Who will make England’s World Cup starting XI against Italy?
England boss Roy Hodgson may not have revealed any major surprises in his squad selection for this summer’s World Cup.
But he may find picking his starting XI to face Italy in the Three Lions’ Group D opener a tricky task with not much to separate some of his 23-man squad.
Thankfully, here at Ladbrokes we’ve made the ordeal a lot simpler by forensically (or not, as the case may be) whittling down the options to name a team that comprises both finesse and functionality – just as our Roy would want it.
And with the bookmaker offering odds on who’ll line-up in Manaus on June 14, now is the perfect time to get involved with the debate. Check out all the odds here.
No prizes for originality but Joe Hart’s place between the posts was never really in doubt, despite being dropped by club side Manchester City last autumn after a number of high-profile errors.
England’s number one has stormed back into form at exactly the right time, pulling off a series of potentially title-winning stops to remind the likes of Ben Foster and Fraser Forster that he remains his country’s top custodian.
Again, the defensive line-up pretty much picks itself. With Kyle Walker injured and Leighton Baines preferred to Ashley Cole, the full-back conundrum has been straightforwardly resolved.
Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka have been central defensive partners in seven of England’s last 10 fixtures with their odds reflecting the likelihood of them being paired up to face to the Azzurri.
This is where it could get interesting with the late season form of James Milner (6/4) and Ross Barkley (5/1) no doubt causing Hodgson something of a selection headache.
Captain Steven Gerrard is a no brainer but Jack Wilshere could find his place under threat from the aforementioned duo or Jordan Henderson.
Adam Lallana’s emergence on the international stage has set pulses racing with his assist for Daniel Sturridge in England’s win over Denmark last time out highlighting his potential.
Raheem Sterling’s trickery and pace – not to mention nine goals and five assists in 24 starts for Liverpool this term – should ensure he gets on the pitch.
Arch-rivals at club level they may be, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney have developed a burgeoning partnership for their country.
The pair have netted four of England’s last five goals and worked well in tandem to secure England’s passage to Brazil.
Barring any last-minute injuries, Rooney’s clubmate Danny Welbeck may struggle to usurp Strurridge while Southampton striker Rickie Lambert will probably have to settle for being very much a part of England’s ‘Plan B’.
Who would make your starting XI to face Italy? Comment below or tweet @williwycombe with your suggestions.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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