With England performing so dismally at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, many people have said that it’s time to get rid of the old and put in the new. Now could well be the time to give the youngsters a chance, but which English starlets have a chance to force out the out guard by the time the 2014 World Cup in Brazil comes around. Here’s a look at ten who are in with more than a chance:
Jack Rodwell – The Everton midfielder has represented England in all age groups and it shouldn’t be too long before he gets a full cap. The 19-year-old has already shown that he has composure ahead of his years and is close to making 50 league appearances for Everton already. At 6ft 2in, Rodwell has plenty of height, something that is always handy at set-pieces, and is an athlete you can get around the pitch and perform the box-to-box role. While it has often been said that Steven Gerrard wasn’t always used to his full potential for the Three Lions, surely a player from the blue half of Merseyside will be at the heart of England’s team for many years to come.
Jack Wilshere – Another Jack, Wilshere is destined for big things and the Arsenal youngster has be touted as being the most talented English footballer since Paul Gascoigne. The diminutive attacking midfielder has the creativity that any team would crave and can unlock a defence with ease. Currently being eased into first team action at The Emirates by Wenger, it will be interesting to see whether the 18-year-old will be loaned out again this season or whether he’ll compete for a place at under the Frenchman. Either way, by the time the 2014 World Cup comes around, it will be a major surprise if Wilshere isn’t a certain England starter.
Adam Johnson – Perhaps no longer a starlet as such, Johnson will feel aggrieved that he didn’t make the 2010 squad, and will thus need no extra motivation to make sure that his form warrants an automatic place when 2014 comes round. The 23-year-old doesn’t need a second invitation to take full backs on, and he’s already shown in his short time at Manchester City that he has the confidence to ply his trade against the best in the country. I’m sure it will be no different when it comes to playing the best in the world, and with bags of skill and trickery in his locker, Johnson will be a regular fixture on one of England’s wings.
Chris Smalling – Sir Alex Ferguson’s purchase of the young defender came somewhat out of the blue last season. Smalling has achieved an incredible rise up the football ladder, having gone from non-league footballer to Premier League player in less than two years. Fergie has obviously seen something in the 20-year-old that he like and persuaded him to go for the player, but whether he will get many first time outings this season it remains to be seen. If Smalling were to go on to play for England at the World Cup it would be one of the most unconventional journeys in recent years, but at 6ft 4in he could become the tower at the heart of England’s defence.
Joe Hart – Having got the experience of going to a World Cup under his belt, there’s no reason why Hart shouldn’t go from strength to strength. After a stellar season at Birmingham City, the ‘keeper heads back to Manchester City where he’ll have the unenviable task of getting the gloves off Shay Given. The 23-year-old looks to have all the abilities required at the top level and now just needs to prove it on the European and in turn the international stage. As long as he passes those tests as and when he comes to them, there’s no reason why Joe Hart shouldn’t be the England number one for many years to come.
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