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Sterling and Lallana on the road to Rio but still not sure about Shaw

| 06.03.2014

It now seems inconceivable that Adam Lallana will not be on the plane to Brazil after another impressive display in a Wembley friendly. A 20/1 shot to make the final 23-man squad not so long ago and down to 8/11 before the Denmark game, he’s now 4/7 with Coral to be one of Hodgson’s final picks – and that still looks a good price.

Indeed, there is a growing case for Lallana to be in the starting XI (3/1 to start against Italy) instead of either Jack Wilshere in the centre of midfield or Danny Welbeck out on the left. Clever with both feet, the Southampton captain is the type of player who can always provide a spark – something sadly lacking for long periods of the game on Wednesday night.

Raheem Sterling, though winning the man of the match award, probably made less of an impact on the wing than Andros Townsend did in the final World Cup qualifiers last autumn, but the England boss is clearly a huge admirer of the Liverpool youngster and looked ready to buy his ticket to Rio when praising him after the game.

Sterling has also shortened with Coral – from 10/11 to 8/13 – and you get the feeling, as with Lallana, that only injury or a dramatic loss of form will stop him being part of Hodgson’s final plans.

Luke Shaw also did well enough when coming on for Ashley Cole at half time for Coral to clip him to 7/4 from 9/4, with the Chelsea veteran easing from 1/10 to 1/7.

There is little doubt that Shaw is the man for the future, but Cole was every bit as competent and reliable as he usually is and the Saints youngster might have to wait a bit longer. Leighton Baines is also very much in the frame, of course, and three into two just won’t go.

It was quite hard to read all the clues at Wembley. Ross Barkley, for instance. There are many who think the Everton midfielder is a must for Brazil (1/2 with Coral), but after bringing him on as a sub inside the final 20 minutes against both Chile and Germany, Hodgson didn’t use him at all against Denmark.

Is Barkley behind the likes of Jordan Henderson (who did start) in the pecking order? Or has Hodgson already seen enough to know that this huge young talent will be one of his 23 and just wants to look at alternatives?

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Jon Freeman