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England In-Form XI: Palace flyer makes second strong case for Rio

| 14.04.2014

Just four Premier League weeks remain for those with designs on a spot in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad to convince the former Fulham boss they are worth trusting for a trip to Brazil.

For many there will be disappointment, but for some, featuring in our weekly run down of the best top-flight performers of the weekend may just extend the hope that they’ll represent the nation a little longer. Here’s this week’s hopefuls:


David Stockdale made a string of good stops as Fulham kept survival hopes alive against Norwich with a clean sheet and 1-0 win. With the two spots behind Joe Hart up for grabs, the Cottager’s 33/1 price looks good.

After another defensively sound performance in Liverpool’s vital toppling of Manchester City, Glen Johnson (1/7) not starting against Italy come World Cup time would be a travesty.

He’s joined in the back four by an England pairing of the future in Steven Caulker (5/1) and John Stones (12/1) after both men kept their respective oppositions at bay with authority. 33/1-shot Joel Ward makes another appearance in our graphic, this time at left back.

Expect to see the passion that poured out of 1/33-cert and new national treasure Steven Gerrard after that Reds win should England progress into the latter stages of the World Cup, although Fabian Delph (20s) is unlikely to join him in the middle of the park despite being Aston Villa’s shining light in defeat to Crystal Palace.

The Liverpool theme continues, with Raheem Sterling showing he can perform big-game wonders in the number 10 role, unlike Wayne Rooney, and is now 2/7 to make the plane.

Out wide, Jason Puncheon turned in his second stellar performance in as many weeks for Tony Pulis’ Eagles and has a 33/1 chance of travelling to Rio, while an Aaron Lennon-inspired second half showing from Spurs earned them a draw against West Brom and the diminutive Yorkshireman a place in our XI.

With Andy Carroll not playing and Rickie Lambert uninspiring, Peter Crouch flexed his big-man muscles for Stoke against Newcastle, reminding everyone he’s a viable 20/1 alternative to the much-fancied duo.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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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.