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Meet the Liverpool player who must start for England in Brazil

| 01.04.2014

After Liverpool’s second battering of Spurs catapulted them back to the top of the Premier League stack with only six games to go, it’s perhaps not the greatest of shocks that several of their players are in the frame to make England’s final 23-man World Cup squad.

Of those in the mix, Three Lions and Reds skipper Steven Gerrard leads the way in the betting at an absolutely nailed on 1/33, with Daniel Sturridge also guaranteed a window seat at 1/20 and Glen Johnson as good as there also, at 1/7.

This trio would probably make it onto 95 per cent of most people’s preferred starting line-ups for England’s opening game against Italy.

Next up is 2/5 chance Raheem Sterling and finally, midfielder Jordan Henderson, a 1/2 shot to make the plane.

Arguably, all five players should at least be included in Roy Hodgson’s final 23-man contingent – which is a 9/4 bet with Ladbrokes – but finding a space for the latter duo is probably a little less clear cut in most pub-based discussions on the subject.

But, on recent evidence it is Sterling who warrants a place in England’s line-up just as much as his three established teammates and Hodgson should be thinking seriously about how best to accommodate the dynamic teenager.

By deploying Sterling in either a wide forward position or even at the head of a diamond of late, Brendan Rodgers has started to see his work-in-progress from last season really dazzle in a red shirt.

If his performance against Denmark in England’s last friendly caught the eye, then his all-round display against Tottenham was his greatest statement yet.

The 19-year-old may not have added to his seasonal tally of seven goals, but was a constant menace down the right flank, where he not only used his pace to glide past opponents, but more often than not selected exactly the right final ball.

His workrate and tenacity are phenomenal as well, with the way he held of Spurs’ Mousa Dembele – a player almost twice his size – in the right-back position near the end of that match showing he’s certainly physically strong enough to cope.

If he carries on at the same level in the run-in, Sterling’s understanding with Johnson at right-back could be invaluable for his country.

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

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.