Al Hain-Cole takes a look at those with something to prove at Wembley, including Liverpool duo Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson
Wednesday’s friendly against Denmark provides England players with a final opportunity to impress before Roy Hodgson announces his provisional World Cup squad in May, with a place in Brazil potentially up for grabs.
With Theo Walcott out injured, Raheem Sterling will be particularly keen to stake his claim as the Arsenal winger’s replacement, having received a first senior call-up since November 2012.
Considering his integral role in a rampant Liverpool side recently, the 19-year-old is well worth the 5/4 (2.25) odds still available with to make the final squad in the summer, with that price bound to drop should he carry his club form into Wednesday’s international friendly.
Team-mate Jordan Henderson has also starred for the Reds this campaign and must be fancied at 5/6 (1.83) to make the cut, having come on leaps and bounds since his inclusion in Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad.
Henderson’s impressive partnership with England captain Steven Gerrard at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield may also add weight to the 23-year-old’s claims to be included in Hodgson’s final squad.
Nobody will be more eager to make an impression than Luke Shaw, who is in line to make his international debut at the tender age of 18, after some mature performances for Southampton this season.
However, with Ashley Cole 1/20 (1.05) and Leighton Baines 1/25 (1.04) in his way, this tournament may come slightly too soon for the young left-back, hence the 11/4 (3.75) price on him making the trip to Brazil this summer.
Shaw is just the latest member of a growing Southampton contingent in the Three Lions camp, with Rickie Lambert 5/6 (1.83), Adam Lallana 5/6 (1.83) and Jay Rodriguez 4/1 (5.00) all vying to seal their inclusion, after taking their chance on the international stage this season.
An injury to Phil Jagielka 1/20 (1.05) has given Steven Caulker 4/1 (5.00) his first chance to impress since grabbing a debut goal in the 4-2 defeat against Sweden in late 2012, although he is up against it, as he must rise above Gary Cahill 1/25 (1.04), Chris Smalling 1/3 (1.33) and Phil Jones 1/5 (1.20) in the pecking order to grab one of the four centre-back spots in this summer’s squad.
Despite missing out on a call-up to face Denmark, Hodgson insists the door is not closed for the likes of Adam Johnson 3/1 (4.00) and Gareth Barry 7/1 (8.00) to force their way onto the plane to Rio should they continue to impress for their clubs this campaign.
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Al Hain-Cole is an 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.