Sterling performance puts Liverpool ace in World Cup frame
England go to the World Cup in Brazil this summer with lower hopes than before, but did anyone at the weekend’s games catch Roy Hodgson’s eye?
Manager Hodgson, who previously lead Switzerland to the knockout phase of the 1994 World Cup, knows that he faces a tough task as he prepares to qualify from a ‘group of death’ that contains Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Ideally, the 23-man squad would consist of four forwards, eight midfielders, eight defenders and the definite three goalkeepers. But who would be a decent bet to travel to Brazil following the recent Premier League fixtures?
The highlight weekend game was Liverpool’s 5-1 thrashing of – at-the-time – table-toppers Arsenal, with two England internationals getting in on the goals.
Free-scoring Daniel Sturridge, who now has 15 goals in 17 league matches so far this season, followed up his double against Everton a fortnight ago and his goal on February 2nd at West Brom by netting the fourth at Anfield.
Sturridge is currently in the form of his life, and the former Chelsea striker has now scored eight in his last seven matches in all competitions. With odds of 1/8 to make the World Cup squad, it seems he has already done enough this season to cement his place.
Club teammate Raheem Sterling also capped a fine display against the Gunners by bagging a brace, and could have easily had a hattrick.
The Jamaican-born 19-year-old has definitely given Hodgson something to think about, and would be competing with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (11/8), Andros Townsend (4/11), Adam Johnson (4/1) and Ashley Young (4/1) to make the squad. Sterling’s odds of 5/2 to go to Brazil look a decent punt.
Southampton’s Rickie Lambert also capped off a good weekend personally, with a stunning early free-kick against Stoke City. Although his side could only gain a home draw, it is these special moments that might just sneak him into the World Cup squad.
Lambert has scored eight goals and made seven assists in the league so far this season, and looks a decent bet at 9/4 to make it to Brazil.
He can also thank the FA for upholding rival Andy Carroll’s ban which surely sees his World Cup dream over and increases Lambert’s chances no end.
Tom Ince’s January Premier League loan move to Crystal Palace has put him in the England frame. And with a debut goal for the youngster in his new side’s victory against West Brom, the son of former England star Paul has outside odds of 14/1 to be a pick in Hodgson’s squad.
Another England possible starter to get in on the goals this weekend was Michael Carrick in Manchester United’s dismal draw at home to Fulham. The 32-year-old only has 31 international caps to his name, but could be a crucial player for Hodgson this summer. Odds of 2/7 to make the squad suggest that the former Spurs player should be a definite.