Three late runners that could make England World Cup roster
With barely six weeks until the World Cup finals start in Brazil, it’s going to take a real late surge for England outsiders to make an impression on Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson.
The 28/1 shots to win the tournament on South American soil (with Coral) name their initial 30-man roster, which will subsequently be whittled down to 23, in less than a fortnight, so time is running out to press claims.
Could any of these three Premier League players crash the party in Brazil?
Jon Flanagan – 10/1
Liverpool full back Flanagan has proved the ideal solution to a problem berth on the left but, if he is to have any involvement with the senior England setup, then it will be as understudy to Anfield teammate Glen Johnson.
Kyle Walker (Tottenham) being sidelined by a hip problem will be cause for concern for Hodgson, because his backup options to first-choice right back Johnson aren’t playing.
The likes of Micah Richards (Manchester City) and Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal) seldom get a game for their clubs, while Jon Stones (Everton) has been converted to a centre half.
Jonjo Shelvey – 20/1
A wonder-strike from the halfway line by Shelvey inspired Swansea to mathematically reach Premier League safety in their win over Aston Villa. Hodgson gave the midfielder his England debut back in 2012, so has shown he is prepared to pick the player he worked with at Liverpool.
Six goals have supplemented the exploits of Wilfried Bony nicely but, with Ross Barkley emerging as a talent and operating in similar areas at Everton to Shelvey, his hopes of a call-up seem to hinge on injuries to others.
Connor Wickham – 12/1
Five goals in three games at Sunderland since returning from a loan spell at Leeds United have transformed the profile of Wickham as a Premier League footballer, and potentially saved the Black Cats’ season.
It’s not just this purple patch which underlines his challenge, but the nature of the opposition he has netted against. Wickham’s CV has been hugely enhanced by being on target in tangles with Manchester City and Chelsea.
Never capped at senior level, Hodgson could turn to former Ipswich Town frontman Wickham to be the big target for his team to aim for in Brazil. Main rival Rickie Lambert has scored just once in open play in his last six outings, while West Ham’s Andy Carroll has failed to hit real form after missing the first half of the campaign.