jason Puncheon for a place in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man England World Cup squad.

The much-travelled Croydon native has never played for his country at any level and is a 20/1 outsider (from 33/1 just a few days ago) to make the plane for the summer samba jamboree, but his stunning recent form in front of goal ought to give Hodgson cause to pause.

Tony Pulis’ side will have plenty of 12/5 backers when they attempt to make it five in a row by doing the double over West Ham at Upton Park, while a fifth Puncheon goal in four games comes in at an appealing 9/4 in east London.

The man himself couldn’t resist a social-media shout out following the win at Goodison Park, replying to a fan who asked if he’s booked any summer holidays yet with the words “would love to be on that plane”.

He has every right to dream and, after Hodgson abandoned caution by naming then-uncapped Southampton teenager Luke Shaw – now 2/1 to make the trip to Brazil – in his squad for the 1-0 win against Denmark in March, it’s clear that nothing can be taken for granted regarding the final 23.

England are hardly overburdened with goal-scoring talent; indeed, strikers Rickie Lambert and Andy Carroll are as short as 1/1 and 11/8 respectively for a place in Brazil, despite scoring just 13 times between them this term from a combined 44 Premier League appearances.

Competition on the wings and in the number 10 spot where Puncheon plays is somewhat more fierce, but the 27-year-old can do no more than keep up his excellent form between now and the campaign’s close in the hope that Hodgson takes note.

The Irons are 6/5 to beat Palace for the first time in six games, with the draw 23/10. 

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Alex Fortune