The Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez seemed almost certain to be on the plane to Brazil at the end of the season after what has been a sensational season for him and a few of his other English, Southampton counterparts. But, during what was a disappointing 4-1 loss for the Saints at the Etihad Saturday lunchtime, Rodriguez landed awkwardly and having been stretchered off now looks like the World Cup is too soon, and the 24 year old will miss out. Disaster, in my eyes, for Roy Hodgson, so who does he turn to too fill the void?
An essential part of any England side in the last five years, Wayne has come on leaps and bounds. Now one of the most experienced heads in the England ranks, (although you wouldn’t think it at times!) Wayne is vital if England are to stand any chance this summer in Brazil. Having played predominantly in the ‘number 10’ role for a struggling Manchester United side, it remains to be seen where Rooney will feature this summer. With one of Rodriguez’s teammates Adam Lallana having the season of his life in behind the striker, does he get overlooked, or does Rooney move into a striker role? Good luck Roy.
Since moving to his third Premier League club at just 24, Sturridge has finally found a place where he can play regularly, and show everyone what he’s about. Having arrived at Anfield with limited chances at both Manchester City and Chelsea, Sturridge set about cleaning the slate and starting from fresh. Having formed a formidable partnership with Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez, the two combined have been unstoppable, and have left Liverpool right in the mix for the Premier League title. His all round game has improved massively, showing bags of pace, strength and finishing ability have made Sturridge by main candidate for the striker role come Brazil.
Another one of Rodriguez’s teammates, Rickie Lambert has had a storming season up top for the Saints. Having exploded onto the international stage against Scotland back in August, Lambert now has 2 goals in 4 games for the Three Lions. Huge debate has arose in the last few weeks as to which big man Roy Hodgson will take to the World Cup, but for me, Lambert is head and shoulders above Andy Carroll, especially this season. Not only can he hold the ball up and score with his head, but he’s more than capable with the ball at his feet, bringing other players into the game. Let’s not forget his penalty taking prowess which could prove massive if we encounter our standard World Cup penalty shootout.
This one’s a tough one. I cannot stand Danny Welbeck personally, but I can see what he does give to an England set-up, hard work. This is the spot Jay would’ve filled, but unfortunately with him out, other alternatives will now always seem a downgrade. Welbeck is the logical choice, the most realistic choice as to who Hodgson will pick. There are alternatives to this, with Jermaine Defoe getting back into scoring form over in the MLS, and Gabby Agbonlahor and Saido Berahino’s names being thrown around, but they don’t merit a place in the squad. In fairness to Welbeck, he has had the best goal scoring season of his career, in a season of disarray at Old Trafford. Let’s hope I’m wrong and he can show us some samba skills in Brazil.
So there it is. Some may take five, I’ve chosen four strikers to allow more options and rotation in the midfield. Realistically, Rooney and Sturridge start all of our group games in Hodgson’s eyes, but some rotation wouldn’t go a miss. Losing Jay Rordriguez may seem small, but I think that’s a huge miss, for a young player finally breaking into the National set-up. His pace, power, finishing and enthusiasm is something that will be missed hugely. Come on England?