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England’s World Cup midfield options: Liverpool a common theme

| 12.05.2014

Assuming Roy Hodgson takes four central defenders, two left-backs and Glen Johnson as his right-back, there’s nine spots in the middle of England’s park up for grabs. Here’s the runners and riders:

Steven Gerrard – 1/33

Gerrard’s development as a deep-lying playmaker for Liverpool means he’ll be entrusted with the same role when he dons the armband for England in Rio.

That he could be the only man in England’s midfield in his 30s indicates the kind of youthful side Hodgson could field come the Italy game.

Raheem Sterling – 1/16

Fleeting promise last season has turned into a truly impressive campaign this time around for the Liverpool youngster, as he’s gone from strength to strength in Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Once a position of great competition, there are now no rivals to start on England’s wing and Sterling’s versatility to play in the hole is another string to his bow.

Adam Lallana – 1/10

Like Sterling, the Southampton skipper has impressed throughout the course of the Premier League campaign and must start opposite Sterling on the flanks.

His invention and trickery gives England the guile they’ve often lacked under Hodgson and his showings in the national strip have already indicated he could be the secret weapon in Rio.

James Milner – 1/7

Mr Dependable will be heading to the World Cup as the midfield utility man. Able to play out wide or in the centre, Milner’s brief stints as an emergency right-back could be vital to Hodgson’s squad should Jones not recover from injury in time.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 1/5

Most likely to have to settle for subs appearances in Brazil, but a strong runner who’s shown flashes of brilliance from central midfield too for Arsenal this season.

Unfortunately has had injuries stunting his claims for a starting berth this term.

Jack Wilshere – 1/4

Looks guaranteed a spot in Hodgson’s squad despite a largely pedestrian campaign with Arsenal and a recent spell on the sidelines with injury. Reputation could see him start alongside Gerrard against Italy, although that would be unjust.

Ross Barkley – 1/4

The Everton man is an exciting prospect for England in Brazil. He’s been used wisely by Roberto Martinez this season and shouldn’t be too close to burn out once the World Cup starts.

Whether he starts deeper or in the hole, Barkley has shown on more than one occasion this season that he can be a match winner.

Jordan Henderson – 2/7

Henderson is arguably the perfect man to start alongside teammate Gerrard having formed a title-hunting partnership with the skipper at Liverpool.

His energy means he can do much of Gerrard’s running for him and helps set the tempo of England’s play.

Carrick or Lampard – 8/13 or 1/2

Well, every squad needs an experienced head on the bench, doesn’t it?

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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.