Betting Special: Could a Carroll comback spoil Lambert’s World Cup dream?

The Southampton man has profited from injuries to make a name for himself at England level but Al Hain-Cole thinks he could be usurped in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Brazil 2014

While England fans will simply be hoping their team can secure a place in next summer’s World Cup in the final two qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland, the players will already be sweating over their own chances of making it to Brazil.

Despite the recent question marks surrounding his performances, BetVictor still rate Joe Hart as the safest bet to retain his place in the squad at 1/33 (1.03), no doubt to the disappointment of fellow goalkeepers Fraser Forster 10/11 (1.91) and John Ruddy 11/10 (2.10).

While the likes of Wayne Rooney 1/14 (1.07), Ashley Cole 1/10 (1.10), Jack Wilshere 1/10 (1.10) and captain Steven Gerrard 1/5 (1.20) practically pick themselves when fit, there is definitely value to be found in having a punt on the remainder of Roy Hodgson’s selection.

Although his rags to riches tale would probably make him the neutrals’ favourite to appear on the biggest stage, Rickie Lambert Evens (2.00) may find it difficult to keep his place in the spotlight once other, more illustrious names return from injury.

Andy Carroll, England’s most expensive ever player, was a key figure during Hodgson’s Euro 2012 campaign and is well worth a punt at 5/1 (6.00) to return from his mysterious heel injury in time to take Lambert’s place on the plane as the team’s designated target man.

While the manager’s fondness for reliable performers makes James Milner a certainty at 8/11 (1.73), there is space in the squad for at least one wild card, as demonstrated by the previously uncapped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 7/4 (2.75) inclusion in Poland and Ukraine.

Wilfried Zaha’s 7/4 (2.75) lack of playing time at Manchester United leaves him praying for an eye-catching loan spell in January in order to force his way into the squad, but in the meantime Andros Townsend 9/4 (3.25) is doing himself plenty of favours with some exciting performances for a talented Tottenham team.

The 22-year-old winger is definitely worth a punt at that price, while Ross Barkley’s key role in Roberto Martinez’s new-look Everton side also makes him a fairly safe but potentially lucrative bet at 5/4 (2.25) to make the cut.

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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