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Why Toffee should be upgraded from sub to starter in Brazil

| 09.06.2014

The whole point of England’s final World Cup warm-up with Honduras, their last in Miami before flying to Brazil, was to test Roy Hodgson’s likely starting XI for the opener with a full 90-minute workout in humid conditions.

That plan was scuppered by the elements in the first half, as a tropical storm and flashes of lightening caused play to be suspended for 43 minutes.

Stemming England’s flow in the match, the delay brought an obvious halt to proceedings, but any fluidity to Roy Hodgson’s side, leaving the manager surely frustrated over his final friendly before the Italy clash.

There were some positives though. Despite a feisty affair, which saw Honduran defender Brayan Beckeles receive his marching orders for two bookable offences, England escaped the match without any new injury concerns,

That means, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain aside, Hodgson has a full compliment to pick from come crunch time, with his side rated as 21/10 shots to pick up three points against the Azzurri.

The former Liverpool boss will have plenty to ponder too. The side he fielded at the Sun Life Stadium is widely expected to be the team that’ll fill the first 11 spots in the Group D curtain raiser, but should Hodgson tinker with it?

Adam Lallana wasn’t at his wizardry best against Honduras as England kept the bulk of the ball, but failed to penetrate. Daniel Sturridge was guilty of spurning the Three Lions’ best chance, while Ross Barkley added verve to proceedings with his showing off the bench.

For Barkley to take the field from the start against Italy, Hodgson must be brave. His display in both games in Miami prove he’s an asset to his country’s chances at this World Cup, but is he much more than an impact sub?

In order to get him in the side in his favoured number 10 role, Hodgson must drop one of Sturridge or Wayne Rooney, or move one of them out of position at a winger’s expense.

A similar player to the Manchester United forward, it could be argued that Rooney must make way with such a dire World Cup record to allow our latest young sensation the chance to shine from the start.

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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.