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England have perfect Walker backup in shape of Liverpool lad

| 01.05.2014

With the news that Kyle Walker’s World Cup dreams have been dashed through injury, England fans need not fear because Roy Hodgson can call upon a ready-made replacement.

For some unknown reason Liverpool’s 21-year-old right (or left) back, Jon Flanagan, has been completely overlooked for the England squad thus far, but not by Ladbrokes who have installed him as a 3/1-shot to make the plane.

This is despite the Liverpool native managing to nail down a spot in the Premier League leader’s defence since the beginning of December and helping his side go 16 games unbeaten in the process, until the Chelsea defeat .

Yet, the man who may end the season with a league winners’ medal around his neck – something Liverpool are 6/5 to achieve – looks set to remain outside of Hodgson’s thinking.

It’s certainly true that when Brendan Rodgers reintroduced academy-graduate Flanagan into first-team action, many were sceptical about his abilities to cut the top-flight mustard.

However, rather than fail to cope with the demands, Flanagan has proven to be a revelation able to operate at either full-back position with aplomb.

He’s a local lad whose skill set actually matches his passion for wearing the shirt and after excelling in so many big matches surely deserves a chance over other possible Walker replacements.

This was something Rodgers himself was advocating as far back as February after Flanagan scored in Liverpool’s most comprehensive win of the season at Tottenham.

Of the other possible candidates, Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne, at 8/1, perhaps has the greatest claim, though even the former Crystal Palace man has been kept out by Callum Chambers quite a bit this season.

First and foremost Flanagan is a tenacious defender, but has also proved he is not afraid to get forward and drop his shoulder if required as well.

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.