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Man United senior at risk of World Cup heartache after Cole snub

| 12.05.2014

In swinging his axe on Ashley Cole’s international career, Roy Hodgson simultaneously laid out his blueprint for a youth-filled World Cup squad for Brazil.

Openly admitting that he’ll be picking players to go to Rio with the 2016 European Championships in mind, Hodgson has left three other weary-legged pros in doubt about their World Cup squad status:

Frank Lampard

The Chelsea record-breaker would be the oldest man in the squad, at 35, should he be included in the final touring party.

Like the lighting on a first date, Lampard’s effectiveness on the pitch has been dimming this season and his return of six Premier League goals is his lowest for 10 years.

Having not been a part of either of the last two friendlies, Lampard could be usurped by Tom Cleverley – who was a regular pick for Hodgson following Euro 2012 and has those qualification performances in his favour, according to the England boss.

Michael Carrick

Cleverley’s Manchester United teammate started England’s pivotal final qualifier against Poland but hasn’t taken part in any of the subsequent friendlies.

At 32, Carrick is younger than the ousted Cole but wasn’t pushing for a starting spot against Italy, a game England are 11/5 to win, as strongly as the Chelsea full-back.

With Ross Barkley somewhat of a floater in terms of where he operates on the pitch, Carrick could well be sacrificed in order to get the 20-year-old Toffee onto the plane.

Rickie Lambert

While Lampard and Carrick have had somewhat anonymous seasons for their clubs, Lambert has hollered his case for inclusion from the top of St Mary’s.

However, if Hodgson has the France’s Euro 2016 tournament in mind then the 32-year-old Saint could well be left at home.

At 25, Andy Carroll certainly seems to be the target man of England’s future, while the purple patch Sunderland’s Connor Wickham enjoyed as the season drew to a close could see him land an admittedly surprise place at the World Cup.

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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.