Lallana now 11/4 to gatecrash England’s 2014 World Cup squad
After being forced to field an experimental XI in the 2-0 defeat against Chile, England chief Roy Hodgson has most of his preferred line-up available to face Joachim Low’s Germany.
Joe Hart will play for the first time since his 90th-minute clanger gifted Chelsea all three points at home to Manchester City in the Premier League at the end of October and Phil Jagielka returns to the centre of defence for his 23rd cap.
Chelsea stalwart Ashley Cole replaces Leighton Baines at left-back and Liverpool pair Daniel Sturridge and captain Steven Gerrard have shaken off the knocks that kept them out of the defeat to Jorge Sampaoli’s impressive outfit.
The least experienced player in the England line-up will be Southampton’s Adam Lallana, who has gone from 20/1 into 12s, 8s and 7/2 since his selection for these fixtures and is now as short as 11/4 to make Hodgson’s initial 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup.
Attacking-midfielder Lallana – who is likely to stay in the right-forward position for the Three Lions – was arguably the home side’s best player for the 77 minutes he was on the pitch against Chile.
The 25-year-old flashed a shot past La Roja keeper Claudio Bravo’s far post and got stuck in to the South American’s with seven tackles, of which three were penalised.
England are hardly overburdened with wide players and Arsenal duo Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain face a race against time to prove their fitness ahead of next summer, having made just five Premier League appearances between them this term.
A strong showing against the Germans – and a goal at any time at 7/2 – would see Lallana’s odds tumble even further and the Saints star’s versatility could be a crucial weapon for England on the world stage next summer.
His clubmate Jay Rodriguez remains at 10/1 to make Hodgson’s touring party after an inauspicious debut at Wembley, but shouldn’t book his summer holidays just yet as England’s other left-wing options amount to Danny Welbeck – who is really a non-scoring striker – and an out-of-position Andros Townsend.
The third English Saint – striker Rickie Lambert – is also unmoved at 9/4 to make the final 23 and could be the best bet of the lot, as Hodgson is sure to take a ‘big man’ to lump it up to when his side have given up trying to match the likes of Spain and Brazil on the deck.
West Ham’s Andy Carroll is shortest-priced of the strikers eager to imitate Gulliver in Brazil at 2/1, but the Geordie is yet to grace a football pitch in 2013/14 and is fast running out of time to put his case for selection across.
Netminders Fraser Forster and John Ruddy are thought to be vying for the third goalkeeper spot on an equal footing at 4/6 each, but the Celtic stopper has the edge after nudging his way into Hodgson’s thinking ahead of the Norwich man for the Chile game and doing very little wrong.