England always have huge expectations leading up to an international tournament and it almost always ends in disappointment.
Now I’m not English and won’t be supporting them in this World Cup but I know the players extremely well, much more so than my own country’s players (Ireland by the way). For this forthcoming World Cup this is how I think England should line up.
Bearing in mind that I’m a Manchester United fan it may come as a surprise that I haven’t selected a single United player in that team including Wayne Rooney.
The defence picks itself really. I do think that in the next competition the centre back pairing should be Phil Jones and Gary Cahill but for now the best partnership is Phil Jagielka and Cahill. If I could I’d change the right back but England don’t have anyone else for that position, I’m certainly not a fan of Johnson I think he’s been very poor recently but he’s the only option.
At left back I’ve gone for Leighton Baines over Luke Shaw. Obviously Baines is older and more experienced and playing an 18-year-old at a World Cup could be risky so the Everton man is the better option for now.
In midfield I’ve gone for the Liverpool pair of Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson. Henderson has really come out of his shell in the past season and he played for terrific football, the two know each other well and have the perfect blend of experience and knowledge with youth and energy.
For the wingers I went with Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling. Both had a fantastic ‘breakthrough’ season and played some magnificent football. I’ve become a huge fan of both these players and think they are the perfect pairing on the wings. I’m not Danny Welbeck’s biggest fan and I certainly don’t like to see him play on the wing hence why I didn’t pick him. I am slightly contradicting myself saying it’s a risk to play an 18-year-old in Shaw while I’d play 19-year-old Sterling but in my opinion he is more than capable of starting and playing well this summer.
Behind the striker I have Ross Barkley; he’s impressed me so much this year and I’ve really grown to like him. He has a certain flair about him and brings fantastic creativity to the England side and that’s why I’d start the youngster ahead of Wayne Rooney. Rooney has not been too shy to voice his displeasure at being played out of position but if he wants to play it seems both for England and United it will have to be elsewhere than the striker position. Daniel Sturridge is a no brainer up front had a fantastic season and could very well continue that in this World Cup.
So some of my selections may have shocked you but in my opinion this is England’s strongest starting eleven for the World Cup.
By Luke Bracken